Three documentaries to illuminate 80 years of conflict in the Basque Country
The Democratic Hypothesis will chronicle the poorly known history of the Basque Conflict, from its sources (the fight against fascism and the Franco regime), to the unilateral and definitive disarmament of the Euskadi ta Askatasuna (“Basque Country and Freedom") more commonly known under its acronym ETA on May 3, 2018.
For more than two and a half years, a film team has been collecting interviews and archival footage to assemble here for the first time the leading Basque and international actors and observers; with the aim of telling from the inside story of the conflict.
The Democratic Hypothesis or the epic tale of a population which managed to take agency of their own destiny, after Spain and France turned their backs on the peace process.
A documentary feature film
This is the first time that an international film will tell the story of the Basque Conflict.
The Democratic Hypothesis chronicles the history of the last and longest conflict in Western Europe, from the Spanish civil war up to the dissolution of the ETA by its own members.
By giving voice to actors, witnesses, victims and analysts on the front line, the film leads us to discover how, in a conflict of 80-year conflict, the Basque people has forged an unchartered path and act for its own destiny.
The moment is decisive: the shift from a military situation to a strictly political situation, a new page is being written for the Basque Country.
We want to document the whole complexity of this historical even so that the experience of what has been lived, felt and invented in this territory can be accessible to the general public.
While the Basque Country is a modestly sized country on a global scale, the political, social and cultural actions of this territory has, among other things, allowed the unilateral exit of an armed conflict that it has endured for the last eight decades. This totally unprecedented move, (and despite the opposing the will of the neighboring States) opens up radically new perspectives for countless clashes and war zones around the world.
Such a democratic hypothesis, it is this unique experience for human modernity that we wish to highlight: that of a people who, by experimenting with "being in the world" at the heart of a political conflict, forge their own path.
A Web Platform
This web platform will provide a source of heritage and education. It will be complementary to and expand on the feature film, providing free access to all the interviews (more than 70) in their entirety - at this same address lhypothesedemocratique.org. This platform has a dual purpose. First, by allowing a navigation by contributor, date, or theme (with access in several languages: French, Basque, Spanish and English); it will be a new resource for all those who wish to better understand the history of this territory and its challenges. But also, and perhaps above all, this platform will be an archive for these stories and audiovisual testimonies of those who have had little or no media coverage for all these years. The ensemble will form a unique choral history, and will be available to all, from a perspective of intergenerational transmission as well as socio-political and historical analysis or research in the strictest sense.
A Documentary for International Television
A short format version (52 minutes) will focus on the contemporary history and the end of the armed conflict (2005-2019). It will be broadcast in France as well as by different international channels.
How you can help? How you can support us?
Make a contribution:
On line (secure payment via Paypal);
Via check (check made in the order of « L’Hypothèse Démocratique - Sister Prod » to be sent to: Sister Productions, 10, rue d’Enghien, F-75010 Paris);
Pre-order the DVD of the film, for you, or for your friends and contacts!
On line (secure payment via Paypal);
Via check (check made in the order of « L’Hypothèse Démocratique - Sister Prod » to be sent to: Sister Productions, 10, rue d'Enghien, F-75010 Paris. Please mention the name and address of the person to whom dvd should be sent);
Share the project and our fundraising campaign on your social media and spread the word!
At this date, all the interviews have been filmed, more than two years of work and more than 250 hours of talks, testimonies, reflections and materials to foment this project whose editing has already begun. While we have received a little support for the TV movie, the feature film and the web platform have yet to receive any public grants. In order to finance and finalize the feature film (editing, mixing, calibration, releasing the movie in cinemas, DVD) and the web platform (editing long and exhaustive versions of each interview, architecture and graphics of the site) and to ensure that this project may see the light, we are launching this public appeal to you.
