This Summer the 100 Shared Stories team in PRONI teamed up with the NCCWN- Donegal Women’s Network to bring a smartphone filmmaking programme to a group of women based in County Donegal.
Over three training days, participants were taught all aspects of smartphone filmmaking by Camilla Meegan and Kieran Kelly (Póca Productions), from filming and editing, to scripting and interviewing.
After two Zoom sessions, participants were brought to the Nerve Centre, in Derry, for an in-person training session.
At the end of the programme, each women created a one-minute short film on a subject of their choice, including family stories, farming, nature, and domestic violence. These films were launched on 22 September during Good Relations Week.
For Danielle Bonner, Donegal Women’s Network development worker, the programme “has opened the women’s eyes to a different way of telling stories, introduced them to a new technology through the use of their smartphones and provided them with the skills to develop and edit a film but what I have also seen is growth in confidence and creation of new connections and solidarity among women”.
Where are the Farmers? (Danielle Bonner) - This film highlights the diverse roles and local contribution women in the north west of Ireland are making to farming but also raises awareness to the under representation of women in the Irish farming industry.
A Boy’s Love of Music (Melanie McGuirk) - This is a story of a boy who has no friends but he has his love of music.
I am the Beach (Sherrie Scott) - Story of be here, love here, respect the beach and take everything you bring with you away with you.
Childhood Picnics (Maud McClean) - Bertha McClean recalls family picnics from her childhood in Donegal around 1930s.
Silent Spring (Geraldine Timlin) - A mediative short film focusing on the flow of the river, reminding us of the importance of responding to and connecting to the natural rhythm of nature. Recorded during the lockdown of Spring 2020/21. This is a trailer for a longer film which will be shown in November 2021.
The Moving Statue (Yvonne Callery) - This is a family story about love and faith. The fear and superstition attached to overseas travel also feature. But ultimately the story centres on the inextricable link between marriage and faith as observed by my parents.
An Caol Ait (Maria Coleman) - An Caol Áit’ is about places in nature that our ancestors believed to be portals to the other realm. They spoke directly to the spirit of place at theses special sites called ‘thin places/Caol áiteanna.’ Numerous such places could be found in the countryside, at the likes of wells, waterfalls, caves, bogs, or under the shade of a tree. During lockdown people were asked to stay at home and we had a change to nurture ties with nature again. Maybe, we’ve been given a chance to re-open these ancient portals, and these thin places might speak to us again.