50 young people, youth leaders, schools and filmmakers came together recently to celebrate their creativity and achievements in cross-community filmmaking as part of Cinemagic’s Urban Villages Film Project.

The project has engaged with 30 youth groups and schools in North Belfast, (Greater Ballysillan, Ardoyne and Marrowbone); Eastside in East Belfast; South Belfast, (Donegall Pass, Markets and Sandy Row), the Colin area in West Belfast and the Bogside, Bishop St and Fountain in the North West.

The Urban Villages Initiative is a headline action under the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy. From December to March Cinemagic spent a week with each group of young filmmakers to listen to their voices about a wide range of issues in their areas with a view to creating an original story from idea generation and script development right through to casting, production co-ordination, directing and cinematography.
In just one week each all of the groups involved produced their own film under the guidance of Cinemagic filmmakers and writers and the films were premiered in Odyssey Cinemas Belfast at a special showcase event that included a Q&A with representatives from all of the groups, focusing on their experience and the benefits of using film as a vehicle to get their voices heard.

Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Cinemagic Chief Executive said: “We are so proud of all of the teams of young people who achieved so much in a short period of time and who were dedicated to the project from start to finish.  The support from the Urban Villages Initiative team was invaluable too in helping us to enable young people to feel safe and connected, regardless of religious or ethnic background. We wanted to encourage and support communities to express their views and influence what happens in their areas and using film has been a fantastic way to interact with young people and get their opinions across.

Linsey Farrell, Director of The Urban Villages Initiative, added:“This Cinemagic showcase celebrates the work of young people from across all five Urban Village areas and it is a pleasure to have witnessed these young people getting so involved and participating in this programme with such enthusiasm. A key objective of the Urban Villages Initiative is to foster positive identities so it is wonderful to see so many young people coming from their local communities and working together in order to produce these high quality films.”

Press Information: Claire Shaw, Cinemagic Press and Marketing Officer, 028 90 311 900

Notes for Editors
1. This Cinemagic project is supported by the Department for Communities with funding under the Northern Ireland Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative.
2. The Urban Villages Initiative is a key action within the Northern Ireland Executive’s ‘Together: Building a United Community’ Strategy. It is designed to improve good relations outcomes and to help develop thriving places where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension.

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