A Million Bricks

After a night of violence in 1971, when six people were killed in the area, scores of Catholic and Protestant families were forced to leave their homes in one of the last mixed streets in West Belfast – Springfield Park. In the optimism of the 1960’s they had bought new houses there, creating a peaceful and tolerant community, only to find themselves at the heart of a three-way battle when the Troubles broke out.

Filmed in 1998, A MILLION BRICKS was a testimony to that scattered community, told by the people themselves and directed and produced by Frank Martin and Seamus Kelters, who as children had lived in Springfield Park. They managed to trace many of the original residents and persuaded them to tell their stories on camera.

Here were ordinary people who had seen their hopes realised, then dashed, within the space of a decade. Where once stood a row of houses shared by Protestants and Catholics now stood Belfast’s biggest peace-line, a wall of a million bricks, separating them.

Here is no man’s land. Here was home.

This independent documentary was made possible by Northern Visions Belfast Community Video Awards scheme HOMETOWN. These were production awards for new and established film makers to explore an aspect of Belfast life in an original way. They had a very small budget of £3,000 and free use of Northern Visions’ facilities. Without the Hometown scheme this documentary may never have been made.

A MILLION BRICKS was premiered at the Belfast Waterfront Hall (bringing together many of the original residents for the first time in over 25 years) and broadcast on Ulster Television (UTV). It was very well received in the local press and later screened at the Cork Film Festival, QFT Belfast and the Made in Northern Ireland Filmmakers Showcase in New York City. The film was also nominated for the Belfast Arts Award of 2000.

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