The Madman and the Cathedral


How did we help:
  • Development
  • Production
  • Outreach
  • Good Pitch

James Rogan
Completed 2009 Runtime 20


In a small town not far from Madrid, a former monk has spent the last forty years single-handedly building a cathedral. With no planning permission and using mostly recycled materials, he has created one of the most striking and baffling architectural achievements of our time, but will he ever manage to finish it?

Long Synopsis

On October 12th, 1963, Justo Gallego Martinez laid the foundation stone of a cathedral. A peasant, with no architectural training, no construction experience and no tools, he turned his back on the fields and started building. He had no blueprints and no planning permission. He had not even seen many cathedrals. All he had was the unshakable conviction that God wanted him to build a cathedral. To locals, he became 'el loco de la iglesia', the madman of the church.

More than forty years later, the shell of the building is complete - it even has a dome modelled on St Peters in Rome. The miracle of his achievement is matched only by the miracle he needs to finish his project.

This film follows Justo as the cathedral enters its final phase. He is now in his eighties and his work is only two-thirds finished. Justo's dream to celebrate mass in the cathedral before he dies seems destined to never come true.