Filming in Ireland

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.

Actions: Comments (4)


13 May 2015 16:09
Ben, I am sure you are destined to quickly find an Italian with such a rare name! :) But then, if you are worried about that, how will you handle the stress of the last months of PhD writing, when you start every day by googling the title of your future dissertation every time hoping that no freshly published books with the same title will pop up among your search results? :)

My point is that, especially with film, i think its quite hard to make 2 identical films on the same issue, even if you try. The more voices and perspectives we have - the better!
# Radek
14 May 2015 13:31
Looking forward to this film, especially that my own will be set in Northern Ireland although the divisions will not be the main theme. So they will be interesting to watch together. We can think of releasing the two films in a DVD package ;)

just following up on what Olena wrote, now I feel i'm in a lucky position here as I would be really surprised if anyone has a title like my PhD, especially when it comes to the comparative aspect of Belfast, Wroclaw, Edinburgh :)
# Ben
14 May 2015 17:17
Cheers guys.

Don't worry Olena. I ALWAYS find a new thing to worry about :-)
20 May 2015 15:45
Ben, apologies for having to run off and leave you mid-way during your visit to north-east ulster! Egypt was a long standing commitment! How did you get on at Trademark?

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