The Ario Dream

The Quest for Europe's Deepest Cave
Cave Diver Paul Mackrill disappearing into the sump 650m deep in the Picos de Europa.


Running time

42 minutes

Country / Nationality

United Kingdom

Our Judges say:

Gripping! A caving expedition involving diving to 30m in cold water after reaching a location 8 and a half hours beneath the surface and any hope of rescue. An amazing story.

Anna Paxton

I work of sheer determination both in filming in a location beneath the surface but also to get a crew down there to explore further.

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Prolific filmmaker Paul Diffley masterfully creates an immersive experience for the viewer as the camera delves deep below the Ario Caves in Spain capturing the claustrophobia, challenges and camaraderie of this caving adventure film. A truly gripping documentary following brave solo divers venturing into the dark unknown.

Ruth Farrar

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…