• New York International Film and Video

    Best Documentary
  • Mar del Plata International Film Festival

  • Montreal International FIlm Festival

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Spanish with English subtitles

Recommended by EMRO. Read the review.

A War in Hollywood is a featured length documentary about the impact and influence that the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) had in Hollywood film production during the years of strife and the evolution of Franco’s image over various political periods: from the affection and support towards the Republican cause and the romantic vision of war by many liberal artists and creators, to the upholding Franco’s in the ’40s and ’50s. This evolution is also narrated through the personal story of Alvah Bessie, a screenwriter, critic and journalist who fought as a member of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, and his close relationship with the modern history of Spain at different periods of his life. The film has been structured in 3 acts divided chronologically as follows:

1)   Impact of the civil war on American Society due to the fact that the Spanish Civil War was the first modern war one who was covered by mass media.

2)   How the political perspective regarding Civil War clearly changes, parallel to the changes in American political developments and the witch hunt issue which affected to several scriptwriters and actors in Hollywood.

3)   The return of Alvah Besie to Spain, where he actively participated in the contest with the Lincoln International Brigade.

The film includes scenes of several classic featured movies — such as The Way We Were, The Snows of Kilimanjaro or For Whom the Bell Tolls, among others –, and interviews with cinema history experts Roman Gubern and Patrick MacGilligan, actress Susan Sarandon,  and Hollywood scriptwriters Arthur Laurents and Walter Bernstein. Together they weave a network of different voices that helps us understand both the complexity of the conflict and the vision, as well as the commitment of film professionals to a matter that goes beyond their artistic skills.

About the Director
Oriol Porta  (Lleida, 1959) currently alternates his work as producer and director with teaching. He gives classes on documentary production and project development at the Ramon Llull University in Barcelona as well as at ESCAC, in Terrassa. He began his professional career as a producer of corporate videos, TV advertisements and television programs. During the 1992 Olympics he was in charge of production services for foreign broadcasters at the television news agency, EditMedia. His passion for audiovisual creation led him to set up his own production company, Àrea de Televisió, in 1993. He also produced news and sports reports, documentaries and reports (Nicaragua: demasiadas incógnitas (1994); Diary from Serbia (1994); Ciudadanos bajo Sospecha (1995)), produced TV ads and corporate videos. In 2000 he began specializing in the production of internationally co-produced documentaries. Since then, he has been the Lead Executive Producer of several documentaries: Francisco Boix: a Photographer in Hell (2000), Argentina: 4 Faces of a Bottomless Country,  (2002), aired in Spain, Portugal and Ireland; Viure la música. Escolans de Montserrat or  Orwell; Against the Tide  (2003), etc. A War in Hollywood (2008) -2nd Award in the Section “History’s Time” in the 53 Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid (Spain)- is his first experience as a feature film director, where he decided to unite his passion for film with his interest in historical and political topics.

“First feature directorial effort by Spain-based docu producer Oriol Porta is a solidly crafted mix of personal narrative, archival clips and latter-day interview commentary that’s well-suited for international broadcasters.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“With excellent film documentation, irreproachable from the historical perspective, the best is the point of view from where it is told: the personal account and the statements gathered are fragments of a whole that is reconstructed in the editing of the film.” – Diego Galán, EL PAÍS