My name is Todd Glider. I’m the Executive Producer and Director of Catalunya Barcelona. People frequently ask me why I’m making this film, and I’m always glad when they ask, because I like the story behind it.
I have been living in Barcelona, Spain since 2010, a US expat who moved here for work. Sometime during the year 2015 I looked in the mirror and realized that I’d been living in this city longer than I had anywhere else in the world–other than my hometown in the states. A moment later, I realized that, in spite of this fact, I knew nothing about Barcelona.
I was embarrassed. After all, I loved Barcelona. There may be better cities for a holiday, but it’s the greatest city in the world for living. Yet, my knowledge of the culture, of the history, of the people? Nonexistent. I knew Gaudí, La Boqueria, Ferran Adrià, Les Rambles. I’d been to a couple of Barça games.
To remedy the situation, I endeavored to, at a minimum, begin reading books and watching films on the subject. And since I was–and still am–vexingly monolingual, these materials had to be in English, or at a minimum, with English subtitles.
I was shocked by what I found: next to nothing. There are a few good books. Barcelona by Robert Hughes. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. Homage to Barcelona by Colm Toibin. Catalonia is Not Spain by Simon Harris. But little else.
Film? While one can pick form thousands of travel of videos, they are travel videos after all. I love films like Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Whit Stillman’s Barcelona, but neither are actually about the city or its people.
I was completely nonplussed by this discovery. I mean, every American loves Barcelona. It’s a dream vacation. And when I tell North Americans I live here, they often want to punch me. But Americans know nothing about the city, nothing more than I knew anyway. The dichotomy befuddled me.
I made a mental note: If I’ve ever the time, I’m going to make a film that tells the story of Barcelona through interviews with the Catalans, the people who defined its culture, identity and character.
2017 turned out to be The Time. And shooting of Catalunya Barcelona began in May of that year.