Beyond Catalonia: The Challenges of Identity in Europe
Duration: 4 episodes / 45 minutes each
Project description: The idea behind the project is to create an audiovisual map of nationalism in Europe. Almost all the States of the continent are home to one or several regionalist movements, that over time can rearrange the geopolitical space. The documentary wants to echo voices normally inaudible in the media that may have much to say in the future of Europe. The Spanish example has already shown that trying to silence them is not the solution.
The movie will have an intimate approach; in each place, the story will be personalized by a few characters who will lead us through the reality of each territory. The reports will have a strong ethnographic and aesthetic component, beyond the purely informative.
Synopsis: It doesn’t seem like a near future, but the current situation in Catalonia raises a necessary question: Is this an isolated case or is the Union only witnessing the birth of the first cracks? The reality is that most European countries deal with the desire for self-determination of one or more of their regions; and the economic crisis, the increase of immigration and, above all, media attention in this regard, has translated into growing support for nationalist parties and movements and has revived old enmities.
Every few months, we know of a new request for a referendum or a vote asking for more self-determination, as was recently the case in northern Italy. And all these steps, with more or less support, with greater or lesser state incidence, walk towards a map of Europe that could be very different from the one we know.
The idea is to present the situation through four blocks, one for each quadrant of the continent: north, south, east and west.
• Northern Block: Lapland (Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Finland), Latgale (Latvia) and Faroe Islands (Denmark)
• Southern Block: Basque Country (Spain), Padania (Italy) and Corsica (France)
• Eastern Block: Silesia (Poland), Istria (Croatia) and Székely Land (Romania)
• Western Block: Flanders (Belgium), Brittany (France) and Scotland (United Kingdom)
In the Northern Block, we begin our journey to the north of Norway, in the surroundings of Tromso. There, as in the Arctic areas of Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula (in Russia), the Sámi people live, an indigenous community that is increasingly isolated and has very little representation in the social and political reality of their country. They ask for more self-determination and rights over their lands, on the other hand, rich in natural resources. Although global warming is endangering their traditional way of life.
Further south, in Latvia, is the Latgale region, a possible Crimea. Here also the external factor of Moscow is played on the Russian minorities that lead the separatist movement. A movement, which has found an absolute majority in the Faroe Islands, located between Iceland and Scotland, but belonging to Denmark. Although, for how long?
Southern Europe is probably the most unstable area. With innumerable nationalist groups, which in some cases enjoy a surprising popularity. Basque Country and Corsica have in common the existence in the past of criminal groups in the name of independence. Today, to a greater extent in Spanish territory than in French, nationalist sentiment continues to be present in regional governments and, in fact, in the Basque Country, it holds the power.
For its part, Italy presents one of the most complex panoramas from north to south. Days after the declaration of Catalan independence, Lombardy and Veneto demanded in the referendum, by an overwhelming majority, more autonomy from the central government. Both regions have even discussed the idea of independence, considering that they contribute more to the Italian economy than they receive.
In the West, Scotland and Flanders lead the polls of possible new European states. And in the East, the Catalan question has revived the debate on the plausible autonomy of Istria in Croatia or Silesia in Poland.
So in this way, as if it were a mosaic, the movie will present the most distinctive independence (and self-determination) struggles with the greatest impact in present-day Europe.