In 2018, Gauss Productions got a call from an executive producer to develop a documentary, located in the Venezuelan andes, focused on an amazing subject: the 100 km walk along mountains, cliffs and rivers, in the freezing night, to visit and pay penance for the miracles given by the Santo Cristo de La Grita, finishing on a 2 hour mass with the symphonic orchestra, musical performances and theater reenactments. We found ourselves flabbergasted by the potential of this project, and we were instantly on board.
To star the project, we traveled to the destination of the event, the city of La Grita in Tachira state, Venezuela. The location scouting went smoothly, and we took the chance to record landscapes, the town, and we also shot two reenacments of the event that lead to the cult of the Santo Cristo: the forging of his face and body, and the moment when Simón Bolivar went to pay respects to the Santo Cristo.
After long meetings with the entire technical team of the project, we subdivided into 4 groups, each one recording a segment of the event.
Team A was assigned to record the event from the starting point, in the city of San Cristobal, Tachira state, Venezuela. We needed to get as many interviews as we could in the short time frame we had. The spirit of the people was like no other, from all ages and social status, every single one united with a single purpose, helping each other as they could with their means. The participants trained for months to endure the hard conditions of the route, walking for hours every single day, so when the day comes, they could finish the 20 hour walk without stopping.
Meanwhile, in the city of La Grita, preparations were being made. Team B transmits live on national television, for the first time in history.
We began the journey with the walkers at 4:00 pm, our team traveled on a bus on the same route that the walkers used. Our team consisted of 1 director, 5 producers, 3 cameras, a camera assistant, a sound guy, and the bus driver. We were, truly, an amazing team. Very streamlined, with the capacity to break into smaller groups and cover several people every time we stopped and found a numerous group of walkers. 12 hours later, at 4 am, we arrived at the hotel, happy of being part of this amazing event.
The next few days we focused on recording the main town of the event, the museum of the Santo Cristo and the brotherhood in charge of keeping safe the statue and organizing activities through the year. The attendance was calculated to be about 50.000 people, it was less than other years because the country was hit with an economic crisis, so people couldn’t afford to make the travel, but none the less, the main site wall pack-full of people. We captured amazing footage of the event, the faces, the groups, the hope emanating from every single person after hours on the road.
We are extremely thankful for the experience, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.