“At the end of her most recent trip to [Spain], [Prof. Cate-Arries] asked a local historian and screenwriter, Santiago Moreno, for a copy of a then-unreleased documentary, Three Days in July. The documentary includes interviews with people who experienced the upheaval first-hand or whose loved ones did. If he would send it, she vowed, “My students will do something with it,” meaning a translation into English subtitles.
They’ve kept their promise, finishing a fall 2016 project that maintains an important aspect of William & Mary’s study abroad program at the University of Cádiz. Since the program was established, W&M students have enjoyed a productive collaboration with institutional partners in Cádiz, as well as in Sevilla [Univ. Pablo de Olavide]. W&M students have subtitled three documentaries, and almost half of the student translators have previously studied in Cádiz or Sevilla.
On Nov. 7, in conjunction with the 80th anniversary of the insurgency, Cate-Arries will hand-deliver Three Days in July, to the provincial government of Cádiz, which funded this project and several other initiatives aimed at recovering what she called “lost history.”
“It’s a lovely moment for me as a professor of William & Mary students to take this documentary to the local government that made the film possible, as well as to university affiliates who also worked with William & Mary summer school students over there,” she said. “I’m extremely proud – and grateful – of the work they’ve put in.”
Translating and creating subtitles for Three Days in July was far from easy. From the outset, Cate-Arries’ translation class of 15 students has worked in teams of two. They each estimated they averaged about 40 hours outside of the classroom painstakingly preparing the film in just 30 days.
“Going into it I didn’t necessarily think it was going to be easier than it was, but I don’t think I was ready for the start … stop … start … stop … start … stop,” said Kyle McQuillan ’17. “It was a very tedious process, especially the original transcription, where you have to listen to the same sentence over and over, and transcribing two minutes can take three hours because you’re trying to separate what sounds like one word but is actually four because they dropped every consonant.”
Subtitling the film in English, Cate-Arries said, will give it world-wide exposure it wouldn’t otherwise receive.
“Spanish limits the audience,” she explained. “Two research assistants here at William & Mary — Robert Bohnke ’17 and Michael Le ’15 — did subtitles on a [previous] documentary, and, subsequently, filmmaker Juan León Moriche was able to enter it in a New York human rights film festival. It didn’t win, but organizers liked it enough to include it in a Civil War film festival this fall. That meant the world to the director because he never could have shown his film in the United States.”
During her visit in Spain, Prof. Cate-Arries was interviewed by the local newspaper Diario de Cádiz, and she commented on the experience of working with her undergraduate student in the process of subtitling the film. Especially those who spent a summer in Cádiz with our W&M-sponsored program, it was an extremely valuable and enriching experience: “Estaban muy emocionados y creo que su trabajo va a ser muy valioso para la difusión del documental y de la historia,” she added, proud of her students’ dedication.
These remarks were offered during the public launching event of a new book series of the Universidad de Cádiz, Faro de la memoria. Under the intellectual leadership of Prof. Cate-Arries as General Editor, this new series seeks to offer interdisciplinary and transnational studies of the varied theories and practices of social memory in times of crisis.
N.B. Prof. Cate-Arries is the author of Culturas del exilio español entre las alambradas. Literatura y memoria de los campos de concentración de Francia, 1939-1945 (Barcelona: Anthropos, 2012), a much updated and expanded version of her Spanish Culture Behind Barbed-Wire: Memory and Representation of the French Concentration Camps, 1939-1945 (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2004). The latter was awarded an Honorable Mention for the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize by the Modern Language Association. She has received, among other honors, the Order of the Discoverers from Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society (2013), and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (2007).