Sub Terrae


Shadows are not always under the earth…


Director’s Notes

Sub Terrae is a short that is entirely indebted to my father. He was the one who first found this truly unique place and was so impressed that he wanted to show it to me, as a filmmaker, so that I could do something with it. And when I went there for the first time I too was equally impressed; it was a place you could only get to if you were brought by local people, because it was so out of the way and fragile. Despite all the different kinds of things that happened, I wanted to focus on the representation of the earthly infernos created by man. Having been born and raised in a Catholic society, I was always obsessed by the idea of heaven and hell, and how they have been conveyed in art throughout history and where these imaginaries of passions, pleasures and horror came from.

But, as an agnostic, I was not interested in hell or heaven understood as supernatural otherworldy places, with their moralistic connotations associated with fear, guilt and sin, but rather in the worlds we build ourselves, our closest surrounding environs, in order to be able to think about how we engage with the present reality. That is why, when I arrived at the location where Sub Terrae is filmed I was impressed by such a terrifying place where I was directly confronted by a hell created by our contemporary societies and which is presented as an unsayable and ineffable situation. For that reason, I never reveal where I filmed it, as I believe it is crucial that the spectator does not project his or her social, economic or political prejudices, which often create a process of distancing with the images. I want them to understand it as a reality of this world and, therefore, our reality, something that belongs to all of us.

I did not want to make an explicitly activist short, rather more of a sensorial work in which the audience could experience the same horror that I had witnessed. In order to create a state of unease and uncertainty I filmed from a viewpoint that was not associated with the human gaze, but rather that of a being or perhaps one of the threatening birds that have taken over the place. And, visually speaking, I wanted to reflect particularly on the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, where the arrangement of the characters, the actions taking place and the vivid colours make the observer lose himself in the immensity of a reality which is at once horrifying and hypnotic. I was also thinking about the paintings The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Saturn Devouring His Son by Rubens, in which chaos and horror produce feelings of unease.

One of the things about Sub Terrae that has made me think is the fact that it has aroused so much interest in over thirty countries from very different cultures. I believe that this is because the subject matter connects with one of man’s abiding concerns: the boundaries between the living and the dead, between the human and the non-human, between reason and nightmare. At the same time, in our cultural, unconscious, historical and mythological imaginaries there are a lot of black animals that symbolically represent this transition between life and death, like Anubis in Egypt, Cerberus in Greece, or the huge threatening birds here in Sub Terrae. And so, the space of this short, which begins in a cemetery, for most cultures a place of meditation and repose associated with the sacred and with reflection, is broken when confronted with another violent and savage world in which reason and what we understand as civilization begin to crumble.

Technical Information

Direction, Script, Photography and Editing
Nayra Sanz Fuentes
José Luis Sanz de Garnica and Javier Sanz Fuentes
Samuel M. Delgado
Sound Mix
Juan Carlos Blancas
Running time
Production Company
Rinoceronte Films S. L.


