I've been contacted by Emily Mervosh, a student at Boston College who is coming to Ireland next month to make a documentary about the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland. She originally got in touch as part of her fundraising campaign, but she has now achieved her target and is ready to start filming.
I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of this youth orchestra, founded in 1995, which includes young musicians from both North and South. Emily describes what she aims to achieve:
Through interviews with current members and alumni as well as academics who specialize in The Troubles and its aftermath, this film will show how these two opposing groups aren't much different from each other and how the country is trying to mend itself. It will premiere in New York City in the fall of 2013 when the orchestra is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall, will be screened in Ireland/Northern Ireland, and will be submitted to film festivals.
I believe the film will show people unfamiliar with Irish culture and history that the country and its people are not defined by the violence that has plagued them for decades. These people are bravely trying to create positive social change within Ireland. Their story needs to be told.
Filming will be mainly at the Dundalk Institute of Technology, where the orchestra rehearses, and also in Belfast and Dublin.
Emily believes the story has wider application. She wants to explore how the young orchestra members have been changed by their experience, in 'their relationship with others, opinions about the conflict, and their daily lives'.
So congratulations to Emily on this innovative project. I hope the film will help to draw attention to the potential of the arts for helping with community reconciliation.