Short film about Brexit in Northern Ireland promotes sense of unity between communities

, by The Hope Festival

Short film about Brexit in Northern Ireland promotes sense of unity between communities
Photo: © Life’s Green Pictures 2018

The biggest casualty of Brexit will be the people of Northern Ireland, as Brexit will break the Good Friday Agreement. A short documentary is looking to show the positive success stories of the Northern Irish peace process in both the unionist and nationalist communities. [1]

The European Union has helped to bring the two separate communities closer together by funding stability in Northern Ireland by over €1.5 billion since 1995. It has also provided a neutral platform for the British and Irish governments to work closer together.

Titled “The Hope Festival”, the 15-minute documentary follows the journeys of “EU Supergirl” Madeleina Kay, and filmmaker and actor Thom Jackson-Wood, as they travel to Northern Ireland, meeting people from both the unionist and nationalist communities who are working together to keep Northern Ireland peaceful and prosperous.

“We need to start making the positive case for remaining in the European Union”, argues Madeleina Kay who has been doing precisely this full-time for the last two and a half years. She has campaigned across the UK and the rest of the EU, using songs, costumes, art and her “24 Reasons to Remain” booklets. Though she has visited the Republic of Ireland before, she had never been to Northern Ireland as she met Thom Jackson-Wood at an event by Young European Movement UK, the British JEF section, in March 2018.

Thom had been interested in making a documentary about the Northern Irish peace process but was searching for story ideas to make it more positive and interesting. Having already filmed the 2018 Féile an Phobail festival in West Belfast, which featured a colourful carnival parade marching down the Falls Road, he knew there was a story to tell, but that it needed balance and additional material.

The right opportunity came in December 2018 when he journeyed with Madeleina and a number of other activists across the UK, with additional stops in Brussels, Dublin and the Irish border. On this “Bollocks to Brexit” bus tour, the duo filmed interviews with four people from very different backgrounds.

  • Jane Morrice served as Vice President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in 2013 and is still working as part of the Committee in Brussels today. She is currently working on the White Dove Way Peace Initiative between Belfast, Northern Ireland and Nicosia in Cyprus, another island in the EU with a history of division.
  • Brian Maguire is an Irish journalist and pundit who covers European politics in Brussels, and often appears on European news programs covering the current political situation in Ireland on both sides of the border.
  • Linda Ervine is an Irish language rights activist and educator from the unionist community, who is campaigning for an Irish Language Act. She is arguing that the Irish language does not belong to just the nationalist community, and that this act would take the language out of the political realm.
  • Conor Patrick McArdle is a 21-year-old Law graduate from Middletown on the Irish border who works for the New Europeans Ireland organisation. Having grown up in relative peace since the Good Friday Agreement, he is keen for peace to be protected for future generations, and is getting people involved in the European project at the grassroots level.

Between their four speakers, and Madeleina’s speeches and songs, she and Thom believe they have a compelling documentary which will help people see for themselves how the Peace Process has succeeded in bringing Northern Ireland out of the troubles, but also that there is still a lot of work to be done, and it is not to be taken for granted.

A crowdfund appeal is ongoing for the film’s post-production. The duo plan to send the film to festivals across the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.

This text has been published as an external contribution. It has been edited slightly by the TNF editorial team.


[1Unionists support the Northern Ireland being a part of the UK, while nationalists support Northern Ireland joining with the Republic of Ireland.

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