"Belfast Stories" is a short documentary/photography project that takes an intimate look into the lives of young women in Belfast.
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About the Film
The Peace Lines. The Murals. The Troubles.
These words are synonymous with Belfast, Northern Ireland's violent past. Since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, there has been tremendous progress towards cross-community healing and understanding. However, the lines and murals still stand, and grow in size and quantity every year. These are stark reminders that, despite the tremendous progress, Belfast's tumultuous past is still lingers in the city.
Belfast Stories is a short documentary/photography project that takes an intimate look into the impact that Belfast's history, and current progresses, have on young women from the Protestant and Catholic. Working in collaboration with cross-community youth groups, the young women will explore the city with photography, allowing a unique inside perspective into a community in the midst of change. Along side the photography is the documentary itself, a poetic and impressionistic look at the relationships between young women and their families, communities, and histories.
This documentary will show how the young women of Belfast view their futures, and how Belfast can be seen as an example of the impact of community healing and the importance of educating youth about understanding and forgiveness.
Kickstarter allows a unique experience for supporters of the film- the chance to be directly involved in it’s making. This film is being produced as my thesis film for my Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of North Texas. Because of this, all of the equipment is provided. This Kickstarter, then, is asking for help in covering the unseen costs, such as insurance coverage, that are often overlooked. Your contributions will have a direct influence, and will literally help make this ambitious film a reality.
From Director Andrew J. Nelson
A large portion of my family’s heritage comes from Northern Ireland. When I was a young boy, my grandfather spoke so lovingly and proudly of that heritage that I became fascinated with everything Northern Ireland related. When I was 15, I was able to travel to meet my extended family in County Fermanagh with my Grandfather, as well as my Uncle. To this day, that trip remains one of my most cherished memories. My interests as a filmmaker have always been geared towards youth, conflict, identity, and urban issues. With this film, I see all of those interests coming together. This past March I was able to go on a 10 day research trip to Belfast for the film, meeting and conversing with cross-community youth groups about the changes in the city. Those changes are immense and visible. People of all ages and cultures now inhabit the city, and are able to travel to parts of it that, during The Troubles, they never would have dared. While there are still underlying tensions and occasional flare-ups of violence, the progress made within both Belfast and Northern Ireland has been incredible.
I see Belfast as being an example of how community healing comes from within, with grass-roots organizations and through educating youth. Belfast reminded me very much of my hometown of Philadelphia, another city which has a reputation for violence, but who is challenging that through concentrated efforts of community groups educating the youth about conflict resolution. The long term aims of this film are to raise the conversation about how violence, both direct and indirect, affect children’s developments and outlooks, and informing audiences on how they can support these very groups that are striving to bring peace to their communities.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Andrew J. Nelson
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