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Synopsis: Renowned filmmaker Paul Diffley has brought his technical skills to the caving world, with his new film The Ario Dream. The film profiles the exploration of the deep caves of Ario in the Picos de Europa mountains, Northern Spain. The film follows the latest 2016/17 expeditions as they try to make the last few connections that could result in the deepest cave system in Europe. This is a gripping account of ‘expedition-style’ cave exploration involving underground camps and complex logistics, and where the penalties for unforeseen emergencies or problems are severe. At the apex of the operation are the cave divers, pushing into the unknown in deep sumps where rescue is not an option. The tension, as each diver disappears into the blackness, is genuine.







Run Time

24 minutes

Directed by

Paul Diffley

Prod. Company

Director's Statement

I discovered a love of the outdoors as a young teenager in the mid 1980’s. I was introduced to hill walking, climbing and caving through scouts and my high schools outdoor pursuits club. I had never really enjoyed mainstream sport as a kid, I was more into computer club… yea I as one of the cool kids! Sport just seemed just like another way for the big kids to beat up the little kids in a more… structured way! By age 16 I was fully engaged into the culture of outdoor sports. Back then both climbing and caving seemed to a have a similar culture. An anti- establishment sub-culture based around adventure and a love of the outdoors. I have to confess I ended up becoming more of a climber than a caver, but I had fond memories of the caving trips I did back then in the Peak and Yorkshire. Now, 3 decades later, climbing culture has changed beyond recognition…. With climbing walls, competitions, branding and sponsorship. I mean 30 years ago the idea of a climber being sponsored by Coca-cola and Adidas, and that a climber only ever climbing on indoors – just seems a world away…. Where as the caving scene seem to me… virtually unchanged! It’s sub culture is still very much ‘err’ underground ! Adventure and Exploration are still at its core… and I’m yet to meet a caver who makes their living from brand sponsorship… and to brutally honest with you, from what I’ve seen, if they did they would probably be sponsored by Theaksons … and Gregs! So for me,these last couple of years of hanging out with cavers again have been wonderfully refreshing. I’ve spent the last 12 years making films about rock climbing. And having now just made a caving film, I can safely say that filming climbing is SO EASY. Firstly it’s not Pitch black!… ‘my medium is light’! And secondly, now I’ll let you into a little trade secret here… although I’ve filmed some of the best climbers in the world climbing some of the world’s hardest routes… I haven’t actually had to climb those routes myself .. I know !… You see the thing with climbing is there is normally an easy way around the back! I just nip up that, drop the rope down and I’m good to go… Unfortunately filming deep cave exploration doesn’t quite work like that. I had to be a lot more… ‘involved’! I had to have the ‘adventure’ as well. And by ‘Adventure’ I mean spending days living underground, days spent in the cold, in the mud, sleep deprived, suffering from physical exhaustion, hallucinations and extreme testiculare chaffing! … When you are 650m deep, suffering from diarrhea, naked from the ankles down, squatting over a plastic bag every hour … then you know you are having ‘an adventure’! And in the middle of all that, I’m was trying to make a film… in the fecking dark. The weird thing is despite all the discomforts I’ve just listed, there was a bit of me which f*cking loved it! I would like to thank all the cavers I’ve met and worked with over the last two years, I want to thank you all for welcoming me into your wonderful … and sometimes a little strange, underground world. Thank you. Paul Diffley – Director / Producer

Director's Bio

Award-winning productions Paul is a multi-award winning adventure filmmaker, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. As well as creating productions under his Hot Aches label, Paul works freelance as a camera operator, editor, self-shooting PD and drone pilot. His experience ranges from hanging off ropes filming live outside broadcasts of rock climbing, to following adventurers and athletes pushing their limits. He is an expert at using the latest HD/ 4K video cameras and is highly proficient with professional video editing software. His rock climbing films sell worldwide on DVD and download. Extensive experience Paul is equally at home shooting video in challenging mountain environments using ropes and rigging gear as he is conducting an intimate and sensitive interview in a person’s livingroom. Skilled in observational documentary techniques and an experienced interviewer, Paul puts his subjects at ease and allows the story to reveal itself. Many of his productions have won awards at national and international film festivals. They appeal to both judges and audiences alike for their strong story-telling characteristics. Adventure sports Among the adventure sports Paul has filmed are: rock climbing and ice climbing competitive and sea kayaking fell running and mountaineering cross-country and downhill mountain biking kite surfing and yacht racing skiing and snowboarding Sharing the adventure Paul has taught adventure filmmaking as a regular tutor at the Adventure Film Academy and has mentored several students, passing on the benefit of his experience to an up and coming generation of mountain filmmakers. In addition, he has given presentations about mountain film and film making at events worldwide including the Banff Mountain Film Festival and is available as a speaker for other organisations and events. Hands-on experience Aside from his professional interest in adventure sports as a film maker, Paul is a lifelong rock climber and general outdoor enthusiast with a love of mountain environments and a passion to portray their special qualities through the medium of film. Sony ICE Accredited (Independent Certified Expert) Awarded the Guild of Television Cameramen ‘Award for Excellence 2012’ Fully licensed and insured drone pilot.

Country of Origin

United Kingdom

Production Year


Official Website


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