Getting the news that we’d won the Polish International Film Festival was both a joy and, to be honest, a bit of a relief. The ‘joy’ bit was for the cast and crew who now have a ‘win’ to add to their film CVs. The ‘relief’ was personal. It’s a decade since I made a film after taking time out to look after my parents, so, while I’ve been back up and running with making television programmes, ‘Displaced’ is the first drama in a long time. So much has changed since I was last on the film festival circuit, so it was good to know that audiences still feel that I have something to say that they’re happy to watch and listen to.
The film is, actually, just one part of a ‘hybrid’ project, funded by Coimisiún na Meán under their Sound and Vision initiative. When my short “Whatever Turns You On” – about a homeless Dublin guy – qualified for the Oscars, I ended up at a lot of festivals around the world, talking about the film. I realised that there was only so much I knew about homelessness. So this time, I decided to make a half-hour documentary to look at the topics raised by the story of Stefan, the Polish protagonist played by Jakub Keringer in ‘Displaced’. The documentary, ‘The Lone Stranger’, features Jasmine Mathews of the multicultural support organisation ‘Hands4Unity’. She uses her vast depth of knowledge on non-Irish nationals and the additional challenges that they face here, to bring a sense of reality to the fiction of the film’s Stefan, who finds himself unable to find new accommodation, despite holding down a respectable job.
What’s next for ‘Displaced’ is an official launch on Dublin Community Television, along with the documentary under the banner of ‘Location, Location, Location’. Meanwhile, the film is under consideration for some other festivals here and there. Follow along, here or on social media, to keep up with the project. Hopefully you can watch it on DCTV at Channel 802 on Virgin Media or, if you don’t have Virgin, at a festival near you.