The co-director of the documentary Two Catalonians, Álvaro Longoria, On Tuesday morning he returned the prize he received on Monday night from the Cinema for Peace Foundation, which was given to him by the hands of Carles Puigdemont, who moved to Berlin to attend the gala. In a letter he has delivered together with the trophy, Longoria says: "We believe that the act of delivery has not been impartial and has failed our professional ethics and one of the key principles of our documentary, neutrality"
In an interview with EL PAÍS, the filmmaker, known both for directing documentaries and for his work as a producer through the company Morena Films, underlined: "We did not know the details of the delivery, only that we were nominated, and nobody spoke to us of a previous political discourse ", what Puigdemont did when he took the stage. "For the people of the former Catalan president we learned a few days ago of the possibility of his presence"; says Longoria, "and we insisted that the organization not be seated at our table, because our film does not want to be a piece of information manipulation, but a denunciation of these acts". From Cinema for Peace, which has Mikhail Gorbachev as honorary president, they explained that Puigdemont was not even going to speak. "Suddenly, we saw him go on stage, with what I thought we had won, and he made his own speech," says Longoria. His codirection partner, Gerardo Olivares, also present in Berlin, decided not to attend the dinner when he learned of the presence of the politician. "I did because I had already confirmed and because from the foundation they had insisted on not manipulating the event." Together with Puigdemont, the German soprano Anna Maria Kaufmann, who sang Do not cry for me Catalonia, Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic version Do not cry for me Argentina.
During his speech, the express reported, according to the attendees, a chronology of events in Catalonia. And he explained: "Tomorrow begins a trial in Madrid against members of the Government of Catalonia, social leaders and the former president of the Catalan Parliament for organizing a referendum on independence in our country [...]. In addition, seven other members of Parliament and Government are living in exile, in three different European countries. "Before entering the dinner, the politician assured a group of journalists:" For me it is important to be present at this event in a frame of recognized prestige that highlights the cinematographic works in favor of human rights and particularly the peace with which we feel very committed ".
Two Catalonians won in the category Cinema for Peace and Justice, which also competed The silence of others, of Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar. The documentary, produced by Netflix, about the last months of the independence process, consists of two hours organized mainly with contributions from politicians, journalists, political scientists, academics ... In the process of documentation and filming their authors made up to 85 interviews, always with the idea that it was fair and that there were voices from all sides. Longoria says he has not received any pressure from Netflix to return the award, although he did warn them of all his steps
Cinema for Peace is a foundation based in Berlin, which started its activities after 9/11. Since 2002, it has been holding an awards gala in the German capital, taking advantage of the presence of numerous movie stars at the Berlinale. Among its members are Charlize Theron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who yesterday attended the gala. Other attendees included musician and activist Bob Geldof, actresses Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Nastassja Kinski and Katja Riemann, film producers and German politicians such as former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. This newspaper has tried unsuccessfully to contact Cinema for Peace.