South African lawyer, key in conflict resolution in SA and Northern Ireland
Honorary Secretary General of Interpol, chairman of the Irish independence party Sinn Fein
Historical leader of Sinn Fein
Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during Tony Blair’s term
Politician, former advisor to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and member of the international contact group for the Basque Country
Assessor of the Colombian National Liberation Army
Resistance and liberation movement specialist, director of research program in conflict transformation at the Berghof Foundation in Berlin (a foundation focused on supporting civil society in conflict resolution)
President of Sinn Féin
Member of Conciliation Resources, specialist in conflict transformation
Hamdan Al Damiri
Activist of the Palestinian left, current coordinator of the Palestinian community in Belgium and Luxembourg and member of the European Alliance to support Palestinian prisoners
Koffi Annan (archival footage)
Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations
Current spokesperson of EHBILDU (Euskal Herria Bildu for “Bring together the Basque Country”, coalition of political parties abertzale in Hegoalde-South-Basque Country)
President of the Basque Socialist Party (PSE-EE)
Mayor of Bayonne (UDI) and president of the agglomeration Community of the Basque Country
Deputy and Senator (PNV) in Madrid
Spokesperson of EH Bai (Euskal Herria Bai, in English "yes in the Basque Country", coalition of abertzale’s political parties in Iparralde - North Basque Country)
Senator of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (The Republicans)
Lawyer, coordinator general of Sortu
Deputy (2012-2017) of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (PS)
Mayor of Errenteria
First Secretary in the Basque parliament (PNV)
Member of the management of Sortu
Minister of Justice of France (2012-2016)
Minister (Socialist Party) of the Interior and Defense of France (1984-1993), he takes part in the International Conference for the peace of Aiete
Mariano Rajoy (archival footage)
President (popular Party) of the Spanish government (2011-2018)
Manuel Valls (archival footage)
French prime minister and minister of the Interior (Socialist Party)
Bruno Le Roux (archival footage)
Minister of the Interior (Socialist Party)
Militant, victim of torture by the Guardia Civil
Widow of Joseba Goikoetxea, sergeant major of the Ertzaintza (Police of the Basque autonomous Community), killed by ETA in 1993
Lawyer, daughter of Javier Galdeano (photographer), killed by the LAG in 1985
A historical militant, arrested and tortured in Spain in the seventies, she is the companion of Alfonso Etxegarai, deported to Sao Tome since 1985
Robert Menrique (archival footage)
Injured during ETA attack against the Hipercor box store in Barcelona in 1987
Axun Lasa (archival footage)
Sister of Basque refugee Joxean Lasa kidnapped and murdered by the LAG in Bayonne in 1983
Editor-in-chief of the Basque daily, Euskaldunon Egunkaria, banned in 2003. He will be arrested and tortured in 2004. Current director of the Berria newspaper
The trade unionists
Assistant secretary general of the Basque Trade Union ELA
Former Secretary General of the Basque union LAB, as such, he participated in the Lizarra-Garazi agreements in 1998. He was in charge of the strategic orientation of Sortu
Last ETA spokesperson
Incarcerated at the time of filming, he was released on April 18, 2019
Antton, Eugenio Etxebeste
Historical member of ETA, responsible for the Algier’s talks in 1989
Lawyer and founder of ETA
Peixoto, José Manuel Pagoaga
Historical member of ETA, he participated in the Chiberta talks in 1977
Itziar Aizpurua Egaña
Historical leader of Herri Batasuna, sentenced during the Burgos trial
Historical activist, judged at the Burgos trial
Historical member of Iparretarrak, prisoner for 17 years
Jose Antonio Lopez Ruiz
Spokesperson of the Basque Political Prisoners Collective (EPPK)
Commissioner responsible for the anti-terrorist unit of the judicial police of Bayonne
Josu Urrutikoetxea (archival footage)
Historical member of ETA
Currently in hiding
José Amedo Foucé (archival footage)
One of the leaders of the Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups (LAG) and former deputy commissioner in Bilbao
José Luis Espinosa Pardo (archival footage)
Mercenary and double agent in the service of the Spanish government
The social movers
President of the civil’s movement Bake Bidea Association for peace in the Basque Country
Founder of Lokarri, a citizen network for peace in the Basque Country
Jean Noël (Txetx) Etcheverry
Artisan of peace, founder of Bizi and Alternatiba
Artisan of Peace, retired breeder, founder of the Chamber of alternative agriculture of the Basque Country
Historian, member of the Iratzar Foundation
