Wednesday 28 June 2017

Sad Hill Unearthed – The New Full length Documentary Film

Sad Hill Unearthed is a full length documentary film about the amazing story behind one of the most important locations in film history.

In 1966 the Spanish Army built a huge cemetery with over 5000 graves at Mirandilla Valley in Burgos for the final sequence in the film "The Good the Bad and the Ugly". After the shooting, the whole place was left behind and for 49 years, nature covered every tomb.

In October 2015 a group of fans of the film ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (Sergio Leone, 1966) visited the location of the film’s final sequence in Burgos (Spain). Abandoned for 49 years and covered with vegetation, these volunteers want to unearth and bring back to life the iconic Sad Hill Cemetery. 

News spread quickly and every weekend people from all over Europe started to visit the location to help in its reconstruction. Sad Hill Unearthed explores the fans dream and their motivations - how art, music and culture influences have developed into a transcendental search experience.    

There is something fascinating in the physical experience of touching something that should only exist in the big screen. I’ve spent many years visiting some of the most iconic locations in film history: the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Verzasca dam in Locarno or the Nakatomi Plaza tower (Fox Plaza in real life) in Los Angeles. During a few minutes you can become Rocky, James Bond or John McClane. And that “movie magic” that everyone talks about suddenly becomes real.

Sad Hill Unearthed started as an accident. On 7th November 2014 (Twitter has kept a record of the date). My friend Jorge Olmos listened in the radio news that a group of fans wanted to unearth Sad Hill cemetery, the location of the final scene of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in Burgos (Spain). They called themselves Sad Hill Cultural Association and without hesitating for a second I looked for their website and I contacted them. A few weeks later I visited Covarrubias where David Alba welcomed me and took me to the location. Even though fog didn’t let us see anything more than 10 meters away from where we were standing, the place was pure magic. 
48 years after the shooting, each of the original tombs could still be recognised. At the centre and below three inches of vegetation David showed me the key proof: the original paved circle of the legendary Triello was still there. I was in love. During the next months I followed their steps through social media until the impossible was announced in September 2015: the Junta de Castilla y León (regional government) had given them permission to unearth and rebuild the cemetery. I grabbed my camera and went to Sad Hill on the spot. With the help of a drone I filmed the place before they started working. I didn’t know what would come out of it. Maybe there would be a good video for my YouTube channel or perhaps a short documentary in the best case. Somehow I felt there was a unique story behind the crazy dream of this group of fans. What I couldn’t imagine was that the dream would actually become true. 
Probably the turning point was contacting Sir Christopher Frayling, Sergio Leone’s biographer. We had barely started recording the reconstruction process when he accepted to see us in London and that interview changed everything. He showed us that behind our exciting story about today’s recovery there was an even more exciting story: the one of those who shot the most famous western in film history in Burgos back in 1966. From that moment onwards, the project started to grow bigger and bigger. The news of the reconstruction works reached media all over Europe and in a few weeks the cemetery was crowded with people with their hoes and shovels. It was an unprecedented event and we started wondering what could be behind such a drive. We looked for other testimonies from fans of Leone’s cinema. People like Spanish film director Álex de la Iglesia (800 balas), Joe Dante (Gremlins) or Metallica’s lead vocalist, James Hetfield. Time has gone by thus, we couldn’t interview many of those who participated in the shooting but it was a pleasure to speak to Ennio Morricone, composer of the original sound track, Eugenio Alabiso, editor of the film, Sergio Salvati, camera assistant or Carlo Leva, assistant to  Carlo Simi in the design of the Sad Hill cemetery. However, the cherry on the cake was Clint Eastwood’s testimony.  We had to chase him tirelessly for 10 months of calls, emails and faxes, until he finally heard about our story and he immediately accepted our proposal.
For more information, and how to become part of the Sad Hill Unearthed experience click HERE

Below: Sad Hill Unearthed Trailer


Jim said...

I'm wondering if there were any epitaphs or unusual gravestones. Where did the name "Arch Stanton" come from, and his date of death? Were there other names on gravestones? How much detail was put on gravestones? Any Jewish gravestones, for example?? Does anything in GBU supposed to depict the exact location of the cemetery or other action?

Rach said...

I would love to get my name on one of those crosses I love love Clint and his movies .. how does one achieve this please !