Juggling tutorial towards educating children audiovisually in Catalan
An irregular and dispersed supply of titles makes it difficult to achieve linguistic normality in cinema and series
Unlike what happens with books, where the offer in Catalan is wide and abundant, wanting to educate a child in the cinema by watching films (or series) in Catalan means facing a frustrating scavenger hunt. The Generalitat has invested many millions in dubbing titles - subsidising theatrical releases or translating films for broadcast on TV3, the national television channel of Catalonia - which are then unavailable to the user due to the complicated management of audiovisual rights. This is a guide with resources on where, and how, to find children's film content in Catalan.
Telefónica's platform is one of the largest that incorporates at least some subtitles in Catalan, thanks to an agreement with the Generalitat. One of the problems with the streaming services is that not all of them allow searching by available language. In the case of Movistar++, however, it is possible to do so, by writing ʺaudio catalánʺ in the search engine. This week there were about fifteen children's titles, such as Angry Birds 2, Playmobil: La pel·lícula ('Playmobil: The Movie'), or Mascotes 2 ('The Secret Life of Pets 2').
The Mecca of children's cinema has been filled with the acquisitions of Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar... Unfortunately, at the moment there are only three films in Catalan, Frozen 2, Espies disfressats ('Spies in Disguise'), and Soul. The Generalitat signed an agreement to incorporate more titles. Over the years, a score of dubbings into Catalan of films from the Disney factory have been financed with public money.
The presence of Catalan on Netflix is virtually non-existent in terms of children's (or adult, for that matter) programming. One of the only audiovisual productions in Catalan is the manga Sakura, which consists of three seasons.
Jeff Bezos's platform also has some crumbs of the Catalan language, such as the Harry Potter saga films (except for the first one, which is only offered in Spanish, although a Catalan version was also produced at the time).
It is the platform that bets more decisively for the Catalan language. As it is not part of any content giant, its catalogue is more focused on European and independent work. In any case, it has a good range of titles that are perhaps not the most popular among children audiences, but with enough quality to get them hooked, apart from including works which can introduce them to good cinema.
Watching Catalan versions of films usually involves a journey through cinemas far from one's place of residence, at ungodly hours, in the most modest theatres - or a combination of all three. Even so, there are cinemas that regularly offer films in Catalan. In Barcelona, these are the Arenas, Aribau, Girona, Verdi, Verdi Park, Cinesa Diagonal, Diagonal Mar, Som Multiespai, Floridablanca, Yelmo and Zumzeig. In the last year, Texas and Palau Balañá have closed, which were two of the ones that bet more on this language. On the web Cinema en Català you can check which films are available in Catalan. Apart from Barcelona, around fifty other places of the Catalan Countries have at least one cinema where films in Catalan are shown, occasionally or regularly.
The first session on Saturdays and Sundays is dedicated to children, and most of the time it includes content dubbed into Catalan. It is common to find these films, some time later, in the Filmin catalogue.
Although its strong point is series, there is also a small corner of films: eight at the time of this article, with titles such as El Petit Príncep ('Le Petit Prince') or Teresa i Tim ('Teresa eta Galtzagorri').
TV3 a la Carta
In addition to being able to rewatch series and TV movies produced by TV3, the public channel's on-demand service also has 70% of the international films it has broadcasted, usually within a week of offering them. It does so only in a version dubbed into Catalan. To see which ones are available, you can consult the TV3 website. At the time of writing there are four, but with the advantage that they are renewed every week.
In 2006, the totsrucs.cat project was launched, tapping into the image of the main character of the eMule logo, the most popular file exchange programme. One of the dramas for Catalan viewers is that dubbings subsidised by the Generalitat for cinemas and TV3 do not circulate, and are not incorporated either into the majority of versions in physical support -DVD or BluRay- or into the platforms' catalogues.
TotsRucs brings together a number of volunteers who rescue these dubbings, they stick them on original films, and post them on the web. This initiative, they warn, has nothing to do with piracy. The sentence: "This is a preservation project made by, and for, fans" can be read on their website, where one can bump into the otherwise untraceable Catalan version of Star Wars. "It has been created with the intention of serving as criticism and research and is made on a non-profit basis. It falls under the copyright law from 1976. To obtain this version, you must have purchased at least one of the original versions of the film in question. Please respect the copyright and buy a copy if you have not already done so".