My name is Thom Jackson-Wood and I am the director, producer and co-presenter of “The Hope Festival,” a short documentary film that looks at the Northern Irish Peace Process and how it is threatened by Brexit. This is a non-sectarian and non-partisan documentary, but it is pro-European.
From the outset, I wanted to create a positive documentary which had positive reasons for keeping the Peace Process going and making a positive case for Remaining inside the EU. To do this, I teamed up with the EU Supergirl Madeleina Kay and we went to Northern Ireland to find some stories of people and organisations working in both the Unionist and the Nationalist communities who are using EU funding to create a more peaceful society.
(Thom at the Titanic Belfast, Life's Green Pictures, 2018)
In August 2018 we went to West Belfast to film the 30th Féile an Phobail Festival Parade, and understand how this has helped the Nationalist community express themselves through creativity and art, rather than violence. And in December 2018, we went to East Belfast to meet Linda Ervine of Caidre Turas, and we learned from her how teaching the Irish language at the East Belfast Mission is helping people in the Unionist community learn more about their wider history and heritage, while also bringing the Irish language into a space where both communities can benefit from it.
(Madeleina and Thom with Brian Maguire at the EESC in Brussels, Life's Green Pictures, 2018)
We also went to Brussels to meet Jane Morrice, the former head of the European Commission in Northern Ireland (1992-1996) and a former Vice Chair of the European Economic & Social Committee (2015), and Brian Maguire, an independent Brussels-based journalist at EBX Media. Both of them are from Northern Ireland and had some very insightful knowledge about how the EU has funded and facilitated the Peace Process by bringing the UK and Irish governments to the negotiating table, resulting in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and why an open border in Ireland is key to protecting the peace.
(Madeleina on the Irish Border with Faux BoJo and a local SDLP councillor, Life's Green Pictures, 2018)
And to the Irish Border...
Finally, we travelled throughout the UK and Ireland on the “Bollocks To Brexit” Bus Tour, which stopped on the Irish border. We were keen to draw attention to this, as a hard border would ruin the peace process. We were also fortunate to speak with Conor McArdle, who works for New Europeans Ireland, an NGO that works across both Northern Ireland and the Republic to educate people about the European project on a grassroots level. Having grown up on the border in Middletown, he has first-hand knowledge of how import it is that the border stays open, and the Good Friday Agreement stays in place.
What Remains To Be Done
We’ve filmed a lot of content, now we need your help to put it together. Currently the film is halfway through post-production, and it’s being put together by Devon-based editor Spyke O’Hanlin. But because of the political situation, we need to get this film finished and submitted into film festivals as soon as possible.
To Do That, We Need £2,000
This will cover:
- Spyke’s rates (he’s working on a reduced rate for this project)
- Madeleina’s music (she’s written and performed a number of songs in this film)
- A composer to do the score (should any linking music be needed)
- Film Festival Submissions (some of them are free to enter, but others require a fee)
- Contingency budget (in case any further work is required)
(Madeleina with the Brexit Monstrosity Float in London outside Parliament, Bruce Tanner, 2019)
It Can Be Done...Because We've Done It Before...
We used some of our footage to help crowdfund the costs for the #BrexitMonstrosity float to come to the Put It To The People March on the 23rd March 2019 - and we raised over £2,900. And this was with just one of our scenes, along with Madeleina's song "There Is No Brexit Dividend." Having done it once, we can do it again.
We Are The Hope Festival
As I say in the pitch video, The Hope Festival is all of us. It’s me and Madeleina, and our guests who we interviewed. It’s everyone who helps us make this film possible, whether it's by backing our project or sharing it on social media. And it’s anyone who wants to #StopBrexit and protect the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, regardless of which community you come from, to ensure it remains peaceful, prosperous and stable for generations to come.
Thom, Madeleina and Spyke
The Hope Festival