Archive of films Once Upon a Dream – A Journey to the Last Spaghetti Western / Once Upon a Dream – A Journey to the Last Spaghetti Western

Germany / Finland / Bulgaria
2015, 60 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2015

It’s not so long since they shot one cult film after another in the Andalusian town of Tabernas. But the fame of the movie stars has since faded and the charm of the place evaporated in the face of the economic crisis. When word gets out about the production of a new blockbuster, the eyes of the local inhabitants shine with hope. A humorous documentary fairy tale about a life reminiscent of an endless Hollywood movie.


From the moment Hollywood sent its first story out into the world, millions of people latched onto the feverish dream of a different, better life. But perhaps nowhere was the conflict between lusterless reality and the scintillating shine of Hollywood stars so palpable as in the Andalusian town of Tabernas, the location where film studios shot one cult film after another for decades. Lawrence of Arabia and Once Upon a Time in the West; Elizabeth Taylor, Harrison Ford, and Claudia Cardinale – hundreds of motion pictures made while icons of the silver screen gallivanted about the arid Spanish desert. With the passing years, however, audience preferences changed and economic hard times set in. The once famed town lost its charm as local inhabitants lost their jobs. But when news suddenly spreads about the production of a new star-studded blockbuster, people dust off their lost hope. A humorous documentary fairy tale about escaping from the oppressive mundanity of destitute lives.

Martin Horyna

About the director

Tonislav Hristov

Tonislav Hristov (b. 1978, Vraca, Bulgaria) moved to Finland in 2001 to shoot his first documentary, Family Fortune (2009), made for Finnish and Bulgarian television. His feature debut Rules of Single Life (2011) found its way into both Finnish and Bulgarian distribution, winning Best Documentary at the Sofia IFF and screening at a variety of other fests (e.g. Jihlava IDFF). Hristov’s next two projects earned him great success and a rich festival career: Soul Food Stories (2013) was selected for the medium-length competition at Amsterdam’s IDFA, while Love and Engineering (2014) screened at New York’s Tribeca and Toronto’s Hot Docs, opened Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland, and was viewed by Karlovy Vary audiences.


Elemag Pictures GmbH
Demmeringstrasse 57, 04177, Leipzig
Tel: +49 341 686 929 37
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP
International premiere

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: Tonislav Hristov
Screenplay: Tonislav Hristov podle námětu / based on a story by Boris Despodov
Dir. of Photography: Orlin Ruevski
Music: Petar Dundakov
Editor: Nikolai Hartmann, Tonislav Hristov
Producer: Erkko Lyytinen, Tanja Georgieva, Borislav Chouchkov, Tonislav Hristov
Production: elemag pictures GmbH
Coproduction: YLE, Soul Food Ltd.
Contact: Elemag Pictures GmbH


Tonislav Hristov

Tanja Georgieva-Waldhauer


Erkko Lyytinen


Petar Dundakov

Music Composer


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