Filmmaker says ‘brilliant’ Derry should be City of Culture
Director Paul Greengrass, who worked on the awardwinning Bloody Sunday film, is helping put Londonderry’s City of Culture bid in the frame.
Internationally acclaimed Greengrass, who also directed the film Omagh, is calling for the city to be a beacon to the world.
Greengrass first came to Derry in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s as part of the ITV World in Action documentary team and was immediately hit by the warmth of the people and the area's rugged beauty. Calling the city a very special place, he believes Derry's varied heritage should be recognised.
He rose to fame as a director after his 2002 film Bloody Sunday won joint first prize at the Berlin Film Festival. He went on to direct the Bourne Supremacy, Flight 93 and the Bourne Ultimatum.
He said: “Derry is a beacon to the world. People from around the world look at the city and see what is possible with consideration and what people can overcome.”
“The city is rich in history, culture and artistic talent; the writers, the voices, the poetry.
“The youth of Derry is particularly vibrant. The last time I was there I met schoolchildren who had a wonderful sense of vitality and a great sense of invention.”
Thirty years ago the city was a very different place caught up in the emotions of the time, but that has changed, he believes.
He said: “In those days because of the Troubles it created a prism for how the world viewed the city but it is possible now to see it in a much larger context.
“Now it is identified as a city with a story for other places in the world to draw inspiration from.
Derry sits in a place that no other city does. Derry is steeped in cultural history — a special place with a special cultural history.
“It will make for a very interesting City of Culture. No other country has that experience of a history of conflict and history of reconciliation. It gives a great portrait of the possibilities.
“It is a brilliant and exciting place and it will be fantastic for the city, for Northern Ireland and for Europe.”