Friday, April 13, 2012

Crowdfunding campaign for Franco's Settlers

play loud! productions announces a large crowdfunding campaign for their new documentary film "Franco's Settlers":

Página de crowdfunding en español

Crowdfunding page in English

Crowdfunding-Seite auf Deutsch


Find here the reasons in English (Spanish and German press releases upon request) why we are organizing this campaign.






PRESS RELEASE
CROWD-FUNDING CAMPAIGN FOR THE DOCUMENTARY FILM “FRANCO’S SETTLERS”

Dear media partners, supporters, programmers of movie theatres, cultural and educational institutions,

The two filmmakers and winners of the German TV Oscar, Spanish born Lucía Palacios and German born Dietmar Post, would like to announce the imminent crowd-funding campaign for their new feature-length documentary film “Franco’s Settlers” (Los Colonos del Caudillo).

This seems a necessary move since TV stations and state subsidy offices in Germany and Spain are not fulfilling their institutional obligations in terms of providing culturally and educationally relevant programming. Many commissioning editors at TV stations have highly praised the film’s narrative structure and its political explosiveness. In the end the film is not accepted. A common reply goes like this: “The film is too specific, demanding and uncompromising and its format is too far away from what our TV station usually broadcasts.”

We do believe that a film should be “demanding” and it should have the filmmaker’s handwriting and be distinct from the “commonly accepted” and in the best case be a little piece of art. If it is not that then it it neither challenging for its makers nor for the audience.

This is not a complaint. Instead we would like to embrace the new possibility of films that are financed by the audience. For the completion of our film we are lacking the sum of 50,000 euros. This is why we are asking our old supporters (and hopefully many new ones) for help so that this project won’t fold after more than 10 years of intensive investigation, filming and post production. It would be horrible, especially if you take to your heart the political importance of this project.

After a presentation of a rough cut of the film some journalists immediately commented that "Franco's Settlers" reminded them of another big Spanish documentary film, "La Pelota Vasca" by Julio Medem, a film, which became the most successful documentary film in the history of Spanish Cinema. Critics said that both films deal with officially "forbidden territory". "La Pelota Vasca" spoke about the Basque conflict in a very reflective and democratic manner when this in the official state media was not allowed. "Franco's Settlers" goes even deeper in its analysis of current Spanish society and asks for a debate about the political legacy of one of the cruelest fascist dictatorships of the 20th century.
 
Many Europeans seem to not know this as a fact, even though in 2006 the European Council demanded that the Spanish government start reevaluating their 40 year dictatorship (1936-1977). In Spain this historic confrontation of the figure of the dictator begins slowly around the year 2000. The film “Franco’s Settlers” would like to support and promote this necessary democratic debate about Franco. After all Germany bears a shared guilt that the violent takeover by Franco’s military forces was only possible through the massive and under international law illegal intervention by fascist troops from Germany, Italy and Portugal. The international democratic community (USA, Great Britain and France) had abandoned the first true Spanish democracy between 1931 and 1936.

The point of origin and epicenter of the film’s narrative is a fascist model village, partly financed with US money and which formed part of large inner Spanish settlement project with more than 300 similar villages. In this village named after Franco (Llanos del Caudillo = The Highplains of Franco) the official ideological goal was to create the “new fascist mankind”. The film accompanies three different generations of settlers, who tell us their rich experiences. These stories are placed in the context of the political situation of the entire Spanish nation, a nation, in which even after 35 years of democracy it is still possible to pay tribute to the dictator without any kind of legal punishment. The only thing Spain owes to Franco is murder, torture, oppression and underdevelopment.

Regardless of the historic facts, in 2011 one of the protagonists of the film, the former fascist minister under Franco, José Utrera Molina, is commemorated by the Francisco Franco Foundation (try to imagine an Adolf Hitler Foundation) for his services towards the ideals of the “National Movement” (the Fascist movement). At the same time the judge Baltasar Garzón, who in 2008 for the first time in Spanish history was about to investigate the crimes committed during the dictatorship (Spain is after Cambodia the country with the second largest number of missing persons in the world) is suspended from his job for 11 years. The international media calls it a witch hunt and realizes the Spanish justice system will be damaged for years to come. In the village “Llanos del Caudillo”, where the local mayor, Santiago Sánchez, has been trying for years to change the village’s name, the people of the village decide by popular vote to keep the name and to keep paying tribute to the dictator.

