Derry’s recognition as vibrant City of Culture proved catalyst for a recent documentary by students from University of Westminster.
With one Derry man in the ranks, the four TV Production students decided that a trip to Derry could provide the ideal subject matter for their final documentary project.
Waterside man Daniel McLoughlin elaborates: “Like everyone else in Derry, I really enjoy Hallowe’en, and so I came up with the idea to come and film here for that and then just by chance the City of Culture programme was being launched at the same time, and so it was nicely timed and a great subject matter.”
“We had to submit the idea and our proposal was the highest voted. So we got a budget of £400 from the university, which basically covered our travel, and came over for a week’s filming. And it’s definitely been worth it.”
Another of the group, Will Wicks-Farr, adds: “We’ve had fantastic access here and were allowed to set up and film at the launch of the Culture programme. We’ve also interviewed people like Richard Moore, Joe Carlin, Wayne Hemmingway, two of the Bogside Artists, Eamonn McCann and others - twelve people in total. We’ve found that people in Derry seem to be really up for the Culture year and want to be involved in it as much as they can. They were also more than willing to speak to us about it all too.”
Jasmine Hoinka found herself particularly inspired when she met Richard Moore, founder of Children in Crossfire.
“For me personally, our interview with Richard Moore stands out most. He was such an amazing person to talk to. Obviously, he’s been affected by the Troubles so we discussed that and growing up in Derry and his thoughts on the City of Culture. Of course, we asked him about meeting the Dalai Lama and becoming friends with the soldier who shot him and left him blind. It was a really impressive interview.”
All four amateur film-makers agree that during the course of their filming, people’s opinions of the Culture year changed and were more questioning. “Pretty much all of us were surprised at the twist in the story as we began meeting people who question the Culture thing and who express their disappointment in it all,” Jasmine added.
Dan Poole has high hopes for the finished documentary.
“The film will form part of our final project and will be shown at our university and then there’s potential for more, sometimes channels pick films up, or we could put it online for the world to see. We just want as many people as possible to see the film now.”
“The whole reason we wanted to do this was to show our classmates and people back in England more about Derry and the City of Culture title,” Dan goes on.
“I’m from England and I didn’t know enough about the city, I’ve read about the history but haven’t heard enough about it winning the City of Culture, so it will be great to show that to our classmates and hopefully change some views and entice some of them to visit too.
“I love Derry. It’s quite a small city, but it’s got a lot of character, a lot of history and a lot of culture - which is what we discovered from the interviews. They said ‘We don’t need the UK City of Culture as our tagline, we’ve got the culture already’, and, for me, that’s the sentence that sums up Derry.”