Directed by: #LouisMaxwell
Written by: #CharlotteWaldron
As Northern Ireland still recovers from the sectarian conflict known as ‘The Troubles’, two young people who identify as opposing cultures are interviewed to discuss the legacy of the conflict.
Where Are We Now? (2022) is a short documentary produced by Gracepark Productions, which was founded to create engaging and impactful stories in a creative style. Freelance filmmaker Louis Maxwell directs and edits this provocative film, with writer Charlotte Waldron also acting as a presenter to educate viewers on the socio-political context of the documentary, alongside informative onscreen text which is presented throughout the short.
As a result of the 1921 partitioning between Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 1921, from 1969 to 1996 ‘The Troubles’ occurred with violent protests and riots taking place between two communities. The Unionists want Northern Ireland to remain a part of the UK, whereas the Nationalists want to create a United Ireland.
The film is edited and presented in an engaging, pleasing manner, with nice establishing shots of the local area and the use of graffiti reinforcing positive messages of hope effectively cements the desire for peace. There is a thought provoking visual representation of the conflict through repeated shots of UK flags crisscrossing over each other against a blue sky backdrop. A large amount of information is given about the subject in only eight minutes, whether it be through the text, presentation or talking heads, which may be overwhelming for viewers on a first watch, but intrigue always remains.
Eighteen year-old Alana Cahoon identifies as a Unionist, whereas seventeen year-old Dermot Hamill identifies as a Nationalist and both give insightful comments regarding their beliefs/opinions on the legacy of ‘The Troubles’. They have grown up following on from the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement and have witnessed segregation and unrest with more violent riots breaking out recently in April 2021.
It makes for a stimulating watch, especially as Alana discusses the current suicide epidemic in Northern Ireland as a result of the distress and confusion, however, the documentary ultimately leaves viewers on a hopeful final note as the youth of today unite to achieve peace between the two communities. As Dermot outlines, Unionists and Nationalists may have their cultural and political differences, but they can still relate to one another and unite together to take pride in their heritage and personal identities. Original score composer Tadhg Griffin intensifies emotional involvement with a moving, simplistic piano piece which accompanies the visuals throughout.
Overall, Where Are We Now? makes for a compelling, informative watch which certainly fulfils the studio’s aim to create an impactful experience for spectators. The short is inspiring in drawing our attention to the legacy of ‘The Troubles’ and how today’s youth strive for peace, with both Maxwell and Waldron capturing a perfect balance between educating and touching the hearts of viewers.
Where Are We Now? (2022) trailer: