When Martin Verfondern and Margo Pool moved to a tiny Spanish town, they were looking for a fresh start. Then Martin disappeared.
The strange — and true — story of what happened to Martin is the basis of Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer’s new documentary “Santoalla,” the pair’s debut film which they directed, shot, and produced (additionally, Becker edited and scored). The award-winning film premiered at the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival and has enjoyed a healthy festival run over the past year.
The film follows “progressive Dutch couple, Martin Verfondern and Margo Pool, had only one dream – to live off the land, far from the constraints and complications of the city. But, when they arrive in the crumbling, Spanish village of Santoalla, the foreigners challenge the traditions of the town’s sole remaining family, igniting a decade-long conflict that culminates in Martin’s mysterious disappearance. As this once forgotten landscape is thrust into the center of controversy, Margo finds herself searching not only for answers but also for the strength to persevere.”
When Oscilloscope picked up the film earlier this year, filmmakers Becker and Mehrer said, “After immersing ourselves in the small, enigmatic world of ‘Santoalla’ for the past four years, we feel that we’ve emerged with a film that is at once, strangely moving, uniquely tragic, and above all, utterly human. We’re thrilled that ‘Santoalla’ has found a home with Oscilloscope, and look forward to sharing the story with audiences throughout North America.”
“Santoalla” hits limited release on Wednesday, July 19.