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@SharedFuture

Lost Lives: Beauty from sorrow

Lost Lives: Beauty from sorrow
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
1 October 2019

At Queen’s Film Theatre, Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt welcomed guests to a preview screening of Lost Lives, inspired by the acclaimed book of the same name, one which Lavery described as a monumental achievement: “Lost Lives was always at my side when I was making documentaries.” In the film, they sought to do justice to the book. This included ensuring that every person named in the book appeared in the film.

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@SharedFuture

Do wars really end? A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot (Sinead O’Shea)

Do wars really end? A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot (Sinead O’Shea)
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
19 April 2018

A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot, a film directed by Sinead O’Shea and screened at the Belfast Film Festival at the Queen’s Film Theatre, is a story about Philip O’Donnell Jr and his world around him, in supposedly post-conflict Northern Ireland.

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@MrUlster Essays Photography

Film review: Photo City

Film review: Photo City
by Allan LEONARD
13 April 2018

Photo City is a documentary film by John Murphy and Traolach Ó Murchú, about the story of Rochester, New York, becoming the Silicon Valley of photography, with the clustering of image-based companies such as Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and Kodak. And how this industry has defined this city and its people, even after the demise of the film producing great, Kodak.

It is a story of photography and society.

The documentarians do a fine job covering the breath of photography. The community photographer. The Facebook posterer. The musician/writer/photographer artist. The advertising man. The photojournalist. The teacher. The student. The inventor. The shop floor worker. The museum archivist.

The act of photography permeates the social fabric of the city’s neighbourhoods, across economic status, vocations, and generations.

We learn about the rise and fall of Kodak in particular, who was a dominant employer. Indeed, its annual bonus cheques would generate even more consumption and wealth for local businesses. So as is the case anywhere where a lead company shrinks, so did the prosperity of Rochester with the demise of Kodak.

But the film strikes a chord of optimism. As one participant said, “The fall of Kodak has unleashed talent to do other things.” And we are presented with how the city still attracts and retains those intrigued about photography and image making.

Photo City is a humanist film. It tells the stories of the people behind the camera.

As the photojournalist explained, “The camera is just a tool. What needs to be perfect is the subject matter to evoke an emotional response.”

This is followed by two further deeply impacting stories.

The final scene brings the wider community together, which I found to be both celebratory but also tinged with nostalgia — can the unleashed talent sustain what must be one of the most image conversant populations in America?

The film will next be screened at the One Take Film Festival in Rochester, New York. You can follow Photo City on Twitter and Facebook.