The 2013 production The Fuentidueña Apse: A Journey from Castile to New York was screened in Spain on November 27 as part of FICAB XIII, the 13th International Film Festival of the Bidasoa. The documentary explains how the twelfth-century Romanesque apse was dismantled in 1957 from the church of San Martín in Fuentidueña, north of Madrid, transported to New York, and installed at The Cloisters between 1958 and 1961. Christopher Noey directed and produced this 28-minute documentary and I was its editor; many people within Digital Media and across the Museum contributed to the project.
The story of the Fuentidueña apse at the Metropolitan Museum began in 1935, when photographs of it in situ were first presented to the Museum for consideration as an addition to The Cloisters, the Met's branch of medieval art and architecture in northern Manhattan. Archival photography, first-person commentary, and footage from the 1957 film Fuentidueña, from the Met's Film and Media Archive, provided the material for the 2013 production. In 2007 a film crew from the Met went to Fuentidueña and its environs to shoot on location. Interviews with the Museum's curatorial and scientific staff in New York offer additional details about the challenges of preserving this limestone monument and the importance of this gallery as an essential component of educational activities and an outstanding performance venue. The Fuentidueña Chapel, which includes the apse, was the site of the recent sound installation The Forty Part Motet.
Last month the film's audio engineer, David Raymond, and I traveled to Spain, where we presented the work to town officials and citizens of Fuentidueña and attended the FICAB film festival in Irun.
The production was made possible by the vision and generosity of Jeri Garbaccio, in honor of The Cloisters Education Volunteers. Jeri is a Cloisters Education Volunteer and also gives tours in the medieval art and arms and armor galleries.