Frank Berry, director of Ballymun Lullaby shares his thoughts about the resurgence of community spirit in Ireland in recent years, and how he came to create this film. It is opening at the IFI on Friday December 16th and will run until the 22nd. The Ballymun Children’s Choir will sing Christmas carols in the IFI before the screenings on December 16th and 18th, and Frank will take part in a post-screening Q&A on 16th.
My work in the area of community video has been the most rewarding of all the work I’ve been involved in. I have directed probably more than 20 community projects, mainly for organisations with little money but in need of promotion. These local films would have big themes covering educational opportunities, personal development, disability and social disadvantage. I made one such community video for the Ballymun Music Programme in 2003 and when I returned to Ballymun in February 2009, I was struck by the changes in the area and the success of Ron Cooney’s work. Ron and I met for coffee and that’s how Ballymun Lullaby the film began.
Due to the film’s roots, I have been describing Ballymun Lullaby as a piece of community cinema. Many commentators have spoken about the return of community spirit in Ireland since the boom ended, how society is reconnecting with values that had become less important. This inspires me to find other stories that I believe are as important as this one. I believe Ron Cooney’s sincerity and vision gives us hope.
And I know I won’t have to look far. Community cinema is all around us.
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