These films present poignant reflections on a range of experiences, as survivors and relatives engage with the themes of loss, recovery, justice and remembering.
As the film addresses issues that victims and survivors struggle with on a daily basis, the participants’ responses suggest that the recording methodologies adopted in the creation of Unheard Voices were constructive and therapeutic.
The consultation process, which continued right up to exhibition, provided some control and reassurance to those who placed themselves in the vulnerable position of being in front of the camera and microphone, telling their painful stories to an unknown public. Meeting with each participant before recording also allowed them to be heard and validated. We gained insight and understanding into the issues that each one of them faced and we developed respect and empathy for each individual person.
The six chosen participants represented a range of experiences and geographical areas in contributing to the making of this film.
The film has been systematically screened across many council areas within Northern Ireland. The first public screening was in Flowerfield, Portstewart followed with other screenings in Lisburn Civic Centre, Ballymena IMC Cinema, Newtownabbey Borough Council, Derry City Council and Belfast City Council.
All of these events were concluded with a panel discussion which produced constructive discussion around forgiveness, reconciliation and on the role of story-telling, with participants from the floor sharing their own stories and enquiring about the exhibition possibilities of the material, including broadcasting for future archiving. It has also been screened at the Hallwells Contemporary Arts Centre, Buffalo, and at St Bonaventure University, NY (2012)
It is the hope of all the participants and organisations who produced this film that these stories will play some part in helping to heal the trauma of our contested past and perhaps contribute to a more peaceful future for Northern Ireland.