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Directors of Netflix Catalonia documentary return award

The directors of Netflix documentary “Two Catalonias” said Tuesday they had returned a German award because the involvement of Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont in the ceremony had “politicised” the “neutral” spirit of their work.

Alvaro Longoria, who made the film about the crisis sparked by Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid along with Gerardo Olivares, picked up the Cinema for Peace Foundation award from Puigdemont’s hands in Berlin on Monday night.

As well as handing out the prize for “cinema for peace and justice”, Puigdemont delivered a speech against a trial which began Tuesday in Madrid of 12 Catalan separatist leaders over the secession bid.

He also appeared on stage as a German soprano sang “Don’t Cry For Me, Catalonia” — a version of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” from the hit musical “Evita”.

“We returned the prize this morning. It became a political rally which we did not want to take part in,” Longoria told AFP by telephone from Berlin.

“We felt it did not represent the spirit of the documentary, which is neutral, and that it failed our professional ethics. We do not want to be a tool of information manipulation,” he added.

Longoria said he only decided to attend the ceremony after organisers promised the event would not be “politicised” and that Puigdemont would only hand out the award.

Olivares, the documentary’s other director, declined to attend the ceremony after he learnt Puigdemont would be present.

Puigdemont, who fled Spain days after Catalonia’s failed independence declaration on October 27, 2017, is not among the 12 defendants in the dock over the secession bid. Spain does not try suspects in absentia for major offences.