Koldo Serra directs the first Spanish series from Orange TV, a tale of terror set along the Camino de Santiago
The idyllic vacation of five young pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago turns into an agonizing fight for survival when they lose their way in the legendary Irati Forest while trying to rescue an injured child. Two weeks after their disappearance, footage recovered from their cell phones reveals the nightmare hiding in these hills and which they have experienced first-hand. This is the starting point of the terrifying adventure narrated in “Caminantes”, the first Spanish series from Orange TV, produced by 100 Balas (The Mediapro Studio) and directed by an expert in the genre, Koldo Serra.
José Antonio Pérez Ledo pens some truly stark, unconventional, and terrifyingly addictive screenwriting, adeptly touching on almost every facet of fear: suspense, scares, gore, mutations, etc. According to the show’s creator, the initial approach for the series, now available on the platform, was to narrate a tale using found footage and the language of cellphones, drawing on video footage shot horizontally and vertically, complete with Snapchat filters. A kind of “The Blair Witch Project”, in eight twenty-minute episodes, for the generations of Instagram and Tik Tok. “We came across a lot of news stories about people who, when they found themselves in violent situations, rather than lending the victim a hand, they recorded it. The question is, if you were the one on the receiving end, would you also record it?”, asks Pérez Ledo.
But the way they tell the story is not the only original aspect to “Caminantes”. The show was shot entirely in 4K with four next-generation smartphones (iPhone 11 and iPhone XS). And to allow the young protagonists, Daniel Ibáñez, Alexandra Pino, Carlos Suárez, Songa Park and Lucas Miramón, among others, to be 100% focused on their interpretations, Koldo Serra and the cameras were in charge of wielding the cell phones and becoming the actors’ shadows, and it is the perspective of our characters that are in command of each scene. And it works perfectly. All this with the added difficulty of having to perform the task almost in one sequence, without cuts, just like we do when recording video on our cell phones, also pretending that everything was “amateur” when every frame was measured to the “t”. “And turning one of the rainiest Novembers in the Basque Country in decades into summertime,”, joked Serra.
To ensure that everything would run like a swiss watch on the first take, the crew organized a rehearsal before embarking on the five week-shoot. Prior to and throughout the actual filming, the young actors lived together to create that all-necessary air of a close-knit group of friends. Then, to top it off, they sat down together to watch a few cult classics, including gems like “Deliverance”, “House of 1000 Corpses” and “The Hills Have Eyes”, just to set the right atmosphere for what was to become “Caminantes”. Several cast members even requested they be allowed to wear their prosthetics, cuts, and wounds off-camera, so they could really get into their roles. None of those physical tricks of classic horror clashing with the age of the cell phone and digital effects.
Nevertheless, for the present we’ll have to wait and see whether Orange TV decides to continue with the story, José Antonio Pérez Ledo is already cooking up what a hypothetical second season would be like. And, to whet the appetites of the more skeptical among us when it comes to season one, the crew has put together a trailer, to the tune of Joan Manuel Serrat’s “Cantares”, which is another stroke of small genius. Blow by blow, fright by fright.