Abertzale activist, who housed two members of ETA (Inaki Reta and Xabier Goienetxea) responsible for the sealing of the organization's weapons depots, arrested at her home on July 7, 2015
Spokesperson for the Goldatu platform fighting for the rights of the victims of the Franco dictatorship
Pello Rudio Urbieta
Farmer, owner of the farm Txillarre
Spokesperson of Aitzina (youth organization abertzale)
Honorary President of the League of Human Rights
Son of a prisoner
Pedro Meca (archival footage)
Francisco Etxeberria Gabilondo
Medical examiner and director of the Basque Institute of criminology and general medecine
Josu Chueca Intxusta
Historian, professor at the University of Euskadi
Writer and journalist, President of the Euskal Memoria Foundation
Lawyer, professor of public law at the University of Pau and Pays de l'Adour, specialist in peace processes and democratic transitions and transitional justice
Politician, professor at Sciences Po, member of the Commission of Jurists and Academics for the peace process in the Basque Country
The Magistrates and Lawyers
Magistrate and expert of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and former advisor for Matignon and the Elysée
Magistrate, President of the Court of Appeal of Versailles, member of the Commission of Jurists and Academics for the peace process in the Basque Country
Magistrate, member and chairman of the UN Committee on economic, social and cultural rights, advisor to the Court of cassation, judge at the permanent peoples Court, member of the sponsorship committee of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine
Attorney at the Bayonne Bar, advisor to several Basque prisoners and member of the Committee of Jurists for Peace in the Basque Country
Former president, lawyer at the bar of Pau, he defends two of the peacemakers
And many others…
« After having completed a short film on the disarmament and following many meetings in this territory, all more important than the others, I wanted to give the floor to all these people to propose the choral and sensitive story of the last and oldest conflict in Europe: the Basque conflict ... a much stigmatized one and yet so poorly understood. At the heart of this project, there is the dual emphasis of a political struggle of a people and an unprecedented gesture for humanity: the unilateral exit of an armed conflict despite the will of the states. This event, which ignores the centrality of states, opens up radically new perspectives for the world and its countless war zones and confrontations. »
Thomas Lacoste was born in Bordeaux in 1972. He is a filmmaker, publisher and essayist. Primarily a publisher, he is the director and founder of the international review of critical thought Le Passant Ordinaire (1994, www.passant-ordinaire.org), Editions du Passant (1997), the transdisciplinary festival of contemporary creations RIO (International Encounters of the Ordinary - Cinemas, Literatures & Humanities - 1999), The Other Campaign / L'Autre campagne (2006, www.lautrecampagne.labandepassante.org), and the International Network of Critical Thoughts, Alternative Practices and Contemporary Creations, La Bande Passante (2009, www.labandepassante.org).
He made the film blog Portraits of Ideas/ Portraits d’idées about the French presidential campaign of 2007 for the newspaper Libération (http://autrecampagne.blogs.liberation.fr).
For 25 years, he has been advocating for interconnection between disparate disciplines and schools of critical thought and contemporary creation throughout the world.
As a filmmaker, he has directed more than a hundred self-produced films and interviews. In 2012, the body of his work was the subject of a DVD set (Éditions Montparnasse), Critical Thought, An Ethical and Political Survival Kit for Crisis Situations, encompassing 47 of his filmed interviews at and a retrospective of its cinema-borders at the cinema Reflet Médicis (Paris).
His film Our World, released in French cinemas on March 13, 2013 to great success, presents an analysis of contemporary society, its dysfunctions as well as possible alternatives. The showings of the film were accompanied by over 130 public debates in presence of the filmmaker.
Parallel to the development of The Democratic Hypothesis, he has just made a short film Peace Now, A Popular Imperative / La Paix Maintenant, une exigence populaire (23', La Bande Passante) on the process of disarmament in the Basque Country.
Today, he is working on the development of two documentary series: Spinoza Revolution on the influence of the work of the philosopher from the seventeenth century to the present day; the other on a history of popular uprisings from the Renaissance to the present day. He has just completed the writing of his next feature film, The Forest of Signs.
His last published book (edited by Georges Debrégeas): The Other Campaign, 80 proposals For Immediate Debate / L'Autre campagne preface by Lucie and Raymond Aubrac (La Découverte).
