Student returns to make Troubles documentary

RESIZED_Ethan McLaughlin 1

Ethan McLaughlin.

THERE have been many films and documentaries which have attempted to chronicle the Troubles in the North, but very few have been made by someone who was born in peace times.
Ethan McLaughlin was just one-years-old when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, but what happened during the dark days and the ongoing impact of the conflict is a key interest for the young film maker from Strabane.
The 20-year-old who is studying at London Southbank University returned home recently with a group of fellow students to film his documentary, which will include an interview with the daughter of Dermot Hackett who was murdered by loyalists outside Drumquin in 1987.
The team have a working title for the film ‘Children of the Troubles’.
“Yes, I am not old enough to have lived through or remember any events about the Troubles, but I know how it impacted people here in Northern Ireland and how much it continues to affect the younger generation,” said Ethan who has been involved in cross-community projects as a youth worker.
“Thankfully I grew up in a very neutral environment, my mother was always very careful not to be biased and that’s what I want this film to be – an impartial view of what happened and how it affects us today.”
While the story, or the various narratives of the Troubles is ingrained into the consciousness of the people here, Ethan’s fellow students had simply no understanding or knowledge.
“We were asked to come up with ideas for a documentary and when I put my idea forward and spoke about the Troubles, they were all shocked by what I told them, they simply had no idea. The history of Northern Ireland is not taught in schools in England, so how would they know what had happened. But they are all very interested and are looking forward to coming over with me to get working on the documentary.”
Ethan says he wants the documentary to reflect both sides of the community evenly and to look at how far the North has progressed in the years since the cessation of violence.
“It is important to me that all views are expressed in the film, I know how difficult it still is for some people, but it’s also important that people get to tell their story and that’s what I want to do,” he said.
“I want the film to be as good as I can make it. I will have archive footage, together with interviews which I will be recording this weekend. We have four days, so we are going to be flat out.
“While this is a project for university, I want it to be much more, I hope that I will be able to get it screened on television at some stage in the future.”
With the North’s film making reputation continuing to shine, Ethan is hopeful he can return home after college and find employment in the industry here. “It has been fantastic to see so many big shows filmed here and yes, I hope that I will be able to get some work back home, once I am qualified.”

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