Euskal Herria, A Filmic Exploration of Basque Identity
Anna Bruning, a communication major, Spanish minor, and Honors student, traveled to Spain in 2008 with funding from the International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) to study the Basques and the Spaniards. She sought to observe daily life, exploring what the two cultures hold in common and what makes them unique, outside of their longstanding political conflict. “People often get so caught up in the political conflict that they forget to see the people behind it,” Bruning said.
Through interviews captured on film, her goal was to discover how the two cultures interact and influence each other, and how these dynamics have changed through generations. “I will observe [the two cultures] separately, but by editing them into the same documentary film I will create a point of view that demonstrates the major similarities and differences between the two,” she explained prior to her departure.
As an independent researcher, Anna wore many hats: camera operator, interviewer, observer, and editor. She conducted all of her interviews in Spanish, enlisting the help of a local Basque student to translate the native Basque language, Euskadi. The end of her research period and several months thereafter were spent organizing and editing video footage into a thirty-minute documentary film with English subtitles that she hopes will “help me and others learn more about these two interesting societies and provide context for us to better understand contemporary cross-cultural events in Spain.”
In pursuing this research project, Anna brought with her a strong command of the Spanish language and experience making documentaries, including an internship last summer with Ken Burns’ production company, Florentine Films. Her UNH mentors were Jaume Marti-Olivella and James Tucker; her foreign mentor was Javier Sánchez Zapatero.