I Am Ireland is a film about we immigrants and our relationship with Ireland from afar.
We're Irish. We're immigrants. We left home for one reason or another but we still hold our heritage and culture dear. But we're not in that culture anymore, we live in a different country, a different culture. Among friends, yes, but people who don't really understand what it means to be Irish and away from home. Maybe you find it hard to explain to them what it means, I know I do. But I want you to try and tell me, and our audience, what it means.
Tell me your story. Why did you leave? What did you leave? What has your journey been like? Tell me about the good times, the hard times and what life is like now. What does it mean to be Irish away from home? And what is it like to look back? Tell me about your regrets, your achievements, what you miss, what you don't miss. Would you go back? If not, why not? Tell me about your relationship to Ireland, to home, how has it changed in the time you've been away? Have you been back to visit yet? And what's it like going back now, as a visitor? Does it still feel like home? Talk what's going on in the country now, how does that make you feel?
I'm asking you to put all that in a video and send it to me. Use your phone, hit record and talk. I will gather up the clips, much like I did with 140, and edit them into a documentary that will hopefully capture the feeling that we, as immigrants, feel everyday. And together we will create a film that celebrates our culture and heritage and shows that, even though we are away from home, we are Ireland and we carry it with us in our hearts.
Next year marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, a significant moment in Ireland's history, and road to independence. There will be commemorations all across the country. I thought it would be a fitting time to think about what it means to be Irish, for those of us who will be away from Ireland during such a significant year.
There isn't a budget for this film. But if you guys give me 20 minutes of your time to tell me everything I mentioned above, I'll give you a year of my time to put it together and put out into the world. My aim will be to find a film in the footage, whether it ends up being a short film, 15 to 20 minutes, or a feature film, anything from an hour to two hours! I don't know. That's the beauty of it, it's going to be a surprise for all of us. But I think it'll be something special. And something that will connect with a lot of other immigrants, and indeed our friends and family back home.
I will organize a big screen screening in Ireland. I'll send the film to festivals around the world (my 7 previous films have been to well over a hundred film festivals over the years, won awards and been broadcast on TV, so I've done this before).
There is already a Vimeo page for the film. I will post all the clips you send me in their entirety on the page, and then the film itself at a later date. Everyone involved will get a digital download of the film. There may be a Kickstarter campaign when the film is nearing completion, something to help with tangible aspects, like DVDs, T-Shirts, Posters and festival entry fees. But not right now, right now I don't need any money, just your time, thought and stories.
If you're interested you can get it touch with me several ways, on Facebook at my filmmaker page. Here on my blog, by clicking the contact button or just by commenting below. All messages go to the same place and I will see them and answer you as soon as I can.
I'm going to upload an example clip in the coming days, on the Vimeo page. So watch this space.
This is the very beginning of what I think will be a wonderful, and enlighing journey for all of us. I hope you'll take that journey with me.
If you're thinking you might want to jump on board, here are a few things to think about -
Hints & Tips:
I'll be filming my segment on an iPhone 5s. The picture quality is great. You can use your phone too. Anything above 720p. The picture quality has to be good. If you really want to be involved, but the video on your phone sucks, maybe you have a friend with an iPhone 6 or something who'd be willing to help you.
We've all taken selfies, this is no different. But I would say, try to set the camera down somewhere. Not everyone has a tripod, so may on a wall, or a ledge, prop it up with some books behind it. Keep it steady, save the audience from getting dizzy when watching it!
Stand close to it. The frame should show your head and shoulders. This is mainly for sound. But it will also give a consistent look through out the film.
Look into the sense. We all tend to look at ourselves on the screen while recording ourselves. This means you'll be looking away from the audience, which is fine, but for this one, I'd like for you guys to look at the audience, to talk directly to them. So that means looking into the lens, and not at yourself on the screen.
Think about you background. What's behind you. Could be your home, you favorite place to visit, a park, buildings, your kids running wild, it's all good! Can't beat a bit of life. Maybe try to steer clear of blank walls. Just a thought!
And Show Me More! Show me your life now, give me a tour of your home, introduce me to your kids, your pets, show me you favorite place to visit. Maybe you live in the US and bought a muscle car, take me for a spin. Whatever you want. It may not all make it into the film, but it will give me loads to play with, and make a richer, fuller film.
Oh, and turn your phone sideways please!
While the picture quality of most iPhone's these days is great, then sound isn't quite "Movie" quality! So try to do it somewhere quiet. It can be outside, but maybe away from traffic noise, construction etc.
You may not have a lot. Here's what I would suggest. Backing up all the pics and vids on you phone and clearing it off. Leave plenty of room. If you still don't have enough room, film it in sections. Film one part, put it on you computer or email it to yourself, delete the video from the phone and start with the next part. I don't mind getting 3 or 4 clips from you. It's all going to be cut up anyway.
Getting your clips to me. There are various ways. I will PM you details. One way will be to upload it to the vimeo page as a private video, allowing me to download it. I can also share my dropbox with you, and you can download.