  • Shorts from Spain 2018 Catalogue Award
    Selection of the ten most outstanding shorts of the year, ICAA, AIC, PNR and Coordinadora del Cortometraje, 2019
  • Best Documentary Short Film Adriana & Dolores Elhers Award
    Festival Internacional de Cine Silente de México, Mexico, 2018
  • Best Documentary Film Award
    Premio de Cortometrajes Manolo Villalba de CajaCanarias, 2018
  • Best International Short Film Award
    9.º Le Cinéma sous les étoiles, Montreal, Canada, 2018
  • Special Jury Mention
    16.º Festival Internacional Signes de Nuit, Bankog, Thailand, 2018
  • Best Short Film Award
    Festival de Artes Rendibú, Murcia, 2018
  • Best Documentary Film Award
    The Globe International Short Film Festival, Wisconsin, United States, 2018
  • Best Film Award
    Al-Nahj International Film Festival, Kerbala, Iraq, 2018
  • Special Jury Mention
    20th Ismailia International Film Festival, Ismalia, Egypt, 2018
  • Best Short Documentary Film Award
    31.ª Semana de Cine de Medina del Campo, Medina del Campo 2018
  • Young IBAFF Award
    IBAFF 9. Festival Internacional de Cine de Murcia, Murcia, 2018
  • Best Canarian Film Award
    12.º MiradasDoc. Festival y mercado internacional de cine documental, Guía de Isora (Tenerife), 2018
  • Edward Snowden Award
    15.º Festival Internacional Signos da Noite, Lisbon, 2017
  • Mention «Agua» Short Film
    VII Mediu Güeyu, Villaviciosa (Asturias), 2017
  • Individual Work “Abycine Short Films” Mention
    19.º Abycine, Albacete, 2017
  • Special Jury Mention
    22.º Cinespaña, Toulouse, 2017
  • Best Short Film
    49.º Alcances Festival de Cine Documental, Cádiz, 2017
  • Best «Ecofilm» National Short Film
    Rural Film Fest, Castilla-La Mancha, 2017
  • International Distribution Digital 104 Award
    17.º Festival Internacional de Cine de Las Palmas, Las Palmas, 2017

Official Selections


  • Waste/d, Temporary Academy of Arts, Athens, Greece, 2021
  • 27.º İstanbul İFSAK Short film festival, Istanbul, Turkey, 2021
  • 6.º Southeastern International Film Festival, Short Documentary Official Selection, Nashville, United States, 2020
  • 12.º Psarokokalo International Short Film Festival, Official Competition, Kea, Greece, 2020
  • 3.º CinemaAttic Mujeres – Women in Film, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Manchester, United Kingdom, 2020
  • 24.º International Environmental film festival “Green Vision”, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2020
  • 9.º FIVA Festival Internacional de Videoarte, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2019
  • London Eco Film Festival, London, United Kingdom, 2019
  • 1.º Festival Internacional de Cine de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, 2019
  • 12.º International Moving Film Festival, Abadan city – Arvand Free Zone, Iran, 2019
  • 28.º dokumentART, Environment – climate – agriculture, Neubrandenburg, Germany, 2019
  • Experimental audiovisual program “Mirada Efímera”, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2019
  • 6.º Life After Oil, Santa Teresa Gallura, Italia, 2019
  • 5.º Cisterna Film Festival, Cisterna di Latina, Italia, 2019
  • 11.º Cabriolet Film Festival, Beirut, Lebanon, 2019
  • 24.º Festival de Contis, Saint-Julien-en-Born, France, 2019
  • Arcosanti International-Documentary Film Festival, Arizona, United States, 2019
  • Minimalen Short Film Festival, Trondheim, Norway, 2019
  • Ismailia Film Days, Amán, Jordania, 2018
  • Prospe(c)tiva/B.r.i.o., San Giorgio del Sannio, Italy, 2018
  • 29.º Istanbul International Short Film Festival, Istanbul, Turkey, 2018
  • 3.º Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México, Ciudad de Puebla, Mexico, 2018
  • 5.º Campeche Film Festival, Campeche, Mexico, 2018
  • 8.º Green Screen – The Environmental Film Festival, Puerto España, Trinidad and Tobago, 2018
  • 35.º Tehran International Short Film Festival, Teherán, Iran, 2018
  • 9.º KLEX – Experimental de Cine, Video y Music Festival, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2018
  • Shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival, Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, 2018
  • 8.º Wathann Film Festival, Yangon, Birmania, 2018
  • Corto e Fieno, Festival del Cinema Rurale, Omegna, Italy, 2018
  • 8.º Festival Iberoamericano de Cine-Azul SURrealidades, Bogotá, Colombia, 2018
  • XIV MARFICI, Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2018
  • 6.º Arkipel, Yakarta, Indonesia, 2018
  • 2.º Black Canvas Festival de Cine Contemporáneo, Ciudad de México, Mexico, 2018
  • Herceg Novi Montenegro Film Festival, Herceg Novi, Montenegro, 2018
  • 25.º OpenEyes Film Festival, Maburgo, Germany, 2018
  • Le Cinéma sous étoiles, Montreal, Canada, 2018
  • Sembrando Cine, Lima, Peru, 2018
  • ShorTS International Film Festival, Trieste, Italy, 2018
  • 4.º FECIbogotá, Feria Internacional de Cine Independiente de Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia, 2018
  • 21.º Cinemambiente Enviromental Film Festival, Turín, Italy, 2018
  • 20.º Festival Internacional de Cinema e Vídeo Ambiental, Goiás, Brazil, 2018
  • 16.º Festival Internacional Signes de Nuit, Bankog, Thailand, 2018
  • Cinema Perpetuum Mobile International Short Film Festival, Minsk, Belarus, 2018
  • 16.º Festival Internazionale di Arte Documentaria e Creazione Audiovisiva – «Segni della Notte», Urbino, Italy, 2018
  • 8.º Philosophical Film Festival, Skopie, Macedonia, 2018
  • The Globe International Silent Film Festival, Madison, United States, 2018
  • 20.º Ismailia International Film Festival, Ismalia, Egypt, 2018
  • Moving—Image—Arts International Short Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2018
  • Green Gabes Film Festival, Gabes, Tunisia, 2018
  • Al-Nahj International Film Festival, Kerbala, Iraq, 2018
  • X Encuentro Hispanoamericano de Cine y Video Documental Independiente: Contra el Silencio Todas las Voces, Ciudad de México, Mexico, 2018
  • 35.º Busan International Short Film Festival, Busan, South Korea, 2018
  • 14.º Akbank Short Film Festival, Estanbul, Turkey, 2018
  • 15.º Festival Internacional Signos da Noite, Lisbon, 2017
  • Passaggi d’Autore: Intrecci mediterranei, Sant’Antioco (Sardinia), Italy, 2017
  • 20.º Mestre Film Festival, Venice, Italy, 2017
  • FRICINE 2017. 6.º Festival Internacional de Cinema Socioambiental, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2017
  • «Another Look», 11.º Cinema Verite, Iran International Documentary Film Festival, Iran, 2017
  • 39.º Cinemed. Festival Internacional de Cine del Mediterráneo, Montpellier, 2017
  • 26.º Dokumentart, Brandenburg (Germany), 2017
  • Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival, Arizona, United States, 2017
  • Festival Cinespaña, Toulouse, 2017
  • 7.º Cinecipó – Festival de Cinema Insurgente, Brazil, 2017


