Spanish Civil War Collection: Laya Films Collection

In October 1936, after the military uprising that led to the Spanish Civil War had been stifled, the Republican Government of Catalonia set up a Commissariat for Propaganda. Directed by Jaume Miravitlles, it was an independent body whose objective was to cover both educational and propagandist institutional activities.

A Film Section was created within the Commissariat in November 1936, which was christened Laya Films. It specialised in producing and distributing films under the Catalònia Films brand. The section was managed by Joan Castanyer and within two years it had produced around a hundred newsreels and documentaries, many in collaboration with Popular Films, the Communist Party’s production arm, to challenge the anarchist monopoly through the Performers’ Union. Unfortunately, these materials reached us in a very fragmented state and only a few specific examples have managed to survive in the same condition they were exhibited in during the Spanish Civil War.

The collection includes newsreels and documentaries produced and/or distributed by Laya Films. These films are part of the Catalan Cinema Collection, but they have been given their own status as a collection due to their enormous historical importance.