Interactive Admission to Spain’s Greatest Party!

This San Fermin  Heart of Pamplona is taking part in a documentary with the photojournalist and interactive story-teller Neal Waters and his team of journalists, cameras and technicians. Neal Waters, who first read Hemingway’s book many years ago and was fascinated by his tales of chaos that is the Fiesta. Growing up he had heard about the famous running of the bulls in Spain but it was Hemingway’s words that gave Fiesta life.

Thousands of people dressed in red and white, fill the cobblestone streets of Pamplona, Spain every year to celebrate and honour the patron of Navarra, San Fermín. The nine day festival is a celebration of traditional events like the running of the bulls, afternoon bullfights, cultural exhibitions and of course endless kalimotxos (red wine and cola). It is 204 hours of non-stop partying.

For everyone, fiesta is one of the greatest parties in the world, but for the locals it’s also about tradition, culture and religion. Whole families, including abuelos and niños in strollers, spend their days enjoying the festivities. Older children can be seen practicing their bull-running skills as they are chased down the street by friends pushing plastic bull heads on wheels.

Although many cities in Spain have their own running of the bulls (over a thousand per year), Pamplona earned its international popularity after Ernest Hemingway published his novel, The Sun Also Rises, in 1926. The city of Pamplona had already been hosting this party for hundreds of years and it was the longest—at eight days—of any fiesta in Spain, but after the publication of the novel, the city and world would never look at the Fiesta de San Fermin the same way again.

A Story in Four Parts

The Experience of the Local

In this section we will follow a local Spanish runner, Juan Pedro Lecuona, who has been running with the bulls since he was a teenager. We will watch him as he mentors the next generation of runners and gets himself prepared for the 2017 Fiesta.

The Experience of the Foreigner

Here we will follow American runner Bill Hillmann as he works to rekindle the magic of his past years experiences at the Fiesta. He will be learning more about the run from the local runners he has befriended over the past decade of running.

The Experience of the Bull

We will follow a bull and his brothers as they leave their idyllic life on the ranch to take part in the run and eventually the bullfight that afternoon. We will talk to the owners of the ganaderías (bull ranches) that keep the tradition of the toro bravo alive. A tradition that is currently debated by the anti-bullfighting groups.

The Experience of Pamplona

What does Fiesta mean to this city of 200,000 situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees? Here we will talk to city officials and workers to get an understanding of how the city deals with the avalanche of visitors. We will also look at all the local traditions and how many of them got their start.