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Two Catalonias: Netflix documentary tackling political conflict to be screened September 28

Spanish directors made film in response to "manipulation" and "simplification" of information after independence referendum

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21 September 2018 12:58 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Dos Cataluñas. Two Catalonias. A documentary that tackles the ideological conflicts surrounding the December 21 election in the country, called by the previous Spanish government in response to the push for sovereignty and subsequent parliamentary declaration of independence. It will be released on Netflix on September 28, translated into 42 languages.

According to co-director Gerardo Olivares, from Cordoba, the aim of the film is to show what is happening in Catalonia, not just to the Spanish public, but to the world. To those in "Sydney, Mongolia, and Patagonia," he said. Dos Cataluñas has the potential to reach 130 million viewers on Netflix.

The narrative follows the campaign trail throughout Catalonia, Brussels, and even Estremera, the Madrid region prison where some pro-independence leaders were previously being held before being transferred to Catalan penitentiaries.

Information "manipulation"

Dos Cataluñas is a response to the "simplification" and "manipulation" of information regarding the October 1 independence referendum, said Álvaro Longoria, also co-director of the production.

"We realized that what was happening was not being told, there was a lot of manipulation and simplification," Longoria stated.  

The film's focal point is a period when tensions between Catalonia and Spain were high. Just over two months on from the independence referendum, deemed illegal by the People's Party administration, people took to the ballots to vote once more. Pro-independence forces won an overall majority in the parliament, whilst unionist Ciutadans (Cs) was the individual party that gained the most seats.

The film, which lasts nearly two hours, is structured around 85 interviews with key players in the Catalan political scene, both for and against independence and those in between. These include the former president Carles Puigdemont, Cs leader Inés Arrimadas, former foreign minister Raül Romeva, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, Xavier Domènech, and more.

All sides

The documentary team would have liked to have "interviewed politicians who were imprisoned at that time" but despite their efforts, it was "impossible." That said, some of those who feature in Dos Cataluñas are currently in pre-trial detention awaiting trial for their role in Catalonia's push for independence, such as Jordi Turull. They also tried to speak with Soraya Sáenz de Santamría, Spain's former vice-president and an adamant supporter of direct rule in the country, but they received no response.

"Neutral" point of view

Neither director is from Catalonia. Olivares was born in Cordoba, Longoria in Santander. Although they were both born in Spain, they do not consider themselves as Spanish.  "We are not Spaniards, we have lived abroad a large part of our lives, and this has made our point of view when making the documentary more neutral," Longoria emphasized, adding that because of this, they have been able to analyze the situation without getting caught up in the "passion that many people have."

"We have made a great effort to include all points of view and we have managed not to indoctrinate", emphasized Longoria. "This documentary does not try to say 'you have to think like that', but rather: 'this is what is happening and you will see what you want to think'," he added. "There are many Catalonias, and many points of view," he said.

"There is a social fracture that forces you to choose one side or the other," Olivares believes. "This is not well seen from a neutral point of view."

After filming, both directors agree that their perception of the situation in Catalonia has not changed, but it helped them better understand "what is happening and, above all, what was the origin of it all," according to Olivares.

For Longoria, "there is no absolute truth." The solution, "as with all political conflicts," is finding "an intermediate point."

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  • Screenshot from documentary 'Dos Cataluñas' (Netflix)

  • Screenshot from documentary 'Dos Cataluñas' (Netflix)