IFC Films and Search for Common Ground, partnered up to premiere “The Journey” on the 15th of June.
In attendance was the director of the movie Nick Hamm, screenwriter Colin Bateman and the stars of the movie Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney.
Some of the special guests included Search for Common Ground president and CEO, Shamil Idriss and Counsellor/Director at Northern Ireland Civil Service Norman Houston.
We briefly spoke to director Nick Hamm.
What made you want to make this movie and tell this story?
Nick Hamm: I wanted to tell the story of a very extraordinary political friendship that existed and was real. In that sense, it hadn’t been advertised enough, it hadn’t been advocated enough. This was a story of 2 men who absolutely hated each other and completely represented 2 totally different tribes of constituencies in Ireland; and almost never have been in the same room for 30 years. Then, they shared a journey together and it started a peace process. In the end, they were kind of responsible for the peace process beginning in Northern Ireland.
Why do you think it was important to tell this story now?
Nick Hamm: We live in a time of political entrenchment, where politicians speak to their own base the entire time, and don’t reach out beyond the base and don’t talk to anybody beyond their own constituencies. What we need is people who do the reverse of that, that can actually reach out and talk to people.
Basically, the movie highlights the friendship of two men “from opposite sides of the political spectrum” and they both “came together to change the course of history”.
Cinematically, the casting was focused on the two main characters, Ian Paisley played by Timothy Spall and Martin McGuinness played by Colm Meaney.
Most of the scenes of the movie took place in a car. For about two hours, the audience was engaged with the chemistry and the relationship of these two men. It was about understanding and conversation.
The audience was taken on a journey as Paisley and McGuiness were on a peace-building journey themselves.
In addition to speaking to the director, Shamil Idriss briefly spoke to us about Search for Common Ground’s collaboration with the movie and said:
“Fundamentally, the film tells the story of how conflict ends. Our news is dominated by how conflict begins and how it’s sustained. We hardly hear anything about how it actually ends. When people think about how it ends, they think about the politics and all the of the power plays. They don’t think about the personalities and how much at the end of the day, the individual personalities of leaders, play a huge role… We are one of the largest peace building organizations in the world. Anytime we see something that might break through a popular audience and have people understand how conflict comes to an end, we want to support it.”
After the screening of the movie, the two actors, director, screenwriter and one of the producers had a conversation discussing the movie and the impact they hope this movie has on a wide range of audiences.
This is a movie with historical Irish context but not restricted to the Irish audience. It is a movie that many can learn from.
It is a movie that will not only teach but hopefully inspire the notion of peace to be applied, and not just seen as an unreachable-utopian-concept.