Private Project

Once Upon a Place

"Once Upon a Place" is the story of “La Nacional,” a nondescript building in New York City that welcomed thousands of immigrants to the United States over its 150-year history. The building itself narrates its striking story, yet unknown but so relevant today, although it remains a mystery to most New Yorkers and Americans.

Founded in 1868, “La Nacional” still stands in 2022, the last remaining survivor of the vanished New York neighborhood once known as Little Spain, the largest Spanish immigrant enclave in the United States. “La Nacional” bore witness to the rise and fall of New York City as home to the American Dream, experiencing both the golden age of Little Spain and the tumultuous times that eventually ended in the disappearance of the entire community.

- "Biznaga de Plata" Award for Best Documentary - Women on Scene 21 at Festival de Cine de Málaga 2022. 

-Best American Documentary at the 8 & Halfilm Awards. Rome, Italy, 2022.

-Honorable Mention for the Direction at GIMFA - Gralha International Film Awards, Brazil, 2022. 

-Best Spanish movie at Films by Women International Festival Madrid, 2021.

-Best Documentary at Nunes International Film Festival, 2021.

-Special Mention of the Jury at the Film Sozialak Bilbao, 2021. 

-Finalist award at the International Ethnographyc Festival, 2021.

  • Cèlia Novis
  • Cèlia Novis
  • Cèlia Novis
  • Domingo Zapata
    Key Cast
  • James Fernandez
    Key Cast
  • Carmen Fariña
    Key Cast
  • Robert Sanfiz
    Key Cast
  • Andrea Alonso
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 13 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 8, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    140,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital / RED
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Cèlia Novis