Filmography (non exhaustive)
2018 Repairing Injustice / Réparer l’injustice (a documentary series and a choral feature film on the rehabilitation of miners strikers of 1948 - first quarter release 2019, Varenne University Institute, Bandwidth - LBP)
2017 Peace Now, A Popular Imperative / La Paix Maintenant, une exigence populaire (23’, LBP)
2013 Our World / Notre Monde (120’, Agat films, LBP, Sister productions)
2012 Critical Thought, An Ethical and Political Survival Kit for Crisis Situations / Penser critique, Kit de survie éthique et politique pour situations de crise(s), 47 filmed interviews in a DVD set (1440’, Éditions Montparnasse)
2011 Ulysses Undercover / Ulysse clandestin, ou les dérives identitaires (93’, LBP), There Were Peoples who Fell From on High / Il fut des peuples libres qui tombèrent de plus haut (17’, LBP), Borders / Frontières, 20 films in a DVD set (LBP)
2009 The Bad Days Will End / Les mauvais jours finiront (126’, LBP), Justice / Justice, 20 films in a DVD set (LBP)
2008 Secure Detention, an Infinite Sentence / Rétention de sûreté, une peine infinie (68’, LBP)
2007 The Big Night of Universities / Universités, le grand soir (68’, LBP), Refutations / Réfutations (68’, LBP)
« We have been working closely with Thomas Lacoste for more than two years. What attracts us above all is his proposition: to examine the Basque people, their history, their wrenching from their condition; not as a vicissitude of history, a mere anomaly, but as a political situation worthy of the attention of a broader audience, in France and internationally. It is also to give a new light on a part of the history of Spain, France and, more broadly, of Europe, by returning the dominant points of view. »
Founded in 2012, Prima Luce is a production company based in Bordeaux and Marseille, France. Our editorial line is defined by the desire to tell about the movements and changes happening throughout the world, and to always offer our viewers a diversity of perspectives and formats.
AYA by Mou da Fedhila (Clermont Ferrand FF, Flickerfest, Durban IFF, Busan IFF, Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, Musqat IFF)
LA VIE ADULTE by Jean-Baptiste Mees (Filmer le travail Poitiers, Rencontres Film en Bretagne, Images de Ville Aix-en-Provence, ...)
CHAKARAKA by Sylvain Mavel & Eric Cron (Global Film Festival Berlin, Traces de vie Clermont Ferrand, Regards sur les cinémas du monde Paris, ...)
TERRA DI NESSUNO by Jean Boiron-Lajous (FID Marseille, Moscow International Film Festival, Human Rights Festivals Bogota, Ceme Doc Mexico, ...)
In 2011, after having worked for 10 years at Orange in NYC and Paris and for the organization of several World Social Forums, Julie Paratian creates SISTER Productions (an anagram of Resist) with an international, feminist and engaged approach.
SISTER productions produced around twenty films noticed in major festivals including INTO BATTLE by Ève Duchemin – Magritte for the Best Documentary, THE CHALLAT OF TUNIS by Kaouther Ben Hania (Acid Cannes 2015), SOUTH TO NORTH by Antoine Boutet (Locarno 2015) and DEMONS IN PARADISE by Jude Ratnam (Cannes Official Selection 2017).
In 2019, the company produced Nikos Lâbot’s first feature film, HER JOB (Toronto 2018), released in May in France. The company is producing Nora Martirosyan’s first feature film, BLACK GARDEN BLUE SKIES, Benoît Rossel’s TV documentary, GLOBAL DIABETE, and THE DEMOCRATIC HYPOTESIS by Thomas Lacoste.
Gastibeltza Filmak (Iparralde)
Founded in 2018, Gastibeltza Filmak is a production company based in St-Pée-sur-Nivelle, in the Basque Country. Our goal is to participate in the development and promotion of the Basque Cinema, with the ambition to become a link in the economic and artistic chain.
We work for the promotion of the Basque cinema, by the invention of a model adapted to its space. We are convinced of the need to highlight the specificity and value of films shot in the Basque language in the current cinematographic landscape, so that they find their place in the European film industry.
