Entwined Histories - The Signing of the Ulster Covenant is a Showcase for young film-makers

On Thursday 27 September 2012, Belfast City Hall was the venue for a showcase event to mark the completion of part one of the Co-operation Ireland project, Entwined Histories, The Signing of the Ulster Covenant.

Six groups of young people from schools and youth clubs across Belfast and the Greater Belfast area took part in the six-month project during which they participated in a range of activities designed to facilitate them to think about the social and political history of 1912 and the impact that the signing of the Ulster Covenant may still have on their lives today.

As part of the project and with the support of Cinemagic, each of the groups wrote, produced and directed a short film depicting their understanding of that period in history.

At the showcase these short films were screened to a packed audience, which included the Minister for Education, John O’Dowd MLA, and Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell MLA and Jennifer McCann MLA.

Commenting on the event, Minister O’Dowd said: “Education has a key role in developing and nurturing creative and innovative skills in our young people, enabling them to develop into articulate and confident members of society. I welcome projects such as ‘Entwined Histories’ which offer young people opportunities to use their imagination and engage in drama, history and literature.”

The Minister congratulated Co-Operation Ireland for giving young people the opportunity to participate in the innovative project. He also congratulated Cinemagic who provided exciting opportunities for the young people to explore aspects of film making.

Concluding, the Minister said: “I commend all the young people on their hard work and originality. Having an understanding of and having respect for different views and traditions will help to strengthen an inclusive society that we can all be proud of.

Peter Sheridan, Co-operation Ireland Chief Executive said:
“This project is the first in a series of Entwined Histories projects which focus on a decade of anniversaries in the history of this island. Our rationale for the series is to give young people an opportunity to learn more about and explore the significance of these events, illustrate how culture and tradition is entwined and show the impact of these events on people’s lives today. The cross-community element enables the young people to get to know and make friends with their peers who perhaps have a different understanding of these periods in history.

“I am delighted with how the everyone has engaged with the organisers and the extremely high standard of films they produced”.

Speaking at the event, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell said: “This project is a first class example of how young people can be encouraged to explore their shared heritage in creative and innovative ways. Our young people are a vital part of that dynamic and our greatest imaginable resource.
“Focusing on the past does not just enhance our understanding of our roots it challenges us about our response to the present and the challenges that lie ahead.”
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann added: “It is important to revisit the past to appreciate where we have come from and to come to an understanding about where we wish to go to in the future. The Entwined Histories project has demonstrated its value by giving young people the opportunity to learn about the past and reflect on the lessons that it can offer us as we work to build a better future.”

Cinemagic Chief Executive, Joan Burney Keatings MBE said:
“Cinemagic was delighted to work in partnership with Co-operation Ireland to deliver the innovative Entwined Histories project with young people from various parts of Northern Ireland. Not only did the participants learn practical filmmaking skills, they had the invaluable opportunity to work with peers from different cultural backgrounds, which helped improve their inter-personal skills and this contributed to a deeper and new understanding of cultural difference.”

The pinnacle of the evening was the presentation of certificates to all the participants by the young Scottish actor John Bell, who appeared in The Hobbit and A Shine of Rainbows.