Film producer Isona Passola is happy. Happy and surprised. As her self-imposed 40-day deadline to collect 300,000 euros to finance her new documentary via crowdfunding looms, she already has close to 350,000.
Budgeted at a total of 600,000 euros, L’endemà (or, The day after) will seek to answer all the questions and doubts surrounding the Catalan secession process, explaining what might happen the day after an eventual declaration of independence. Filming is planned for the summer with a January 2014 release in mind, and the list of interviewees is already being drawn up.
“We have obtained a very unusual amount with this system,” she says. “The record in Europe was 153,000 euros and in Catalonia it was 50,000. People are very interested in the subject of L’endemà, of course, the right to decide. But, what’s more, civil society has felt very much a part of the crowdfunding system we have put forward.”
Some people have given 10 euros, others 900. The standard amount pledged is 25 euros, while the average per person works out at 94. Passola, who also produced Agustí Villaronga’s Goya-winning drama Pà negre (2010), says credibility is key in crowdfunding, and after her last documentary, Cataluña-Espanya (2009), she has it.
The film is not setting out to cause controversy, she points out. “The fundamentalism of both sides annoys me a lot. This documentary will be made with calm and with the desire to explain, with the idea that if there are points in the independence process that aren’t clear, we are not going to hide them.”
Passola says L’endemà will tackle the big questions that independence raises, its problems and risks, and also “the big opportunity” it could create to regenerate democracy and reform the legal system. “You have to explain the European and the social issues really well, avoiding clichés and bad feelings.”
She is sure there will be a referendum and that Catalans will be able to exercise their right to decide. “Personally, I am in favor, but I also think you have to explain everything that will come after it really well. If that isn’t done, I might opt for no.”
Above all, Passola wants it to be the experts who speak: “Those who know about the topic, those who can tell us how the country will end up.”
And the politicians? “No, not them, not in any way. I’m interested in those who can give certain answers, the experts, and in that vein we will have theorists from all over the world, many people from abroad, from the US and China, for example.”
Passola says she is fascinated by crowdfunding. She has taken a course on the subject and answers letters about it every night. She is also very active on Twitter. “It is a little bit like running an election campaign,” she says. “There is a lot of economic risk, but as a phenomenon, crowdfunding is great, with a big future. You skip the banks and it works extremely well for film, music and book projects.”
L’endemà will not be like The Basque Ball: Skin Against Stone, Julio Médem’s controversial 2003 documentary about the Basque nationalist movement. “No, I already did that in Cataluña-Espanya, it’s another stage. The one now is very different,” Passola says. Instead it will be “a very agile and lively film. I have lots of young people around me who are creating a very powerful dynamic.”