NO by Ximun Fuchs and Eñaut Castagnet, feature film THE DEMOCRATIC HYPOTHESIS by Thomas Lacoste, feature documentary GURE OROITZAPENAK, collaborative work, feature film JAINKOAK EZ DIT BARKATZEN by Josu Martinez, feature documentary ANTI by Josu Martinez, short feature film
Irusoin is a production company of fiction, documentary and animation films founded in 1982. Its productions have received numerous awards: Goya for the best animated feature film for LA ISLA DEL CANGREJO (2001), 10 Goya for HANDIA (2017) ), and have participated in several festivals: San Sebastián, London, Palm Springs, Tokyo, Karlovy Vary, Zurich, etc.
In 2019, they will present two new productions, LA TRINCHERA INFINITA and AGUR ETXEBESTE!
La Bande Passante
La Bande Passante is an international network of critical thoughts, alternative practices and contemporary creations founded in 2009 by Thomas Lacoste. La Bande Passante participates, among other things, in the production and distribution of his cinematographic works.
2013 Our World (120’, coproduced with Agat films and Sister productions)
2017 Peace Now, A Popular Imperative (23’, short film on the process of disarmament in the Basque Country in parallel to the development of The Democratic Hypothesis)
2018 Repairing Injustice (documentary series and choral feature film on the rehabilitation of miners strikers of 1948 - first quarter release 2019, coproduced with Varenne University Institute)
Anaiz Aguirre Olhagaray, Anne Fassin & Joana Duhalde
Prima Luce & Sister Productions
Gastibeltza Filmak & Irusoin
François Froget, Kriztof Ayez, Catherine Georges, Xabi Hiriart, Peio Duhalde & Romain Marcel
Renaud Michel & Jérémie Garat
Anaïs de Courson
Justine Moreau, Anaiz Aguirre Olhagaray & Manuel Senut
Antton Harignordoquy, Dani & Maite Zelaia Michael Wells, Stéphanie Nouailhetas, Phillip Basterra, Anaiz Aguirre Olhagaray, Katrin Hodapp, Nathalie Jaëck, Margo Compagnie, Jonathan Sly, Antonio Magliano, Yael Vidan, Madeleine Lungu, Joana Pochelu & Maite Zelaia
Joachim Mileschi, Anaiz Aguirre Olhagaray & Tristan Leyri
Clara Borgen & Ezti Larrue
Pierre Pène & Koldo Etxegarai
Su txikian & Omenaldia, by Mursego
Sans titre, by Maika Etxekopar & Bruno Hollemaert
CAT & Docs
Catherine Le Clef
Producers Loïc Legrand & Antonio Magliano
Production assistants Tristan Leyri & Lou Sanchez
Executive Producer Julie Paratian
Production manager Astrig Chandèze-Avakian
Interns Justine Arsène, Pierrick Bodevin, Alice Cabrera, Marcos Garcia, Elodie Jové-Nel, Akvilé Kabasinskaité & Madeleine Lungu
Producers Eñaut Castagnet, Manex Fuchs, Ximun Fuchs, Graxi Irigarai, Josu Martinez & Katti Pochelu
Joana Duhalde & Kriztof Ayez
La Bande Passante
Director Thomas Lacoste
Eric Bonneau, Pierre Cocrelle, Claude Corman, Anaïs de Courson, Simon Gréau, Frédéric Jaëck, Christophe Mileschi, Julie Paratian & Pierre Pène
With the support of
The Film & Audiovisual Book Agency in New Aquitaine The National Film Center The agglomeration community of the Basque Country – Euskal Hirigune Elkargoa TV Channel France 3 Nouvelle-Aquitaine The National Audiovisual Institute Procirep and Angoa Public Senate Nouvelle-Aquitaine region
We thank everyone who contributed in one way or another to the making of The Democratic Hypothesis.
