Catalunya Barcelona

The Catalan Story of Barcelona

10 Episodes. 50 Interviews. 300 Years. 1 City. Start Watching.

EN — CATES

Catalunya Barcelona is now available for stream and download!

Territories: Global
Territories: US/UK
Territories: US/CA/UK/AU
Territories: US/CA/UK/AU

Catalunya Barcelona is a 10-episode documentary series that chronicles the history of Barcelona, from the loss of its independence in 1714 to the constitutional crisis that reached the world stage in 2017. It was produced to fill a void. As much as everyone in the United States loves, or wishes to visit Barcelona, nobody in the United States really knows anything about the city, other than what can be gleaned from travel videos.

Catalunya Barcelona tells the story of the city through interviews with ordinary Catalan citizens, from every walk of life. Historians and lawyers. Doctors and drag queens. Students and architects. Artists and bankers. Journalists and politicians. More than 60 interviews were conducted during the course of production, and the series is filled with hundreds of never-before-seen archival photos and videos. Produced for the English-speaking audience, and bolstered by the narration of actor Jenny Beacraft, the city’s complex and turbulent past is illuminated through historical accounts and personal stories.

Episodes

In the 18th century, the War of Spanish Succession resulted in all of Spain falling under the rule of a single crown, the Bourbon royal family. The country, as it is known today, was born. Episode 1 focuses mainly on the 19th century industrial expansion of Barcelona, the plight of the city’s workers, and the rise of the city’s Bourgeoisie. Significant events include the imposition of martial law over Barcelona, the destruction of a medieval wall corseting the city, the end of the Spanish colonial empire, the emergence of seminal Catalan and Republican political parties and politicos, the birth of Catalan Modernism, and a spate of anarchist bombings. Major series figures—Valentí Almirall, Enric Prat de la Riba, King Alfons XII, and Francesc Macià—are introduced, and the episode ends with the military closing ranks after the publication of a seemingly innocuous cartoon in a Barcelona magazine, a cartoon that single-handedly set into motion a series of events that would change the course of history for Barcelona, Spain, and indeed, all of Europe. [MORE INFO]

19th century children playing in Barcelona

Barcelona, at the start of the 20th century, owing to its reputation as the Catalan Manchester, is experiencing unprecedented growth, annexing neighboring villages, building more factories, and inspiring a wave of immigration from within Spain. As Catalan politicians and factory owners strive to exert more control over the city and region, a new labor union, the CNT, forms to fight on behalf of workers rights. Significant events include Tragic Week, the rise of anarcho-syndicalism, the creation of a Commonwealth of Catalunya, state-sanctioned assassinations under the moniker “Pistolerisme,” and a military coup that results in Spain’s first 20th century dictatorship. Introducing major figures Lluís Companys and Miguel Primo de Rivera, the episode concludes with an historic municipal election in 1931, one that ushers in a period of democratic rule for the state known as the 2nd Spanish Republic. [MORE INFO]

19th century riot in Barcelona

The 2nd Spanish Republic begins with great hope, in Barcelona and across Spain. For the first time in anyone’s memory, the three pillars of power–the crown, the clergy, and the aristocracy–are shaken loose. Working and lower classes are now to have a voice, and the opportunity for a brighter future. But the social reforms and political maneuvering required to bring such dreams to life are towering, and patience, among the proletariat, is not without limits. Significant events include the enactment of Catalunya’s 1st Statute of Autonomy, the building of thousands of modern schools, the continued growth of the CNT, the death of Francesc Macià, the jailing of Lluís Companys and his government, and an introduction of reforms that suddenly make Spain the most progressive country in Europe. Introducing major figures Francisco Franco, José María Gil-Robles and Alejandro Lerroux, this episode culminates as persistent political brinkmanship turns tragic. [MORE INFO]

Barcelona's Plaça de Catalunya during the 1930s

Disparate visions for Spain’s future are on a collision course, and in the summer of 1936, a cadre of military generals launch a coup, seeking a return to a more traditional Spain. In Barcelona, the coup is repelled, with the help of armed workers and anarchists. The war, pitting the Nationalist Rebels against the Republicans, will rage for three years, tearing the peninsula apart, and resulting in a death toll that is, to this day, unknown, with estimate ranging from 250,000 to 2 million. Significant events include a workers revolution in Barcelona, the city’s “Civil War within the Civil War,” the bombing of Barcelona, and the rise to power of Francisco Franco. Introducing major figures Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko, Joan García Oliver, Emilio Mola, José Sanjurjo, the episode concludes with the coup organizer’s victory, and the Nationalist march on Barcelona. [MORE INFO]

Local Barcelona workers marching the street during the Spanish Civil War

Post-war Barcelona is a dark, ominous place. Famine is rampant. Jails are filled to capacity. The Catalan language, flags and cultural symbols have been banned. Even the city’s soccer team, Barça, is forced to change its name. Members of the losing side of the Civil War, the Republicans, are now considered enemies of the state, and face a gauntlet of reprisals under the new regime. Significant events include the execution of Lluís Companys, World War II, the a tram boycott in Barcelona, the rise of the Technocrats, and the return to a Spain steeped in Catholicism. Dictadura spans the first 20 years of the Franco regime, a gray period in Barcelona history that is illustrated through myriad interviews with the people who lived through it. The episode concludes with the Spanish dictator hugging an American president, confirming fears that Francoism would not be coming to an end anytime soon. [MORE INFO]

Parade of victorious rebel soldiers down the streets of barcelona after the Spanish Civil War.

