Sunday, March 15, 2009

"People of the Rock"

I have finally given this film a title: "People of the Rock."

The next draft of the the film might not come until late April, as I'm trying to finish up my BA degree here at BYU, but it remains on the high-priority list.

Update (5-31-09): I am considering a byline: "People of the Rock: The Llanitos of Gibraltar." Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Ernest Falquero, a Gibraltarian who found the film's blog a few weeks ago, has already posted a review of the film!

He had a lot to say. In general, he wanted to see interviews from a few more politicians, but otherwise calls it "a very well researched and explained documentary about our homeland!" In my book, that's a success, if the people the film is about feel that it represents them well.

Several Gibraltarians have asked me about my motives in making this film, and have asked why I didn't represent a wider political spectrum (namely, I left out the GSD and Peter Caruana). Let me address those two issues individually, though they are related.

Why Gibraltar?
I visited Gibraltar in March 2001, while a missionary in Andalucía for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was only there for the afternoon, but it was long enough to hear a lot of Llanito/Yanito in the streets.

Fascinated by it, I looked into it more when I got back to the USA after those two years.
At that point, very little had been published about Llanito, so I started planning to go over again, this time to study the language and culture.

Meanwhile, a few scholars published some very interesting studies involving language in Gibraltar. I began to pursue an undergraduate education in Linguistics, and
found myself better prepared to understand the sociolinguistic situation in Gibraltar as each semester passed.

Brigham Young University has an option to graduate with an Honors distinction, which requires a number of things, including a final Thesis. While most write papers, I decided to make this film.

Political Representation
Given the fact that I went to Gibraltar planning to interview experts on language and culture, I never planned to include much (if any) political dialogue in the film. I quickly learned that politics and culture are impossible to separate in Gibraltar, so some history and political discussion emerged as a result.

I asked Garcia and Bossano to participate because of their cultural works: Garcia's book, Gibraltar: The Making of a People..., was what I looked at and what led me to request an interview with him. In fact, I was confused about Joseph/Joe Garcia Sr/Jr, and didn't know that the politician and the author were the same Garca. (I had thought that Panorama's editor was the politician.)

Joe Bossano's education was in Linguistics, and his expertise in Italian was an interesting angle for me in terms of discussing Llanito. Of course, I knew about his political career, but I don't know if I would have asked for an interview if he had still been the Chief Minister. Our conversation was mostly historical and cultural, but you can't keep a politician from speaking about politics.

Another politically-slanted interview was with Dennis Beiso, who I approached because of a presentation he gave about Gibraltarian identity at John Mackintosh Hall in October 2006. Again, I was surprised at how political the conversation became, but it seems that a divorce between language, culture and politics in Gibraltar might lead to unnecessary simplifications.

Perhaps I should find ways to remove partisan elements that are causing viewers to feel that the film lacks representation from other political ideologies. I wonder, though, if viewers can't help but think of political platforms when they see Garcia and Bossano. Regardless, I would have loved to have interviewed Caruana or Azopardi. When I was in Gib, however, I certainly wasn't focusing on politics, so that side of the narrative ended up a bit thin.

If I had any semblance of a budget, I would have also interviewed some influential MPs in England, such as Jack Straw or Andrew Rosindell (he is especially interesting in terms of his involvement with EU trade theory and how that relates to the border between Gibraltar and Spain). The mayor of La Línea would also be a good person to approach, but I don't think that this film reaches to a level that would attract the King of Spain or the Queen of England, as has been suggested (though that would be a lot of fun).

I hope that answers some of the questions floating around, and I'm sure that I'll be asked more questions yet! Thanks for watching.