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Untitled: A Film Trilogy, Commissioned by Fingal County Council’s Infrastructure Public Art Programme




This trilogy of short films reflects on the impact of global migration from the point of view of young people in County Fingal with a particular focus on Balbriggan. This public art commission explores ideas of how cultural identities are formed and represented in the public realm. 

In this socially engaged production young migrant youth have collaborated and negotiated every aspect of filmmaking from script writing to film treatment and choice of location. At the end of this process the same young people assumed the role of non-professional actors as they claim ownership of the narrative. Each sequence and film follows a durational socially engaged method taking four months or more to complete. 

The films explore the concerns expressed by young multi-ethnic youth growing up in a time of rapid change in Ireland and internationally. The research for each film refers to historical antecedents from Civil Rights in the ‘60s to the most recent Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. Throughout this discursive process and dialogical encounters new discoveries are made and incorporated into each script. For example, in the short film Can You Hear Us Now? A group of school students generate a claim for equality within the context of xenophobic Europe. In this sequence the language and narratives of African slave, Frederick Douglas who traveled to Ireland in 1845 and performed many public speeches on emancipation and freedom were carefully and sensitively appropriated and reworked. The resulting displaced conversation between three young women from Lusk Community School evokes Brecht’s alienation effect to ‘make the familiar strange’ in order to provoke a social-critical audience response.

The second film is set in the drawing room of 18th Century Newbridge House in Donabate, once owned by Frances Power Cobbe who was an Irish writer, social reformer, anti-vivisection activist and a leading women’s suffrage campaigner. In this sequence a group of young women who call themselves My Sisters Keeper reclaim their own place in history surrounded by oil paintings of colonial masters.

In the final short a group of young men engage in a conversation about what is at stake for their generation as they reflect on the historical speeches and claims for civil rights and equality espoused by Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and many others. The film is also a homage to Samuel Beckett’s seminal play Waiting for Godot. Waiting is akin to a ‘permanent state of crisis’ where waiting for change to come is testing the patience of many generations of young people, especially in light of recent events and the Black Lives Matter global protests. 

The films are currently in post-production and will be completed and assembled together with a commissioned animated credits sequence to honour the 75 people who contributed to this experimental trilogy. There will also be a 48 sheet billboard film poster campaign. Each of the three films will be represented by a specially designed film poster by Detail Design.

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