Two Derry filmmakers have been selected to screen their debut film at a prestigious Irish American film festival in the U.S. capital.
Together in Pieces is the film debut of David Dryden and Eileen Walsh and has been made by Foxwall Films.
The 25-minute documentary examines Northern Ireland’s changing political landscape through graffiti, slogans and murals, and was filmed in Derry with funding from the Community Relations Council. The title of the film comes from the jargon of graffiti artists, a ‘piece’ meaning a masterpiece.
Together In Pieces is being screened at the Capital Irish Film Festival in Washington D.C. this week. The development has been billed as a “huge achievement” for the independent filmmakers as this is the biggest Irish film festival in the United States.
Eileen Walsh said the existence of political and paramilitary graffiti in Derry, especially on the city’s historic walls, more than 15 years after the Good Friday Agreement had prompted them to explore the issue.
“We were thinking who is writing this stuff? Why are they writing it? Does it reflect the views of the community living in that area? Or is it someone else imposing their views? We were really interested in it especially because of the idea of young people having to walk past very sectarian graffiti every day and we wanted to investigate what was going on.”
The festival screening in the US follows others in Derry, Belfast and Dublin.
“This is a major coup for Derry and we are very keen to use this opportunity to encourage tourism by encouraging audiences to come and visit and see it for themselves,” Ms Walsh said. “We’re very excited about going over to Washington. We feel honoured that it’s been selected for such a prestigious festival. We’re also very grateful to Invest NI for helping support our trip to Washington. The festival have never had a Northern Irish director in attendance, and this year there will be two.
“We are hoping the film will be a great showcase for the city and all the changes that have taken place and the incredible work that is going on here behind the scenes in peace and reconciliation.”
Pat Reilly, Director of the Film Festival, and whose family hail from Killybegs, said: “Together in Pieces is exactly the kind of documentary that our Washington D.C. audience loves. It tells us something about Northern Ireland as a country and a culture. Many of our Solas Nua members have worked on peace issues and with exchange students from Northern Ireland. They eagerly await this screening.’’
Together in Pieces was executive produced by John Peto of the Nerve Centre and features interviews with Bill Rolston, UU Emeritus Professor; Linda Watson of Caw Community Group; International graffiti artist Man One from LA; Michael Doherty of Mediate NI; Jeanette Warke of the Cathedral Youth Club; Donal O Doherty of Street Art company Urban Vizualz.
The festival is run by Solas Nua, a U.S. non-profit organisation dedicated exclusively to contemporary Irish arts.