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SPANISH AMERICAN SOCIETY > THE FILMS ARCHIVE

THE FILMS ARCHIVE

Our Archive

Recovering the past of a forgotten immigrant community

When in 2009-2010 the first fundraisings started with the purpose or recovering the memory of a forgotten immigrant community in documentary films, we did not find support from Spanish institutions. A century of history of the Spanish immigration in the city of New York was not worthy for the actual Spanish cultural agencies depending on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or the Minister of Culture, in Spain. There was no recognition or help coming from the cultural institutions that are mostly supported with funds from the Spanish Government in the USA or in New York, such the Instituto Cervantes of New York, or the Spanish Consulate of New York, or other institutions.

In this situation, the raising of funds was very important, and as a matter of fact, many of our friends contributed for the support of the project, mostly Americans, but too British and Germans, who understood the importance of recovering the past of an immigrants community in a country that was made by immigrants.

Private archives

We focused our energy in finding the last remaining private archives at the west end of 14th street, and Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC, the area that for decades was known as "Little Spain". We decided that to buy that pictures was the most important step to give. The society bought around 200 pictures, investing more than $300.000. Those pictures are the basis of documentary films -the documentary evidence- that could show for first time the history of Little Spain and the roots of the Spanish-American identity and the United States of America.

Little Spain: a cultural project in film

The presentation of the project in November 2010 at La Nacional, composed by two parts: "Little Spain: a Century of History" and "14th Street Tales" magnetized enormous attention from the Spanish and American media, cultural associations, hundreds of second generation Spanish-Americans, and scholars from all over the world.

However, if the documentaries are not being shown in Spain until now is because the national television of Spain, RTVE and its channels, did not have budget for cultural broadcasting and acquisitions since 2010, which mirrors the actual dramatic situation of Spanish economy and culture. For further information, the head of documentary acquisitions at RTVE during those years, Noemí de Cabo, can state the actual situation, as we can demonstrate it with the exchanged emails with that department at RTVE.

The most important pictures of Little Spain

Among the 200 pictures acquired by the project we can found the most illustrative old photographs: those that show the activities of Spanish immigrants in the streets of Little Spain during the 20th Century.

Those pictures, protected by Copyright, will only be displayed in our films.