2016/17 King Juan Carlos I Chair in Spanish Culture And Civilization

Montserrat Armengou

Image from Montserrat Armengou

Montse Armengou Martín joins NYU as the King Juan Carlos Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization for Spring 2017. Armengou is a distinguished Spanish journalist and investigative documentary filmmaker. She has worked at Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) since 1985.

Through her work as a documentary filmmaker, Armengou has unearthed and presented new evidence about the social history of repression in Spain during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1936-1975) in Spain. She is the co-director, with Ricard Belis of Los niños perdidos del franquismo (Franco’s Forgotten Children, 2002), Les fosses del silenci (Graves of Silence, 2003), and El convoy de los 927 (927 on the Train to Hell, 2004, about the Spanish victims of the Holocaust). More recently, she has directed two high-profile documentaries. Abuelo, te sacaré de aquí (2013) chronicles the history of the Valle de los Caídos (the “Valley of the Fallen”), a fascist mausoleum in the middle of Europe honoring dictator Franco and established as a representation of democratic reconciliation. Los internados del miedo (The Institutions of Fear, 2015) investigates and documents the abuse and enslavement of children in state-owned, catholic orphanages during the dictatorship and part of the democratic transition.

Armengou’s documentaries have received numerous awards, including Premio Nacional de Cultura de Catalunya; Grand Prix FIGRA (France); Best Director, Human Rights Film Festival, Barcelona, 2003; Prix Liberpress (Radio France International, Paris); Bronze Medal, New York Film Festival; Prix International du Documentaire et du Reportage Méditerranéen; Best Use of Archival Footage, Memorimage; First Prize, IFTA; and First Prize, Catalan Women’s Association.

Armengou’s documentary work has also been published in book form and has become a resource for human rights agencies and activists. Her work has been used, cited, and discussed by several United Nations units, including the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, and the Working Group on Forced Disappearances.

During her tenure as the Spring 2017 King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair, she will offer public lectures in English and a series of roundtables themed around her work. She will also teach a graduate seminar entitled Documentary and the Recovery of Historical Memory.