We launched the documentary The Wave

Friday July 7th, 2023

On June 7th we presented the results of the EmCliC project and the documentary La Ola in collaboration with Ecologistas en Acción in La Maliciosa.

The documentary, winner of the Docs Without Festival investigative award, was well received and after completing the festival circuit, we have decided to make it public so that we can all share it.


Madrid had 42 days of heatwave on the summer of 2022. This is the story of how nine adults over 65 years old, living in the neighbourhoods affected by the urban heat island effect, experienced the hottest day of the summer. It shows how they live with, battle against and surrender to the heat, as they go about their day, finding alternatives to the heat. The narrative is built in collaboration with participants, who were the motor of this summer ethnofiction. It reveals the strategies inherited from our grandparents as well as a blatant criticism to how heat is approached in the urban design. It is both an homage to our traditional heat coping strategies and an open question to the heated urban environments that will shape our futures.

During the event, we began with a presentation of the temperature graphs of EmCliC participants’ sensors in comparison to the temperature of the weather stations and the different alert systems, concluding that temperature alerts based on minimum temperatures instead of maximum ones are more similar to the experience of the study participants. We also showed long-term vulnerability projections, which point to an increase in women over 85 with low education in neighborhoods where we already see social exclusion, such as Vallecas. Finally, we compared the results of the survey with those of the ethnography and presented the documentary as a result of the collaboration between the ethnographer from Madrid and the study participants, to show the bodily experiences and sensoriality lived by the participants in response to their physical limitations and economic and financial vulnerability.

After the showing of the documentary La Ola, the public embarked on an open conversation where the study participants, filmed in the documentary, were able to respond first-hand and provide their views on how the documentary and this study should be used to improve the heat alert system and prevention measures. The EmCliC team would like to greatly thank these participants for their presence, not only in the screening but during the two years of research and filming. We would also like to thank Ecologistas en Acción for helping us give this topic the relevance it deserves, and the Lareira team for the catering at the end.

We also want to share the sound atmosphere of a heat wave, recreating the sounds that each participant associates with the heat wave, that resulted from the theater workshop carried out with the participants in the summer of 2022.