  • 49.º Festival Internacional de Cine de Huesca, CIMA en Corto, Huesca, 2021
  • Festival de Narrativas Cuéntalo, Logroño, 2020
  • 8.º Muestra de Cine y Naturaleza ForadCamp 2019, Figaró-Montmany, Cataluña, 2019
  • 7.º FIC Gáldar · Festival Internacional de Cine de Gáldar, Gáldar, 2019
  • 10.º ESPACIO ENTER CANARIAS, Tenerife, 2019
  • 5.ª Muestra Internacional de Cortometrajes, “Derechos Humanos y … Acción!”, Castellón de la Plana, España, 2018
  • 4.º Directed by Women Spain, Madrid and Málaga, 2018
  • V Premios Pávez. Festival Nacional de Cortometrajes de Talavera de la Reina, Talavera de la Reina (Toledo), 2018
  • FICMEC, Festival Internacional de Cine Medioambiental de Canarias, Tenerife, 2018
  • 20.º Festival Corto Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real, 2018
  • Festival de Artes Rendibú, Murcia, 2018
  • 11.º Ecozine Film Festival, Zaragoza, 2018
  • OVNI 2018. Camino de retorno, CCCB, Barcelona, 2018
  • 31.ª Semana de Cine de Medina del Campo, Medina del Campo (Valladolid), 2018
  • MIDEC 2018, Muestra de Cortometrajes de la Universidad de La Laguna, San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Tenerife), 2018
  • IBAFF 9. Festival Internacional de Cine de Murcia, Murcia, 2018
  • 12.º MiradasDoc, Guía de Isora (Tenerife), 2018
  • Zinexín. XIII Muestra de Cine de La Roda, Albacete, 2017
  • Colón Cinema, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2017
  • Tenerife Shorts, Tenerife, 2017
  • VII Mediu Güeyu, Villaviciosa (Asturias), 2017
  • CORTADA 2017, Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2017
  • XIII Muestra de Cortometrajes «San Rafael en Corto», Vecindario (Gran Canaria), 2017
  • 7.ª Muestra Europea de Cine de Lanzarote, Lanzarote, 2017
  • 19.º Certamen Internacional de Cortos «Ciudad de Soria», Soria, 2017
  • Festival de Curtas Armadiña, Pontevedra, 2017
  • 47.º ALCINE – Festival de Cine de Alcalá de Henares / Comunidad de Madrid, Alcalá de Henares, 2017
  • 19.º Octubre Corto. Arnedo (La Rioja), 2017
  • 24.º L’Alternativa de Barcelona, Barcelona, 2017
  • 59.º ZINEBI. Festival Internacional de cine documental y cortometrajes de Bilbao, Bilbao, 2017
  • 19.º Abycine, Albacete, 2017
  • MINIDOC, Toledo, 2017
  • IX FICBE. Festival Internacional de Cine de Temática Social, Navarra, 2017
  • 49.º Alcances Cádiz. Festival de Cine Documental, Cádiz, 2017
  • 5.º Rural Film Fest, Castilla-La Mancha, 2017
  • Festival Cinerama, Valladolid, 2017
  • 17.º Festival Internacional de Cine de Las Palmas, Las Palmas, 2017
  • 13.º DocumentaMadrid, Madrid, 2017

