Bubión hosts the shooting of “El Mártir”, a project by Cologne Film School

The film has been shot during 15 days in the Alpujarra and has been supported by the film office, “Film in Granada” part of the Provincial Council. 

To complete his three years of degree in direction at the IFS Internationale Filmschule Köln, one of the most prestigious film schools in Germany, the young Spanish filmmaker, Alejandro Mathé stepped behind the camera and for two weeks has led an international team of 15 people, made up of his German classmates and students from the ECAM (Escuela de Cine de la Comunidad de Madrid), who took on all the functions of a professional film shooting. A real challenge, which took place entirely in natural landscapes of Bubión and Sierra Nevada National Park in Granada. 

Photo Report: Eva López/ Film in Granada

The first vice-president and provincial deputy for Culture and Historical Memory, Fátima Gómez, pointed out that “the main objective of Film in Granada is to make easier all types of filming and recording in our province, not only feature films and series, but also smaller projects, such as the final projects of film schools, as happened last year with a short film by the ESCAC, and this year with this project by the Cologne Film School, which are a first great experience for young filmmakers, taking place in Granada, from which they take a great memory”.

Alejandro Mathé (Ibiza, 1990), author of the original script and director, describes “El Mártir” as a thirty-minutes drama in which Elías, an aimless seventeen-years-old boy, tries to find his own path in life”. A universal story that Mathé wanted to locate expressly in the Alpujarra, an area he got to know years ago as a student of Translation at the University of Granada, thanks to his love for hiking, and with which he ended up falling in love: “it is a unique area in Spain, which has hardly been used in cinema and whose inhabitants are very receptive and friendly, and from the beginning they have given us all the facilities to carry out this filming”.

The director Alejandro Mathé gives instructions to his Asisstant Director. Photo: Eva López/ Film in Granada

For his part, the actor Rafa Sambruno (Córdoba, 1996), who plays the rol of Elías, declared that “the experience has been a great responsibility, because as the main character I’m in all the scenes and in all the shots, and it’s a very interesting role, with many aspects, about a boy from a small town who has a very close relationship with the Church”. Sambruno, a student from Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Córdoba (ESAD), came to the project through a casting call by the director on Instagram.

Leading actor, Rafa Sambruno. Photo: Eva López/ Film in Granada

The medium-length film “El Mártir” has been filmed over a fortnight in September at various locations in the historic centre of Bubión, including the Town Hall Square, the Mudejar church, the typical streets and “tinaos”, as well as inside an Alpujarran house and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada National Park. 

The production has had the help of many of the residents and businesses in the town, such as the Hostal “Las Terrazas de la Alpujarra”, which has provided lodging, the Restaurant “La Artesa”, in charge of catering, as well as the mayoress of the town, María del Carmen Pérez, who has provided them all filming permits, and the priest, Alfonso Aguilar, who has opened the doors of the church to them. In addition, other residents have collaborated by acting as extras in different scenes and the special effects company “Barbatos FX” from Granada, with the construction of a prosthesis.

The short film is produced by Anna Weber for the IFS Internationale Filmschule Köln, as one of the final projects of the Degree in Directing, with financing from the school itself and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, with the collaboration of the ECAM (Escuela de Cine de la Comunidad de Madrid) and the support of the film office, Film in Granada, part of the Provincial Council. After shooting, the film now goes into post-production phase and is expected to be released in autumn 2023.

Shooting crew photograph. Photo: Eva López/ Film in Granada

A young translator behind the scenes

Alejandro Mathé was born in Ibiza in 1990. During his childhood he spent the summer months with his German grandparents, who travelled with him through the Black Forest and various Central European countries. This awoke his passion for tales and stories.

Between 2008 and 2013 he studied a degree in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Granada (Spain). In 2010 he founded the theatre group “Anamnesis” and the UGR awarded him a grant to attend the III International University Theatre Festival of Granada. After graduating he spent a year in Guildford (England). 

He has been living in Münster (Germany) since 2014. Since then he has taught himself basic skills in carpentry, painting, sculpture, puppet making and various aspects of film making. He has been studying a directing degree at the IFS (Internationale Filmschule Köln) since 2019.