New film offers virtual reality experience of Belfast peace walls
A ground-breaking new documentary film tracing the history of Belfast's peace walls through virtual reality (VR) has been created by a local filmmaker.
Funded through the Community Relations Council, the film When Will the Walls Come Down?, directed by Brendan McCourt at New Red TV, opens with an aerial view of the Cupar Way peace wall, the construction of which began in 1969, almost five decades ago.
"Belfast has some 97 peace barriers," the text in the opening scene reads.
When first constructed, the Cupar Way peace wall, and all peace walls throughout Belfast, were intended to be temporary structures.
Now, almost 50 years on, the walls still exist, separating the Protestant and Catholic communities along contentious interfaces.
In the film, an Army general can be heard telling journalists the earliest stages of the walls, then barbed wire, were "very, very temporary".
"This documentary, showcased through VR, is one that is a virtual experience for the viewer unless you live within these communities. For those people, the story it tells is a reality," said Mr McCourt.
"Some of these walls, despite only being temporary structures, have existed longer than the Berlin Wall which was demolished almost 30 years ago.
"For many young people in the area, the temporary walls are permanent. They have never known a time they didn't cast a shadow over their communities.
"The film is about impact and understanding, immersing the viewer in the worlds of a 24-year-old Protestant mother and a 21-year-old Catholic youth worker, two neighbours separated by the walls."
The film is on youtube.com, although a smartphone and VR headset are required for the full experience.