Collective exhibitions

  • “The Nomad Sets Off For the Desert”, Display Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic, 2019
  • “70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón de la Plana, 2018

Special Screenings

  • Rural FilmFest Tour, Camp d’Elx, 2021
  • Filmoteca CajaCanarias, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 2021
  • El día + corto 2020, Coordinadora del Cortometraje Español, 2020
  • 10.º Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote, Emisiones en Televisión Canaria, Canarias, 2020
  • Ciclo Distopías: Recuerdos de un futuro (pasado) imperfecto – Gran Canaria Espacio Digital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2020
  • Conversation Night, Albany Park Autonomous Center, Chicago, United States, 2020
  • CUNY (City University of New York), New York, United States, 2020
  • Spain on Campus, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, United States, 2020
  • International Film Forum, Weitz Center for Creativity, Carleton College, Northfield, United States, 2020
  • Centro Cultural de España en Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua, 2020
  • CIMA en Corto, Cineteca Madrid, Madrid, 2020
  • Directed by Women Spain exhibition in Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, 2019
  • Digital 104 Film Distribution short films session in Cine Artistic Metropol, Madrid, 2019
  • Participated Video Workshop, La Vorágine / Cultura Crítica, Santander, 2019
  • La nuit blanche de Cinéma sous les étoiles, Montreal, Greece, 2019
  • Selección de “Directed by Women Spain” en Cineteca, Madrid, 2019
  • “Directed by Women Spain”, Martes de la ECAM, ECAM, Madrid, October 2018
  • Ciclo DOCMA, Madrid, September 2018
  • 55.º Curso de cinematografía. Cátedra de Cine, Universidad de Valladolid, 2018
  • Ciclo El mejor cine canario de 2017 según Alisios. Revista del audiovisual canario, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2018
  • IV Jornadas de ALCESXXI (Asociación Internacional de Cine y Literatura y Cine español Siglo XXI), Zaragoza, 2017
  • Festival Big Bang Vintage, Las Palmas, 2017
  • Centro Negra – AADK Spain (Aktuelle Architektur Der Kultur), Blanca (Murcia), 2017
  • Aguere Espacio Cultural, Digital 104 short films exhibition, La Laguna, 2017