“'Santoalla' is really concerned with cultures in collision, with what happens when dreams of paradise clash, good intentions become unhinged and the darker angels of our nature gain the upper hand.”
- THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
“A concise and well-executed example of smart documentary storytelling.”
"A quiet, immersive true-crime mystery doc opens with video more terrifying than fictionalized “found footage” horror ever manages...”
- VILLAGE VOICE
“The threads that remain hanging imbue this peculiar story of paradise lost with a tragic resonance.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Santoalla is primarily a touching portrait of sunny idealism turned dark and a micro-study in souring rural politics, where isolation and neglect has led to a crippling fear of change, especially among those who need to play emperor, even if their empire is nothing but dirt and stones and decline."
“Quietly absorbing. Handling nearly all key creative duties between them, Becker and Mehrer have crafted a solid, even-handed survey of their chosen material, allowing viewers access to a beautiful, damply verdant, enticingly tumbledown corner of Europe.”
- THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Directors Daniel Mehrer and Andrew Becker create a compelling portrait of a changing community but focus on how larger cultural trends play out at the individual level.”
- BROOKLYN MAGAZINE
“A masterfully crafted piece of documentary filmmaking, keeping up a level of suspense until the very end.”
- AUSTIN MONTHLY
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 for the strength to persevere.
Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer are filmmakers from Brooklyn, New York.
Santoalla is their directorial debut.