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'It became a political rally': Catalonia documentary directors return German award

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'It became a political rally': Catalonia documentary directors return German award
Veronika "Nika" Nikulshina from Pussy Riot with Pyotr Verzilov and Carles Puigdemont, Catalan separatist leader, on stage at the Cinema for Peace Gala in Berlin. Photo: DPA
08:36 CET+01:00
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 "politicized" 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.

SEE ALSO: The Puigdemont files: What you need to know about the case

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.

SEE ALSO: Hundreds rally in Berlin calling for Puigdemont's release

"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 organizers promised the event would not be "politicized" 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 27th, 2017, is not among the 12 defendants in the dock over the secession bid. Spain does not try suspects in absentia for major offences.

The Cinema for Peace gala was attended by hundreds of guests, including British singer Bob Geldof, acting legend Catherine Deneuve and Free Democrats (FDP) leader Christian Lindner.

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Dani - 13 Feb 2019 13:01
Is amhránaí Éireannach é Bob Geldod!
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