My latest work project turned out to be a great personal and professional experience. I joined a Welsh TV production company -Unigryw- during their week long, 2000 kilometre, trip. We travelled around several key places to do with the history of the Spanish War in order to film a documentary which will be broadcast by the Welsh language TV channel S4C. We, myself, Catrin Davies, Dylan Iorwerth, and Aled Jenkins retraced the footsteps of three Welsh women who were involved in the War.
Fifi Roberts became entangled in the War by coming into Bilbao as she was on the boat that broke the blockade – the Seven Seas Spray – which her father captained. The other two were nurses: Margaret Powell and Thora Craig and their stories are heroic and dramatic. They were born in the, then, staunchly left wing communities of South Wales and were determined to help the Republican cause in Spain and therefore joined the medical services in 1936. Working in a small mobile medical unit, and using the few medical tools they could carry with them, they supported the soldiers near the battlefronts as the two sides fiercely fought each other.
My job consisted of sorting out many parts of the trip, mostly covering technical and journalistic needs. The job is called a ‘fixer’ by TV crews. A fixer needs to foresee what could be useful for a crew as well as to procure what the production team have specifically asked for, including organizing sessions with interviewees, arranging opportunities in specific places and getting props for various sequences and interviews. I organized, together with Unigryw, dozens of interviews, locations, archive enquiries, translations from Spanish to English as well as sorting out batteries, sandwiches, tapas, driving routes and where to eat at night … a big variety of tasks but all essential to the making of a documentary.
The 48 minute documentary will be broadcast in July to commemorate 80 years since the break out of the war. It’s part of the Dylan ar Daith series – and, hopefully, will the richest audiovisual experience possible.