Terra Ardida | 2018


PRÉMIOS SOPHIA 2019 - WINNER (sophia student category) PRÉMIOS SOPHIA ESTUDANTE 2018 - 3rd PLACE WINNER (documentary category)SHORT OF THE YEAR 2019 - Special Jury MentionENCONTROS DE CINEMA DE VIANA DO CASTELO 2018 - Selected (Primeiro Olhar Award)


After all the fires that ravaged Portugal in the year 2017, there was one that personally touched me. The fire that partially destroyed a small village called Fajão, in Pampilhosa da Serra, north of Portugal. This is my grandmother's village, a place where I have been vacationing since I was a child, and until this year had been spared the immense fires that the inhabitants attribute to Our Lady of Guia, a Catholic invocation that is said to have protected the village several times. In what state will the village now be and how will the few inhabitants be? Why did faith fail this time?

On March 24th 2019, the Sophia Awards 2019 took place at the Estoril Casino in Lisbon.

The film "Terra Ardida" won the Sophia Student Award, competing with three other films in the same category at the Sophia Awards 2019, awarded by the Portuguese Film Academy.

This film was also selected from more than 80 candidates at the Sophia Student Awards 2018, where it won the 3rd Place in the Documentary category.


The director, Francisco Romão, a former student of ETIC - School of Technologies, Innovation and Creation, in Lisbon, had to present a film proposal for the documentary module in his film course in 2017. It had only one conditioner, it had to be a portrait. Francisco decided to present a proposal in which a village was the protagonist; in which the film would be about a collective rather than a singular one.

Fajão, a shale village located in Pampilhosa da Serra, northern Portugal, becomes his choice because it is the village where his maternal grandmother was born, where his mother lived some years of her childhood, and where he also spent many vacations since he was little . This village with less than 250 inhabitants was razed by the fires of 2017, devastating fires best known for being the biggest recent tragedy of killing 64 people in Pedrogão Grande.

Initially, the director presented the proposal with more than a possible strand in the argument. There were archival images of the director when he was small, walking and running through the streets of the village, there were popular tales about the village, small myths, the fires, and also a very important Catholic figure for the villagers of Fajão, Nossa Senhora da Guia (Our Lady of Guia).

Later, after having formed a team to produce the film, he decided together with the other members that the focus would be on the village and the testimonies of the inhabitants who went through the tragedy, thus avoiding complicating the argument and hindering public perception.


The team members are:

Francisco Romão - idea, director, color grading and editor

Luisa Pereira Santos - producer and sound operator

Rúben Fajardo - director of photography and camera operator

Gonçalo Caboz - original soundtrack

Daniela Carvalho - sound post-production

Below are some photos from the Sophia Awards 2019, where the film won an award.