BUDDING young film makers were busy in Portarlington last week creating a unique project which involved them writing a song and making a music video to go along with it. The project was organised by the Garda Diversion Unit in Portarlington who work with young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years old.
The song’s working title is ‘Why Do You Make Me Cry?’ and tells the story of a day in the life of a boy and his mother. It discusses the level of access to drugs for young people. The film took one and a half days to shoot but weeks of preparation went into the project, with the young people taking drama classes for a number of weeks beforehand.
Paul Tully and Eric Courtney from Fuel TV were on hand to shoot the film and were very impressed with the high standard of the song, as well as the young actors who took part. Over 20 young people were involved in the project and were trained in film making, as well as working on the wardrobe, make up and setting up equipment.
Gerry Laurence played the part of the boy in the film, while local drama teacher Elaine Hearty played the part of the mother. Lauren Donagher, Chloe Teasdale, Jordan Mullen, Ben Wheatley and Bernard King also had roles in the project. Ben told the Leinster Express that his favourite part of the project was the drama classes and that he would probably keep them up, while Bernard said his favourite thing was helping the crew with the EX camera and finding out the names of all the equipment.
Producer Paul Tully believes that the film will highlight the issues of access to drugs in local communities. “I work in the film industry and I don’t see drugs. I was completely surprised at the access the kids have. The kids know drugs paraphenalia, it’s not right that it is normalised. It is not just Portarlington but all over the country. This film is showing the catastrophic effect of drugs on the family.”
Paul said that although the project is very different to the work the company normally does (having just finished a music video for The Cranberries), he thoroughly enjoyed working with the young people. “The same rules and pressures apply to this project as any other. The group of kids listened and there was no problem. They just worked, they were really eager to get involved, they wrote and put this together”, he said.
Elaine Hearty from Portarlington’s Showstoppers ran the drama classes and helped the young people decifer their theme. “They really pulled it out of the bag, they were so creative. They had the song written in an hour, they are little stars in the making, they put a lot of hard work into this.
The Portarlington Garda Diversion Project has been running in the area since 2010 and is co-ordinated by David Molloy and Laura Birmingham. They run a number of programmes for young people and deal with issues such as healthy eating, sexual health, drugs and alcohol and personal development. The project has a number of different programmes including a homework club and a horticultural club, mixed martial arts and this film, and also does one to one work with young people.
David told the Leinster Express that if the projects aren’t relevant to the young people, they wouldn’t be interested. “It is about them, it is their project, we are empowering them to make the right choices instead of telling them what to do. The project is a laid back but structured
The group making the film were grateful to a number of local people who facilitated the filming, including Forogie, St Patrick’s BNS principal Pat Galvin, Colaiste Iosagain principal Seamus Bennett, Portarlington sergeant Elaine Horan and the Portarlington Gardaí. The film will be ready to be launched in the next month and will be shown in schools. It will also travel to a number of film festivals throughout the summer.