L’Agence de presse Foku, Aranzadi Zientzia Elkartea, l’auberge Etchegoyen, Les Artisans de la Paix – Bakegileak, Bake Bidea, le Bar du Marché, Berghof Foundation, Bizi, le café associatif Mami Txula, le Café des Pyrénées, le centre culturel Niessen, le cinéma l’Atalante, Ekat, Elbira Zipitria zentroa, Eusko Ikaskuntza, la ferme Txillarre, le Festival international du film de Saint-Sébastien (Lau Haizetara Documentary Co-production Forum 2018), le Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels de Biarritz (FIPADOC 2019), la Fondation Iratzar, l’Institut Universitaire Varenne, le Kalostrape Ostatua, Kanaldude, Magnolias Films, la Maison de la Chimie, la Maison de pierre Larraldea, Martin Ugalde Kultur Parkea, le Musée Basque de Bilbao, Musée Basque et de l'histoire de Bayonne, Non-Violence XXI, Petit à Petit Production, le Sinn Féin, la société Sibeo, les sociétés de production Aldudarrak bideo et Irusoin, Sortu & le syndicat LAB.
Éric Alt, José Aguirre, Anaiz Aguirre Olhagaray, Florence Aniotz, Floren Aoiz, Maite Arroitajauregi, Kriztof Ayez, Elena Beloki, Noémie Benayoun, Michel Bergouignan, Magalie Besse, Ihintza Bidart, Lorène Bidaud, Jean-François Blanco, Sylvie Blum, Yann Brolli, François Caillat, Stéphanie Carré, Ximun Carrere, Elsa Chabrol, Antoine Chao, Pierre Cocrelle, Claude & Lucie Corman, Anaïs de Courson, Dominique Dat, Geneviève Daviaud, Cristina & Carlos De Gabriel, Véronique Dudouet, Joana Duhalde, Peio Duhalde, Iñaki Egaña, Ainiz Elgoihen, Monique Elgoihen, la famille Etchegoyen d’Estérençuby, Pascale Etcheto, Koldo Etxegarai, Maika Etxekopar, Anne Fassin, Fanny Ficheux, François Froget, Hélène Franco, Andrei, Manex & Ximun Fuchs, Anaiz Funosas, Jérémie Garat, Thierry Garrel, Catherine Georges, Marguerite Gire, Iñaki Gomez, Simon Gréau, Robert Guédiguian, Fabienne Hanclot, Antton Harignordoquy, Agus Hernan, Mathieu Hild, Xabi Hiriart, Katrin Hodapp, Samuel Holmes, Rebecca Houzel, Frédéric Jaëck, Nathalie Jaëck, Louis Joinet, Jean-François Karpinski, Baruch, Cerise & Peyo Lacoste, Bernard Lacoste, Véronique Lagoarde-Ségot, Claude Lanzmann, Laurence Larre, Ezti Larrue, Sylvie Larroque, Mari Karmen Laskibar, Irina Lubtchansky, Madeleine Lungu, Yvette Madariaga, Alice Mansion, Romain Marcel, Josu Martinez, Jean-Pierre Massias, Aintzina Mazusta, Richard McAuley, Lorna McCaig, Jean-Baptiste Mees, Renaud Michel, Christophe & Joachim Mileschi, Justine Moreau, Pascaline Morincôme, Jean-Paul Mouhica, Mursego, Jeanne Oberson, Monika Olhagaray, Rithy Panh, Iasone Parada, Alice & Jean Paratian, Pierre Pène, Joana Pochelu, Jude Ratnam, Pello Rubio, Jean-Paul Sartre, Arnaud Sauli, Marie-Raphaëlle Tedeschi, Maitena Thicoipe, Txetx, Egoitz Urrutikoetxea, Haize & Laia Urrutikoetxea- Mazusta, Anne-Laure Viaud, Jérôme Vidal, Yaël Vidan, Hugo Volta, Sophie Wahnich, Oihana Zamponi- Galé, Dani & Maite Zelaia & Claudia Zudini.
Diru kanpaina bat euskal gatazkari buruzko film batendako, Mediabask, 3/5/2019
Mendebaldeko Europako gatazka armaturik "luzeena", pantaila handira, Berria, 3/5/2019
Hipotesi demokratikoa : euskal gatazkari buruzko dokumentala sostengatu, Kanaldude, 6/5/2019
«Lanak gatazka baten historia kontatzen du, baina barnetik», Berria, 9/5/2019