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Film about the Caminho da Geira shown at 16 festivals on three continents

The documentary filmed on the Geira and Arrieiros trail, entitled "My Path", by director Pedro Gil Vasconcelos, has already been screened at 16 festivals in Europe, America and Asia



The reception to the film, shot two years ago, "has been very good and the general opinion is that the landscapes are beautiful," says the director, who has already received six awards, three honorable mentions, been chosen for six official selections and once a semi-finalist.

The director, who was born in Porto, adds that he "didn't foresee the results that the documentary awoke, although he was "aware of having an interesting product capable of arousing interest", as it has so far happened in Portugal, Germany, Bhutan, Canada, Korea, Spain, USA, France, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, and Turkey.

"It is possible" that it will still be shown in other festivals, and Pedro Gil Vasconcelos is waiting for "results and invitations" to present "O Meu Caminho" , which was produced by Completa Mente, with editing by Marcos Nunes (Cia Films) and support by Jorge Medeiros (VideoContacto).

The film culminated a project he had been cherishing for some time. "I had planned a documentary about the Road to Santiago, but I wasn't managing to gather the conditions to produce it," he recalls, highlighting the role of Adriano Carneiro, his "fellow traveler and protagonist of the documentary.

"In 2021 I decided to resume the project and resize it, adapt it to new forms of production. The evolution brought about by cell phones allowed me to approach the film from a current perspective, with low impact and extremely controlled costs," explains Pedro Gil Vasconcelos, who has a degree in cinema and audiovisuals from the Escola Superior Artística do Porto.

"I understood that this would have to be a project with a very limited budget. I opted for low carbon emission impact in the production and that's why I used public transportation and the whole shooting phase was on foot. And also by using my everyday cell phone. Then, more than anything, it was an exercise in writing and imagination," he adds.

As for Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros, he has followed its growing notoriety: "I have been paying attention and, above all, concerned. I believe that this path should be preserved and not be massified. The presence of pilgrims, in numbers comparable to other paths, will be a risk to the Peneda Gerês National Park", says the director.

The data recently revealed by the installation commission of the Transfrontier Association of the Geira and Arrieiros Way indicate that it was walked in 2022 by less than three pilgrims per day, on average, and a total of three thousand in the last six years.

The Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros starts at the Cathedral of Braga and goes through the municipalities of Amares, Terras de Bouro and Melgaço, entering Galiza through Portela Homem. In the last six years it has been covered by pilgrims from Portugal and Spain, but also from Italy, England, Germany, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Brazil, USA, Australia or the Netherlands.

This itinerary was presented in 2017 in Ribadavia (Galicia) and Braga, recognized by the Church in 2019 and in publications by the association of cross-border municipalities Eixo Atlântico (2020) and Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal (2021), and was an official itinerary of the European Youth Pilgrimage of the Holy Jacobean Year 2021/22.

The route is 240 kilometers long and stands out for including unique heritage sites: the Geira Romana, the best preserved route of its kind in the world, and the Gerês-Xurés Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve. In addition, its route is one of only five that connect directly to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

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