New documentary focuses on the lives and achievements of black people in Northern Ireland

A new documentary focusing on the lives and achievements of black people living in Northern Ireland is entering its final stages ahead of airing.

Titled ‘We Are Here’, the documentary shares the stories of more than a dozen people who live in Northern Ireland, delving into their lives, achievements and experiences.

The documentary was produced by Lindsay Duke and follows a previous documentary, “Black and Northern Irish”. Lindsay also worked on a similar project when he created an advert last year which highlighted Black History Month in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Lindsay told us her new project will highlight the wide variety of experiences of people living in Northern Ireland.

He said: “I was the original producer of Black and Northern Irish and started working on that because I realized there were a lot of different stories to tell, especially for black people. and the Métis of Northern Ireland, and that it would be worth pointing out to the public.

“My goal from the beginning was to seek out other black people within the film production industry, who didn’t specifically have opportunities, to give them a chance to work on this project.

“The reason I did this is because I wanted to show the talent in Northern Ireland and the diversity of talent here, and explore different stories of people here in Northern Ireland.”

For the documentary, Lindsay enlisted the help of a diverse group of local talent, from all walks of life. These included director Tolu ogunware, cinematographer Peter Johnston, soundman Andy Mcdermott, camera assistant Hannah Mccallum, photographer Macy Stewart, cameraman Andre Tavares, editor Lloyd Edgar and graphic designers Sean Tait .

He then spoke to 14 people of black or mixed-race background, all with different experiences. As he notes, some of the conversations were about racism, but many others were about the role these individuals play in life in Northern Ireland in general.

Lindsay explained: “This documentary is not just about race, but also about what people, who you may have forgotten, contribute to Northern Irish society.

“We spoke to a human rights lawyer here – I wanted to introduce people to her. I think people might assume, ‘Oh, they’re black and from Northern Ireland.’ Well, yes, but that’s not the story, the story is that they’re in this place like you, they’re part of what makes up this place, they’re connected to you.

“It was important to me to put these people out there, to shine a light on what they’re doing. When it’s shown to the public, people won’t be able to say, ‘There are no people of color. in Northern Ireland”. There they are. In every industry – filming, modeling, legal roles – all the examples we show here.

“So I would say what we’re doing is not necessarily highlighting the race issues in Northern Ireland, but highlighting the solutions, highlighting the achievements. It’s local production with local people, but it also offers local solutions to how we can understand race.”

Lindsay’s own background in Northern Ireland helped him get to a position where he could tell those stories.

“I’ve lived in NI for almost 22 years,” he told us. “My background is music. I’ve always been involved in organizing events, bringing music to Northern Ireland. But in recent years I’ve been involved in things that… The only way to say is – it’s about me to help people understand each other.

“I’ve been hosting parties for years at clubs and dance events here, where even though it’s musical, it’s first and foremost a social thing. That was the goal. Today, everything is more visual, we see things more than ever, so I went to the movies and decided that I wanted these stories here to be told.”

The documentary itself is slated for release this year. Lindsay said he is in the final stages of finding him a home with a television network.

“We are currently having conversations with the networks,” he said. “They’ve seen the trailer and they like the concept. We’re at an advanced stage of conversations, and I’m pretty sure it will be picked up by the networks. For me, it’s something that needs to be seen by local people.”

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