A young English filmmaker with strong Inishowen roots is making a documentary to show the true human cost of the mica house crisis.
Siobhan Bahl is here until May 26 to document the stories of families affected by defective block homes.
She explains: “The idea is to get the viewer to hear the voices affected in Inishowen, to be brought into homes and see what is happening, not just to a few people, but many.”
“I’m trying to create something that gets the audience to feel how this is about more than bricks and walls, but the lives, memories and hopes held in a home.”
“The film will also explore the length of time this has been going on for, touching on the injustice of waiting for redress. It asks the questions: what does it feel like to wait? What does it feel like to live with defective blocks?”
“It will also highlight the community activism that has happened, how social media has been harnessed, groups have emerged, marches taken place and how a community created a voice that refuses to be silent.”
A 23-year-old masters student, Siobhan was born in Leicester but says Inishowen is a “special place to me”.
“My grandmother is from Cabry, Quigley’s Point, part of the McLucas’, and while my mum was brought up in Derry she spent many days playing on Culdaff beach.”
“She wanted the same experience for myself and my sister so before we could talk we got a place in Greencastle where I’ve spent most Christmases, Easters and Summers since.”
Siobhan has already met a number of families and she’s keen to meet more; as many as possible, to show the devastating scale of the scandal.
“I really want to be able to show the range of people who continue to be affected. Regardless of age, situation, job, it’s important that I can show to audiences who have never heard of the issue that it isn’t one or two houses, but many people, young, old, families.”
“What I am really looking for now is for someone willing to allow me to film the demolition of their home as well as people open to me filming the rebuilding of their homes. I’m trying to cover the whole cycle.”
She added: “Contractors/builders can be kept anonymous by keeping signage and faces out of shot, and you would not have to be present on camera. I appreciate how upsetting a demolition must be so I will not press you to speak to me while it’s happening. I work by myself, it is just myself and my camera so I can keep my presence as informal as possible.”
Anyone who wishes to take part in the film should contact Siobhan by email: firstname.lastname@example.org