10/24/2018.- DOC España presents with Almost Ghosts the ravages of depopulation in the towns of the most iconic road: Route 66 of the United States. Linked to the television shows, this is the first documentary film by director Ana Ramón Rubio, for which she has had a small team of five people.
Who has not imagined riding it on wheels? Route 66 was also a dream for the director. And the result is a 16-day, 4,000-kilometer journey down the famous I-40 through the melancholy tale of several protagonists: Harley, an extravagant showman from Oklahoma with his show ‘Mediocre Musicians’; Angel, a lover of the bustle of the route, known as the last barber of Seligman (Arizona); and Lowell, the lonely inhabitant and creator of Red Oak II (Missouri), a town he rebuilt by rehabilitating old houses.
Three disparate characters with a common denominator: the struggle to survive. The route that connected the American map from east to west was a continuous trickle of people, but the creation of the highway was a blow for motels, gas stations and other businesses on both sides of “America’s mother road” and only a few places have achieved the tourist resurgence.
The tape, recorded in two cameras, began with Harley. “I got a video of a tourist who had recorded him in his establishment, he totally caught my attention as a character and I started finding other interesting stories, all connected to towns that had become ghosts after the creation of the highway,” explained the director, Ana Ramon Rubio, in the colloquium following the showing of the film at the 63rd International Film Festival of Valladolid, which was also attended by the producer, Cristina Vivo.
“It was something we wanted to do no matter what. We embarked on this mad trip because we believed in this project and we wanted to delve into the nostalgia of those times in which many villages became practically depopulated”, said the producer.
The authors also talked about funding problems. “The documentary was focused on the years of struggle of these characters, but the brands believed that it was going to be the typical travel report. We decided to do what we have inside.” The adjustment was to take with them a very defined filming plan: “every day we were shooting in a location and had to have everything planned to the last detail so as not to lose a single minute”, explained the producer.
Starting from an introduction that tells “the essences of each character”, the tale dives into a journey through testimonies and “brutal landscapes” that are the home and life of the people who managed to save the forgotten villages of Route 66.