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Jurria: The Guardians of the Pole

Make sure you catch this extraordinary film in our online cinema! Jurria showcases the unique practice of pole jumping in the beautiful peaks of Gran Canaria. The way the locals move in this mountainous terrain is both surprising and simple...

Don’t miss out – this film is only featured until 31st March 2021.


Have you heard of the Canarian Shepherd's Leap? It's the practice of using a long pole to move around the mountains swiftly, originally used by early Canarian settlers to travel quickly through the difficult topography in search of their herds. Now, it's a non-competitive sport with a wonderful community behind it, carrying this awesome tradition through the generations.

We spoke to Director Pedro Cubiles about this very original film and his experience of capturing the activity in such mountainous terrain...

What made you want to make this film about the Canarian Shepherd's Jump? When Isidoro Falcon, the film's producer, told me his idea, I realized that it had great potential. We wanted to capture our history and tradition in a way had never been told before.

The Canarian Shepherd's Jump is something so unique and we thought it would be worth it to let the world know about it - so that's when our work started...

How did you meet Master Paco, who works hard to keep this tradition alive?

We had to find a good storyline to present the subject from its real roots. After doing some research in the west part of Gran Canaria, we met Master Paco and his family in Tasarte village.

We found out that his father had learnt to jump from his grandfather, and Master Paco had taught his children from what he learnt from his father. So there was a clear generational transmission good enough to become the common thread we were looking for.

What was most challenging for you while filming this project?

The most important thing in order to shoot a good jump was to be at the right place at the right time, so it was challenging to get to the jumping location in time. Jumpers move fast between cliffs because they have their poles, but we had a lot of recording equipment to move through rugged and dangerous terrain. That made every single scene complicated to set up and shoot.

What surprised you most about filming this?

There are two things that I will always remember from making this film. The beautiful landscape that I got to know for the very first time in my life, and the great people I met on each day of filming.

One moment I will never forget is when we were shooting at Gongora Gorge. I didn't have any idea that something so beautiful and dangerous at the same time existed in Gran Canaria. I have been living on this island for many years, and I still find out places that surprise me. Gongora, where the film ends, is one of them.

What was the best part of the whole experience?

The best part was when we got the job done, especially in risky situations! Working with the jumpers was also a good lesson because they come from different backgrounds, which is a plus.

We are also very lucky that we could end the shooting before the pandemic started. Otherwise, it would have been very difficult to gather all the jumpers together safely.

What do you most want people to learn from this film?

We would like people all over the world to get to know the Canarian Shepherd's Jump! We feel we have achieved that - more and more people are paying attention to this tradition. We wanted to show this way of life which is still alive thanks to the efforts of people like Master Paco.

We wanted to help the Jurrias to spread this activity and make it more visible both in and out of the Canary Islands.

What's next for you?

There are a few projects on the way. I am grateful - more than happy - to be able to carry on doing what I love: telling stories.

About Pedro Cubiles

Pedro Cubiles is a journalist and photographer born in The Canary Islands, Spain. He studied Art, Design and Media, in England, and has a wide experience in the field of documentaries.

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