Matthew Jeffrey

A British filmmaker is seeking funding to film a drama about a family of struggling olive farmers in Spain at the turn of the millennium.

“A Story of the Campo” tells the tale of a 19-year-old Paco, who faces pressure to take over the family olive farm as a real-estate boom on the coast lures workers away from the interior with the promise of construction jobs.

This is the kind of stories I want to tell, to show this real-life view of what olive farming families were going through at the time.- Matthew Jeffrey

It’s a time and place that Matthew Jeffrey knows well. He and his parents left England and moved to the south of Spain during the construction boom. Jeffrey was 8-years old.

“I grew up on the Spanish coast. But I had a friend that lived in an inland town called Cartama and his house was right by an olive farm. I always remember being blown away by the vast amount of olive trees, and I always used to enjoy watching the workers on the farms,” Jeffrey said in an interview with Olive Oil Times.

“The film is not based on anyone that I knew, but is based on the world that was around me at that time. I was too young to understand the banking crisis and the boom of construction in the early 90s, but this topic and time has always interested me.”

In the late 90s and early 00s, a series of events triggered a massive surge in construction. First, interest rates plummeted from 14 percent to 4 percent as the nation adopted the Euro in 2002. Then Spain’s government opened a tremendous amount of land on the coasts to development. Thousands of people from Spain’s interior and elsewhere in the E.U. flocked to the construction sites for work.

When the bubble burst, roughly 1 million properties were left unsold. Unemployment among Spain’s 18- to 25-year-olds soared to 50 percent.

Jeffrey is crowdsourcing funds for the film on the Indiegogo platform, which connects artists and creative entrepreneurs with small investors. At the time of the interview, he was just short of halfway to a goal of £3,000 ($3,650)

And as Jeffrey works to generate cash for the project, things have already progressed. A production company has been chosen, actors have been cast, and a location selected.

“We are filming at an olive farm in a town called Alhora, close to Malaga,” he said. “It really is a beautiful place, Stunning sunrises, and sunsets with huge colorful skies and vast mountains.”

In addition, Jeffrey and his team have made an unusual decision about the language in the film.

“The film takes place in Andalusia and the dialect will be spoken in the traditional Andalucian accent, which is not very common in Spanish cinema at all,” Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey, 24, studied Media, Film and Production at Staffordshire University. He’s been making films professionally for four years.

“Being a British filmmaker who grew up in Spain I feel as though a big part of my past is over there and that’s is why I am now making this film,” he said. “I have always been fascinated with the people living in the Campo. This is the kind of stories I want to tell, to show this real-life view of what olive farming families were going through at the time.”

To learn more or to support the film, visit Jeffrey’s campaign page.

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