Over the Summer Barcelona in a Bag https://www.facebook.com/BarcelonaInABag?ref=hl
went into partnership with artist and film maker Jonathan Moss http://www.jonathan-moss.com to make a film called Without You I Would Not Exist.
The film centred on the story of my father’s rescue from an internment camp in France in 1939 after the fall of the Spanish Republic at the hands of the fascist dictator General Franco. His rescuer was Alec Wainman a pacifist Quaker who risked his life volunteering medical aid in Spain in 1936-7 and then went on to fight fascism with his pen and his camera as a journalist for the Republican government foreign press department. In 1939 he organised the safe passage of 15 or so Spaniards whose lives had been shattered by the war, bereft of everything, he also received them at his home The Old Prebendal House in Shipton-Under-Wychwood. His life saving support and friendship for the Spaniards was humanitarian and spiritual in origin, but he also pitched his considerable talents against the forces of fascism, placing himself in great danger. The film is in tribute to Alec, and showcases a tribute piece gathered from my own story telling and responses from an online community including other artists.
Our film is a poetic visual narrative, telling the story of the rescue but also delving deep into my practice as an object artist, whose work is based on immersive research and seeps into installation and performance.
The process of working with Jonathan was intense and exhilarating – 5 days to film in and a bad case of collapsed budget added to the pressure, and yet it forced us to work almost beyond ourselves and dip into that elusive something extra that athletes describe when facing a highly competitive challenge. Jonathan’s technical skill, his ability to work within the most extraordinary constraints, together with his poetic eye and unwavering good cheer have made him an excellent collaborator. Something about the material and the writing (my part of the bargain) provided inspiration enough for him to deal with my distinct lack of linear thinking and general fuzziness about continuity.
The herculean task of editing was Jonathan’s alone and for this he deserves enormous credit. I have been rewarded with Jonathan’s gorgeous take on my story. It’s been extremely good for me to give the process of presenting my work over to someone else, someone with such a perfect eye and gift for visual narrative.
Behind the scenes work is taking place on the trailer and we will be developing a programme of screenings in the very near future. The film does especially well shown on a loop as part of an installation, but will work well too in the context of artists talks and interdisciplinary forums.
From a narrative point of view it’s important as many people as possible can access this little known aspect of Anglo-Spanish history. Many of the exiles remained in England, including my father, José García Lora, who went on to write plays such Tierra Cautiva (The Captive Land) which are now considered important examples of exile theatre. I want the film to be seen so that the exiles are not forgotten. From a visual perspective the film is an art piece I am extremely proud of. My huge thanks to Jonathan for his unnerving support, his brilliant vision and all the back breaking work.