THE SILENCE OF OTHERS Documentary to Make National Broadcast Debut on PBS
Filmed over six years, The Silence of Others reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain's 40-year dictatorship under General Franco, as they organize a groundbreaking international lawsuit and fight a "pact of forgetting" around the crimes they suffered. A cautionary tale about fascism and the dangers of forgetting the past.Directed by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar and executive produced by Academy Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, The Silence of Others is the winner of over 30 international awards including the 2019 Goya for Best Documentary Feature (Spain's Academy Award) and was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards. The Silence of Others has its national broadcast debut on the PBS documentary series POV and pov.org this Monday, September 30 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). The film is a co-production of Semilla Verde Productions, Lucernam Films, American Documentary | POV, Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), in association with El Deseo. POV is American television's longest-running independent documentary series now in its 32nd season.
Unbeknownst to much of the world, in Spain today, torture victims live just blocks from their notorious police torturers, who walk free every day. Tens of thousands of parents continue to search for their children who were likely stolen at birth. And families desperate to recover their loved ones' bodies from thousands of mass graves across Spain are blocked by their own government from doing so.The Silence of Others reveals the struggle of victims of these, and other crimes, from General Franco's 40-year dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975), whose perpetrators have enjoyed impunity for decades due to a 1977 amnesty law. It brings to light a painful past that Spain is reluctant to face even today, decades after the dictator's death. And it tells the story of how victims and their descendants are fighting back, seeking justice more than 7,000 miles away from home. Over six years, Emmy-winning filmmakers Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar follow a movement that begins in someone's kitchen and evolves to bring together hundreds of victims and their descendants, who break Spain's "pact of silence" to join an international lawsuit to prosecute these crimes. The story unfolds on two continents: in Spain, where survivors and human rights lawyers build a case that Spanish courts refuse to admit, and in Argentina, where a judge takes it on using the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows foreign courts to investigate crimes against humanity if the country where they occurred refuses to do so. The case marks an astonishing reversal, for it was Spain that pioneered universal jurisdiction to bring down former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and yet now it is an Argentine judge who must bring Spain's own past to light. As the years advance, the case makes history, yielding the first-ever arrest warrants for perpetrators, including alleged torturers, former cabinet ministers, and doctors implicated in cases of stolen children. It brings the nearly forgotten story to the front page of The New York Times, and is generating support for victims of Spain's dictatorship in Spain and around the world. The Silence of Others itself has made an impact in Spain, where it has been seen by more than a million people, with the film's hashtags reaching the #2 trending topic in Spain (with over 50,000 tweets) including a tweet from Spain's Prime Minister urging everyone to watch the film. Spain's public broadcaster RTVE called it "The film that everyone is talking about" and Spain's influential cinema magazine Fotogramascalled it "The most necessary documentary of the last 80 years". With the global rise of authoritarian regimes and ultra-right parties, The Silence of Others offers a cautionary tale about fascism's long shadows, and the dangers of forgetting the past. It raises profound questions about how societies grapple with legacies of state violence and what to do with perpetrators of crimes against humanity in their midst. "What does it mean to forget, and how might that prevent a nation from moving past its historical sins?" said Justine Nagan, executive producer/executive director for POV/American Documentary. "At a time when many countries are re-examining their histories, The Silence of Others holds important lessons for democracies all across the world, and FOR THE PEOPLE who intend to keep them strong and vibrant." Executive Producer and Academy Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar says "The Silence of Others is beautiful, essential, overwhelming nonfiction cinema. From María's first whisper, to the final frame on the mountaintop, we live and breathe a six year struggle as basic as Antigone's: to bury the dead with dignity, to learn the truth before it is too late, and for justice to have its day. I proudly present this film and hope it will be seen in every corner of the world."
The Silence of Others was written, produced and directed by Emmy-winning filmmakers Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar. After 7 years of work, The Silence of Others premiered at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), where it won both the Audience Award (Panorama) and the Peace Film Prize. Following Berlin, The Silence of Others has won 30+ international prizes, including the 2019 Goya for Best Feature Documentary (Spain's Academy Award), Grand Jury Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hamptons International Film Festival Social Justice Award, Thessaloniki Audience Award, Encounters International Documentary Festival Audience Award and #2 Audience Favorite at IDFA, among many others. It was one of five films nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2018 European Film Awards and one of 15 documentaries shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 2019 Academy Awards.Almudena and Robert's previous film, Made in L.A. (MadeinLA.com), which tells the story of three Latina immigrants fighting for better working conditions in Los Angeles garment factories, was praised by The New York Times as "an excellent documentary... about basic human dignity." Made in L.A. screened at 100+ film festivals, premiered on United States public television's POV series and won numerous awards including an Emmy, the Henry Hampton Award and the Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism, among others. Born in Madrid, Spain, Almudena developed her professional career in the United States, where she directed and produced her short documentary Welcome, A Docu-Journey of Impressions (which won Silverdocs' Sterling Prize) and her debut feature documentary, the Emmy-winning POV film Made in L.A. In 2012, Almudena returned to her native Spain to begin work on The Silence of Others in collaboration with Robert. Almudena is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Creative Capital Fellow, a Sundance Time Warner Documentary Fellow, a United States Artists Fellow, and holds an honorary doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Robert lives and works between Brooklyn and Madrid, where he moved to begin work on The Silence of Others in collaboration with Almudena. He won an Emmy as producer/writer of the POV documentary Made in L.A., and he spearheaded a three-year impact campaign that brought the film to audiences around the world. Prior to Made in L.A., he produced and directed the documentary Laid to Waste, and line produced several independent films. Robert is a Creative Capital Fellow, a Sundance Documentary Fellow, and holds an MFA from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television.
Directors: Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar
Producers: Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar
Director of Photography: Almudena Carracedo
Editors: Kim Roberts, Ricardo Acosta
Original Music: Leonardo Heiblum, Jacobo Lieberman
Sound Design: Steve Miller
Location Sound: Robert Bahar
Executive Producers for El Deseo: Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar, Esther García
Executive Producers for POV: Justine Nagan, Chris White
Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer
Executive Producer for LPB: Sandie Viquez Pedlow
Co-Executive Producers for Blue Ice Docs: Steven Silver, Neil Tabatznik, Robin Smith