Last week I was in Belfast doing filming for the short documentary that I am making through the Changing Employment project. The subject of the film is related to my doctoral and previous research, insofar as it looks at the experiences of migrant workers. However, what is new is that I am looking at the challenges and opportunities that present to new (and not so new!) arrivals in communities that are already divided.
To that end I am interviewing Bulgarians living in both Northern Ireland and Cyprus—the last two ‘divided capitals of Europe’—as well as union officials in both countries who have been involved in trying to organise migrant workers. Both have barbed-wired barriers running through their capital cities. In Belfast ‘peace walls’ have separated the largely protestant ‘unionist’ (or ‘loyalist’) communities and largely catholic ‘nationalist’ (or ‘republican’) ones for over 40 years. The one shown below is apparently the longest wall in Europe.
Next week I will be in Budapest for a film school to learn to competently edit the footage I have already collected before going to Cyprus to film the remaining interviews and film the barriers that separate the independent southern part of the island from the northern part which remains occupied by the Turkish army since the 1974 invasion. I will try to rescue some of the sound issues that I had that were unavoidable given interview locations as well as difficulties in uploading smooth high definition visual footage. Although the main challenge of filming in Belfast was the constant sideways rain against which an umbrella was insufficient to protect the expensive equipment that I had borrowed from the university. Footage of the May Day march was consequently underwhelming.
That said, I may face a bigger problem of an unoriginal film as I have it on good authority, Belfast’s own Union Taxi drivers, that a professional film-maker is doing a similar project but two weeks ahead of me. An Italian (named ‘Alessandro’) is making a documentary apparently with these two countries plus Palestine. I mention all I know of him on the off-chance that he is an avid reader of our blog and wants to get in touch.