The second half of the Franco era earned the nickname “Dictablanda” because it was perceived as more bland, less harsh than the first 20 years of the dictatorship. However, as the 1960s begin, Barcelona, and indeed, all of Spain, seem frozen in time, little different from the previous 20 years. Franco remains dictator. Political pluralism and the Catalan language are outlawed. Yet, the people of Barcelona are becoming restless. Resistance movements are beginning to make noise, and as the dictator’s health begins to wane, an end of the dictatorship, and the regime, seems in sight. Significant events include university protests and the “Caputxinada,” the Spanish Miracle, the Munich Cohabitation, the rebirth of the Catalan National Front, and the assassination of Franco’s successor by Basque separatists. Introducing major figures Jordi Pujol, Luis Carrero Blanco, Carlos Arias Navarro, and King Juan Carlos I, the episode ends with Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, and the gnawing question, “Now What?” [MORE INFO]

A Barcelona newsstand the day after Francisco Franco's death

Francisco Franco is dead of natural causes, allowing him more than enough time to plan his succession, and ensure his regime continues. However, the road ahead is paved with uncertainty, and for many, across Spain, and in commercial hubs like Barcelona in particular, democracy seems inevitable. Key events include the return of historic socialist and communist parties, the signing of a new Spanish Constitution, passage of the Statute of Autonomy for Catalunya, a massive anarchist gathering on Montjuïc, the return from exile of a Catalan president, the Atocha Massacre, the Scala Case, and the first open elections since 1936. Introducing major figures Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Adolfo Suárez, Felipe González, and Santiago Carrillo, the episode concludes with a triumphant return to democracy for Spain, and another military coup on the horizon. [MORE INFO]

Barcelona citizens bearing Catalan flags in the 1970s

The transition to democracy, by all accounts, was a success, and Spain is, once again, entering a period of democracy and political pluralism. However, the members of the former Franco regime were never removed from positions of power, and this episode opens with the staging of another military coup. Significant events include the rediscovery of the Catalan language, its ritual celebrations and festival calendar, the passage of the Law of Linguistic Normalization, the emergence of “Café Para Todos,” the terrorist bombing of the Hipercor shopping center, “Destape,” and preparations for the city’s hosting of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Introducing major figures Antonio Tejero and Pasqual Maragall, the episode concludes with Barcelona’s successful staging of the 1992 Summer Olympics, marking a new chapter for Barcelona, that leaves pride, opportunity, and, in many ways, a new city, in its wake. [MORE INFO]

Protesters in Barcelona during the early 1980s

Owing to the success of the 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona has reached the world stage. Gains in tourism, industry, and building construction, are keying unprecedented prosperity for the region, yet the city remains a hotbed of political activity, amid a brewing desire to exert more control over its social and political future. Significant events include the collapse of the liberal socialist government and rise of the conservative People’s Party, the Take the Square youth movement, La Diada, the Gag Law’s passage, the collapse of the brick economy, the rejection of a revised Statute of Catalan Autonomy, and the holding of a Catalan Self-Determination Referendum. Introducing major figures Mariano Rajoy, Ada Colau, Artur Mas, and Carles Puigdemont, the episode concludes with the nomination of a new President of the Catalan region, and his pledge to hold a referendum on independence from Spain by the end of 2017. [MORE INFO]

Protesters in Barcelona in the 2000s

Owing to a corruption scandal, president of Catalunya, Artur Mas, has been ousted, replaced by Carles Puigdemont. He’s made his mission clear from the moment of taking office, and in spite of persistent saber-rattling from the central government, the independence movement proceeds, undaunted, towards its referendum on independence. Significant events include the terrorist attack on August 17th, Operation Anubis, the October 1st referendum, the suspension of Catalan autonomy, and arrests of government and social organization leaders. Introducing major figures, King Felip VI, Oriol Junqueras and Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, this episode, and the entire Catalunya Barcelona series, concludes with uncertainty and hope. Barcelona remains an esteemed tourist hotspot, yet the pro-independence majority in the Catalan Parliament promises it will continue fighting for Catalan statehood. The central government, in Madrid, insists that it will never happen. And in Barcelona, fears of a return to Francoism, and the loss of identity, remain. [MORE INFO]

A woman faces off with police in Barcelona in 2017

Teasers. Trailers. Promos.

Over the course of production we interviewed more than 50 people, accumulating nearly 100 hours of content! Since we tried to limit ourselves to 10 episodes, much was, regrettably, left on the cutting-room floor. As a result, numerous trailers, teasers, and interview segments are now online and available to watch.