Q&A with Valérie Delpierre, Producer of END OF WAITING TIME

Posted on September 18, 2009

Beyond the Box Blog recently interviewed Valérie Delpierre, producer of END OF WAITING TIME, airing Sunday, September 20 at 10:00 PM on Global Voices on PBS WORLD (check local listings). The film looks at the long dictatorship of Spanish General Francisco Franco during which hundreds of people were arrested, executed or disappeared. Learn more about her interest in the topic, how audiences have been reacting to the film and more.

What has the reaction to the film been like? 
Valérie Delpierre: In general, the reaction has been great. It’s strange because this documentary is being released at a time when people in Spain are very interested in this subject. Media outlets and TV programs had started to think that there was too much information on this, but the public is still reacting really well to everything that comes out about the civil war and Franco’s dictatorship. Every time a movie or a book comes out about these themes, people respond and that’s been the case with our documentary, too. At the international level the response has also been positive. Many people are surprised to see not only how cruel this period was but also to discover that until recently no one could touch this subject. It’s an open window to the most recent history in Spain, seen from the inside. 

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film? 
VD: For me it’s been all about sticking with it. It was difficult to not lose concentration during all these months of work. It was not a continuous job, but we have been working together on this documentary for more than three years. Also, as a producer it was important never to lose sight of the main argument and the objectives that we had set out to achieve. We’ve been lucky because all of our collaborators and broadcast partners that joined this project really respected the work of the filmmakers. One of my greatest fears was that by having two directors, they would not be able to agree––but the truth is that they found an equilibrium and treated each other with a lot of respect.

Why do you think it’s important for a U.S. audience to see this film? 
VD: I think that for an American audience it’s interesting to see a more realistic and above all accurate version of what happened and what is still happening in Spain with the recovery of historical memory. Perhaps a U.S. audience, like the European audience, has a somewhat romantic vision of what the civil war was like. What’s more, many times the events of the Second World War tend to obscure this whole period in Spain, and it’s good to see how what happened more than half a century ago still affects how Spaniards behave, consciously or unconsciously. It’s even difficult for me to understand the reactions of these two generations marked by fear and the absolute lack of freedom of opinion. They have had to choose one side or the other without any space for their own reflection or free thought. The survivors and their children have never had the opportunity to freely elaborate their own experience and that is what makes one grow as an individual. At least two generations have been deprived of that.

If you weren’t a producer, what kind of work do you think you’d be doing? 
VD: One thing that I have no doubts about is that despite how difficult it is to be a producer, it’s something that I really enjoy. Sometimes it’s very hard to struggle with different interests, above all in the documentary field or independent film. But I’m passionate about it. The truth is that if I weren’t a producer, maybe I would have opted for a completely different life. I would have had a house in the country where I would work to make sure people are enjoying themselves while they rest, cook and organize workshops...but I think that would be too bucolic. The truth is that I would have really liked to teach children, but I don’t know if I would have been a good teacher. So for now, I’ll just settle for being a good mother! 

Can you elaborate on where you come from? Where were you born, what led you to study at the Sorbonne, and how you’ve landed in Barcelona? 
VD: I was studying in Nice, France and I really wanted to know Paris, so where better than the Sorbonne to study in the capital? Then, thanks to an exchange program for students called ERASMUS, I went to study for my last year of college in Madrid. After spending only 9 months in Spain, it wasn’t enough for me. So I looked for a job to be able to stay longer. First I was a French teacher, but I soon began to work for production companies as a production assistant on TV programs. One day they offered me a job in Barcelona for a film production company as a development coordinator, and I didn’t hesitate. I moved, and I’ve been here for 10 years now. After working for several companies, I decided to branch out and start my own company. I created Inicia Films three years ago, and since then, I’ve always been searching for new projects that move me and are feasible.


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