How can all that be?

The film “Franco’s Settlers” seeks to approach the phenomenon not in a sensationalistic or emotionally manipulative manner. On the contrary, its aesthetic strategy is wary, slow, elaborate and in-depth, knowing full well that Spain has had and is having a sort of historical awakening,
within intellectual and academic circles, the necessary broad democratic debate about the dictatorship and its legacy has never really happened before.
 
Too many old and new supporters of the former anti-democratic regime are still in important positions within the state institutions. It is no wonder that the recently elected conservative prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, opposes the Historical Memory Law, a law which was established in 2007 and that prohibits any kind of tribute towards the dictatorship: “The Historical Memory Law is to no avail at all. I have no interest whatsoever that it is implemented.” Try to imagine that the same kind of phrasing would be used by German chancellor Angela Merkel and it would be legal to pay reference again to Adolf Hitler and Germans would start naming streets and villages after him.
Spain is one of the most important tourist countries within the European Union. Strangely enough we know very little about the nation and its people. Everywhere we hear complaints about the resurrection of right wing radicalism and racism, or the undemocratic situation in Hungary and in other EU countries. A real analysis or investigation in regard is lacking. “Franco’s Settlers” does exactly that. Its conclusions unfortunately are not very pleasant. The antidemocratic behavior is not only reigning within the neo-Nazi movement but also within a large part of the population.

We believe that with our film “Franco’s Settlers” we are contributing to a better understanding of the current situation in Spain and demand actively a debate in respect to the long overdue confrontation and clarification of Spanish history. The film can and must be a tool to instigate this debate. Hopefully soon in the form of many projects and in conjunction with “round tables” with affected persons, politicians and historians. For the German premiere of the film we are planning such a “round table” with, among others, Felipe González (Spanish prime minister between 1982-1996 and a protagonist of the film), Emilio Silva (President of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory), Walter Haubrich (Foreign correspondent in Spain between 1968 - 2012 for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Santiago Sánchez (the mayor of “Llanos del Caudillo”), Paul Preston (as a historian he wrote extensively about Spanish history; with his new book, “The Spanish Holocaust” he demands a rewriting of the Spanish Civil War) and José Albert Ruíz Gallardón (current minister of justice in Spain).

In addition we would like to celebrate the Spanish premiere in the village of “Llanos del Caudillo”, together with the protagonists of the film and invited journalists. By the same token we are searching for other screening possibilities in movie theatres, youth or cultural centers, German-Spanish or neighborhood run associations and schools and universities. We would like to bring the film to the people who do not go to the movies anymore because their stories are no longer told in movies. Therefore we also plan a “movie tour”, an “ambulant cinema”, that leaves the common and archaic ways of distribution and that acts in the style of the “Pedagogic Missions” during the 2nd Republic in the 30s. Together with the local people we would like to organize “locally oriented round tables”. We are sure that many people can tell us similar or maybe totally different stories.

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For this crowd-funding campaign in particular we would like to point out the support by three very famous artists. One is the Spanish actor Juan Diego Botto who has been supporting this film from the very beginning. Juan Diego Botto is the narrator of “Franco’s Settlers”. The second person is Limpe Fuchs. Limpe Fuchs will create the music score for the film. She used to be part of the band Anima. She undoubtedly is one of the most exciting experimental musicians that came out of the 60s krautrock movement. play loud! will release in 2013 her entire back catalog.  
The third supporter is the German painter Daniel Richter, who again (as with our previous films) created the motifs for the movie poster, this time not as drawings but as Dada inspired political collages. This way the supporters of the film are able to acquire on one hand many play loud! products (CD, DVD, vinyl) and on the other hand highly valuable hand signed silkscreen prints of the four Franco motifs. Daniel Richter donates these prints to help complete the financing of the film.

The campaign will be organized by play loud! together with the crowd-funding platform LANZANOS, which is located in Ciudad Real, Spain (capital of the district of Castile-La Mancha, exactly where the story of the film takes place). The campaign can be followed in English, German or Spanish:

English
Spanish
German

Other important sites are:
The official movie site of play loud! productions with trailer, photographs and more info:
The official Facebook movie site: www.facebook.com/loscolonosdelcaudillo
The filmmakers are available for interviews:
info@playloud.org, phone +49 30 2977 9315 or celular +49 178 542 9772

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