Within the extensive collections held by the Filmoteca there are a number of titles that are particularly important. These are the film documents that make up various important series within Catalan, and indeed international, film heritage. These collections are available to researchers to facilitate their work. In addition, loans to educational establishments, festivals and other institutions give the general public the opportunity to see the film collections. Finally, more and more professionals are using the image files to search for material to make new audiovisual productions.
Catalan film production
The films that make up this collection are a representation of films produced in Catalonia, from the earliest works through to the present day. In the Mobydoc database, available at the Film Library, you can make searches by title, director or year of production and you can also find information in the technical and artistic data sheets and details of their physical characteristics.
You can also check the availability of these films in a domestic format in the Film Library’s online catalogue.
This collection consists of the films, newsreels and documentaries produced and distributed by Laya Films (1936-1939) during the Spanish Civil War. These films could form part of the collection dedicated to Catalan Film Production but we have put them in their own section due to their historical importance.
Collection available at the European Film Gateway
Newsreels: at that time, they were Espanya al dia (Catalan), España al día (Spanish), Nouvelles d’Espagne (French), News of Spain and Spain Today (both in English). These newsreels generated a large number of images which were later used for other productions.
Monographic newsreels: these follow the structure of the newsreels but all the information revolves around a single theme and they are the original edits of their time, with a unified language and structure.
Documentaries: these are productions on a specific subject but do not follow the structure of the newsreels, even though the images may have been sourced from them.
More than half the material of Laya Films was lost as a result of the political situation after the Civil War and the fragility of the original medium. It is estimated that around 100 newsreels were released, which would equate to between 900 and 1,000 news items. Of all the material studied to date, 447 news items have been identified, of which 191 are kept in edited montage form, five are part of other newsreels, 30 have only retained the headline, and 27 are identified in the documentary Fuego en España (Fire in Spain).
The bulk of this collection comes from the Ministry of Culture which, through the Filmoteca Española, has been gradually recovering the films made during the Spanish Civil War. In addition, certain iconic films such as Catalunya Màrtir (Catalonia the Martyr), among others, were preserved by President Tarradellas and other individuals who kept them safe during the Franco regime. Part of this collection reached us in a fragmented way. This was the montage of news items that survived from the newsreels, grouped and edited by themes but without any further technical requirements. Consequently, in a single reel you might find news in Catalan, Spanish, English, French and even silent, with very considerable lighting and sound variations.
The Nitrates collection is made up of films preserved by the Film Library on cellulose nitrate film.
In 1997, the Filmoteca de Catalunya commissioned Miquel Porter i Moix to identify, classify and catalogue the collection of nitrates in the Filmoteca. The result was the publication, in 2001, of the book and CD-ROM on the Filmoteca nitrate collection Fons de Nitrats de la Filmoteca. Volum I: Films de Ficció. This catalogue features a considerable number of films whose origins are of great historical value for studying the early days of cinema. They include films by Méliès, Zecca, Guy and Chomón, among others, corresponding to the leading film producers in the early twentieth century: Lumière, Pathé, Gaumont and Star Films, among others.
Two CD-Roms were subsequently published, entitled Fons de Nitrats de la Filmoteca. Volum II: Films de no-ficció (1896-1925) in 2004, and Fons de Nitrats de la Filmoteca. Volume III: Non-fiction films (1926-1952) in 2005. Given the large number of films in this genre, it was decided to firstly catalogue the Catalan and Spanish documentary material. Among the films in these catalogues, we should highlight those that have a specifically Catalan interest, such as those by Fructuós Gelabert and Baltasar Abadal, as well as those by anonymous Catalan filmmakers who worked for foreign film production companies such as Pathé and Gaumont. The most important content of films made after 1926 concerned the Spanish Republic, the Spanish Civil War, the emergence of sound, and amateur filmmaking.
Segundo de Chomón
Since 1992, the Filmoteca de Catalunya has been undertaking research into and recovering the work of the great Aragonese filmmaker Segundo de Chomón, who worked in Barcelona in his early days. However, it was in Paris and Turin where Chomón found the technical resources that allowed him to develop and become a highly respected and sought-after professional for the great productions of the time. He worked on such great European silent films as Cabiria (Giovanni Pastrone, 1914) and Napoleón vu par Abel Gance (Napoleon) (Abel Gance, 1927).
Collection available at the European Film Gateway.
The Filmoteca, in conjunction with Cameo, has published part of his work on the DVD Segundo de Chomón (1903-1912). El cine de la fantasía.
Historians, researchers and students (when accredited by a letter from their university tutor or professor confirming the research work) have access to the film collections.
This access is granted on request to give you a date and time to ensure the best service and proper handling of the films, if applicable.
Distribution copies in 35 mm and DCP are available for other Film Libraries, festivals and cultural institutions that promote the dissemination of Catalan cinema.
The loan of material is possible provided that the rights of the owner are respected, that the loan is duly credited to the Filmoteca de Catalunya, and that the preservation of the loaned material is guaranteed. You should submit a loan request at least three weeks in advance for the necessary administrative and technical procedures to be completed.
The contents of the film collections are available to producers and institutions in search of images for new audiovisual productions.
Copies of excerpts on video in different systems may be requested, provided that the rights holders and/or owners of the images in question have given their consent. The cost of the technical services of research, viewing and splicing the requested images will be charged to the applicant. In the case of images whose rights are owned by the Filmoteca de Catalunya, these rights will be detailed in a contract for the assignment of rights at the established public rates.