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Digital News Fashion interviewed the film director and production team of “O auto das ánimas” at the Vision du Réel 2023

DNF: Your film has just had its world premiere in the “International Competition of Feature Films” section of Visions du Réel tell me, how do you look yourself your film?

DNF: Your film has just had its world premiere in the “International Competition of Feature Films” section of Visions du Réel. Tell me, how do you look at your film?

Pablo: It’s a film about reconciliation with your own identity. But it’s also a film about the impossibility and the need for communication. 

Alicia (the character in the film): For me, it is important to give a voice to those who normally don’t have one. People who are silenced by social discourse. Through the film, to be able to give the opportunity to express themselves, and tell their point of view to the elderly, like my grandmother. But, in addition, older women are even more affected by this situation.

The role of men in traditional society: I believe that the education of men, although less and less, conditions us in our abilities to communicate and express ourselves. The most common thing for a sensitive man of my father’s age is to create a shell. To protect himself from emotions so as not to show weakness. And this can be very frustrating, both for them and for those around them. In the film I try to break this dynamic, by which I am also affected.

Santi and the harshness of the social/work environment: The 70s and 80s were very hard in Galicia because of the issue of drug use, especially heroin. This led people like Santi to occupy a marginal place in society. With all his friends dead, and his family too. Now he is a lonely person who survives in a rather hostile environment. Above all, because of the precariousness of seasonal jobs, and the few job options that a person of his age and without training can have.

O AUTO DAS ÁNIMAS, directed by Pablo Lago Dantas, has just had its world premiere at Visions du Réel 2023, as part of the International Feature Film Competition.

Pablo Lago Dantas constructs a tender and warm portrait of his family and his homeland on the Galician coast from his own journey back to his grandmother’s house for the traditional brandy-making season. The Galician filmmaker’s debut feature makes intimate experience a great vehicle for reflection on memory, tradition, identity, the construction of home, the passing of time and death.


In a small village in Galicia, Pablo’s family lives attached to their ancient traditions and beliefs. Having lived abroad for 20 years, he returns to his grandmother’s house for the traditional brandy-making season and paints a warm and tender portrait of his family. Ghosts of the past mingle with the mists of the Galician coast in this powerful piece of cinema.

O AUTO DAS ÁNIMAS is Lago Dantas’ directorial debut, he is an experienced cinematographer, nominated for Best Cinematography at the Camerimage festival, whose films have participated in more than 100 official sections of prestigious international film festivals. Some of his most outstanding works are _The six degrees of freedom_, a documentary produced by Colibrí Studio, winner of the special mention award at FICUNAM, in which he was nominated for Best Cinematography at Camerimage. _Coda Sacra_, a short film produced by Alter Films, premiered at the Sitges Festival (International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia), and received awards such as the GOLD AWARD at the Queen Palm International Film Festival and the SILVER AWARD at the Independent Short Awards in Los Angeles. _Beautiful Colors_, a fashion film produced by Kill the Film, was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Cinematographer’s Showcase, presented at the Aesthetics Short Film Festival or the Berlin Commercial, as well as at numerous fashion film festivals, such as Los Angeles, Rome, New York, Athens or Istanbul._Come back to you, also produced by Kill the Film, was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Music Video Underground and featured on MTV Dance.


Pablo Lago Dantas says that images are his language. “My family doesn’;t speak too much, maybe that’s why I’m not so good with words” . The Galician filmmaker has been working as a cinematographer for 20 years and now, this experience allows him to look at his roots from another point of view.

“Since I was a child, I found it very difficult to communicate with my own family. We live in different worlds. Still, the way that my grandmother looks at the world is part of my identity. Having been away from my hometown, in Galicia, for a long time, I felt the need to reconnect to my family. And that cinema could be the right tool to help me understand the world of my childhood”.

About the story of the film, Pablo Lago tells how every autumn the brandy makers set up at his grandmother’s house to make aguardiente, which is a kind of homemade brandy. For the director, the ritual of making aguardiente opens the door to a different world, “between the land of the living and the land of the spirits”.


O AUTO DAS ÁNIMAS was the winner of the Mentoring Projects at the L’Alternativa 2019 festival, First Test Award at the REC Film Festival 2020 in Tarragona and Best Feature Film at the WIP of the Malaga Film Festival 2020. It was also selected in the WIP of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, in the WIP (Push-Play) of the Gijón International Film Festival 2020 and in the Incubator of Dok 2021.

O AUTO DAS ÁNIMAS is a DianaToucedo Films production, in co-production with CRTVG.

The film is distributed by Deckert Distribution, a world sales company for documentaries and stands for excellent, director-led, award-winning films, with recent classics such as Honeyland_ by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, Space Dogs by Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter as well as Heimat is a Space in Time by Thomas Heise. Their latest line up include 2023 Sundance titles Against the Tide by Sarvnik Kaur and 5 Seasons of Revolution by Lina, Berlinale hit Eastern Front_by Vitaly Mansky and Yevhen Titarenko, and Close to Vermeer by Suzanne Raes.

Eva Herrero / Júlia Olmo

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