Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Vince Vaughn's Belfast murals documentary set for Galway Film Fleadh

A mural at the top of the Whiterock Road
Loyalist Jackie McDonald (left) and artist Ross Wilson at the launch of a new mural in Sandy Row that has replaced a notorious depiction of a UFF gunman
Writing on the wall for weapons: A woman walks past a loyalist paramilitary mural in Belfast

Actor Vince Vaughn is putting the finishing touches to a long-running documentary — and labour of love — on Belfast’s murals.

Vaughn, better known for his movies and comedy than his Irish lineage, became intrigued by the city’s murals which he first encountered on a trip with a friend.

The 42-year-old star, who has an Irish grandfather on one side of his family and an Irish grandmother on the other, said he was “blown away” by the murals emblazoned on walls across Belfast and the stories behind them.

The Wedding Crashers actor knew little about the Troubles.

It was the art that intrigued him.

So, six years ago, Vaughn began work on a documentary which saw him come to Belfast. It will finally be screened later this month.

“Once you ask the question, why did they draw this and what does it represent, you learn about something that happened on the Shankill Road 20 years ago or you learn about plastic bullets,” Vaughn told the Irish Times.

He talked his big sister Valeri Vaughn — who attended a film school in London and made an acclaimed short film — into an extended trip to Belfast. That inspired Art Of Conflict, a documentary chronicling Belfast’s murals, their meanings and their journey following the Troubles.

Much has changed since Vaughn and a team which included editor Dan Lebental, who is well known for his work on the Iron Man movies, first arrived in Belfast to film the documentary.

His interviewees included the late PUP leader David Ervine, who spoke to the film-makers shortly before his death in 2007. They also interviewed Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who now sits in the Dail.

Many murals across the city have also been transformed into more welcoming images which still reflect the community’s heritage and culture.

A huge Ulster Freedom Fighters mural at Sandy Row in south Belfast has been replaced by a gable-wall sized portrait of William of Orange. The move came as part of a project to give loyalist and republican communities in Belfast a new image.

Vaughn said Art Of Conflict was a long-term project. “We had so much footage and so many stories. There were so many people to track down. And you also have to structure the film in a way that explains what is happening for someone who knows nothing about this stuff.”

The Dodgeball star said the documentary has been well received. “We’ve been getting a really good response from people, so it’s great that it’s getting out there,” he said.

"It’s [Galway Film Fleadh] the perfect place for us to show it.”

Art Of Conflict will screen on Saturday, July 14, as part of the Galway Film Fleadh, which runs from Tuesday, July 10-15

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