Masterclass with Clara Lopez Rubio & Juan Pancorbo | Chasing Garzón & Assange

Clara Lopez Rubio and Juan Pancorbo, directors of Hacking Justice, the film that opens Homage to Catalonia 2017 will give a masterclass earlier on Wednesday at @Edinburgh College of Art – Film and TV Room. Clara and Juan will share with Scottish audiences the process of making their first documentary film in challenging environment involving mass espionage, communication interception and whistle-blowers.

This is a Free ticketed masterclass, please secure your space by confirming your attendance here


“Mistakes are a fundamental part of the beginnings and crucial for the learning process of becoming a filmmaker. In this class we will tell you the adventure of making our film “Hacking Justice (Garzón / Assange)” and how mistakes can be turned into hits. You may say it was beginners luck, but we think the art of documentary is strong related to the art of life: dealing with obstacles, unexpected events, and giving up the desire to have everything under control.”


When we started this project, we would not have believed we would be working on it for five years. We knew that there was a story to tell behind Judge Garzón becoming the lawyer of the most famous hacker in the world, but we didn’t know the details of the case, the protagonists’ motivations, the underlying conflict or where this trip would take us. We were familiar with the world of human rights and universal jurisdiction thanks to our personal trajectory. But the topic of mass espionage, communication interception and whistle-blowers was an unknown field to us.

In addition to our ignorance, we faced other difficulties: a film about lawyers, those people who spend their days in meeting or typing up memorandums on a computer? And to top it off, an open case where the already cautious lawyers would further control their words to avoid influencing the process… Indeed, the confidentiality requirements gave us many headaches. But fortunately, the reality of Baltasar Garzón’s daily work was fascinating… and not at all routine.

Making this documentary has made it clear to us that there is a fight to control information in a world in which technology has transformed the classic balance of power; there are citizens who want to maintain their private sphere while at the same time demanding more transparency from institutions; and Julian Assange is not, as he is often presented, an isolated case, a crazed lone wolf devoted to a personal crusade, but instead a prominent representative of a much more structured and extensive movement.

Earning Julian Assange’s trust was not easy. We were novice directors, unknown, with no filmography to our names. It took nearly three years to get him to sit down and talk with us on camera at the embassy. There, he told us that when those in control make an effort to hide a piece of information, that’s the clearest sign that the information is necessary for the public. “When they hide it from people,” he said, “it’s because they know that if it’s published, it could change things. And that is the information I’m looking for.” In spite of our initial nerves, a relaxed atmosphere was soon created between us in which the conversation flowed for hours.

In this dispute between individuals and small organizations versus governments and big business described in the film, the whistle-blowers play an essential role. Bringing abuses of power to light has a high price: all types of threats, losing jobs, never-ending legal procedures that lead to financial ruin, years in prison, exile or a life in hiding.

The anonymous leak platforms that have arisen in other mediums after WikiLeaks’ pioneer proposal are one of the few instruments whistle-blowers have to make complaints with certain guaranteed safety, because nearly every country lacks laws that protect those who reveal information of public interest guided by their conscience.

That is why it is so important that there are lawyers working in our societies to increase the space for freedom of information, that there are platforms like “Courage Foundation” which support those who take the step to put themselves at risk to tell us the truth.

This documentary strives to pay homage to all of them.

Clara López Rubio is a film historian

with a degree in Directing from the German

Film and Television Academy Berlin.

Her publications include the book “Sueños de

aviación y tierra de España” about film based

on the Spanish Civil War.

Juan Pancorbo studied Journalism at

the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and

Film Directing at the German Film and

Television Academy Berlin. He is currently

working for DW, the international German


This masterclass is part of Homage to Catalonia, a week long celebration of Catalan Films in Scotland, organised by Cinemaattic (27 SEPT – 1 OCT). More talks, panels, poetry recitals, documentary films and special events can be checked via this link

This event and the UK premiere of Hacking Justice is specially presented with the support of The Goethe Institut Glasgow.

Homage to Catalonia is an event supported by Institut Ramon LlullCentre Catala d’Escociaskinny magGoethe Institut and Estrella Damm.

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