Ireland’s reception system for asylum seekers is known as Direct Provision. People are accommodated across the country in communal institutional centres or former hotel-style settings. The Irish government is currently restructuring the Direct Provision system, and so far, young people’s opinions have not been sought. The current system is unfair and inhumane. Youth Work Ireland, the largest youth organisation in Ireland commissioned Piquant to produce a video series where young people living, or who have lived in, Direct Provision could tell their stories and share their experiences. “Waiting” was selected for screening at the OFFline Film Festival 2022 as well as at the Berlin Short Film Festival 2023 and Fastnet Film Festival 2023.
What we did:
- Video Production
- Concept Development
- Script Writing
- Camera Operating
- Video Editing
- Motion Graphics Design
CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS — It was very important that the young people were central to the whole production process and that the videos were reflective of what they wanted to say and how they wanted to say it. We developed in-person and online workshops with young people living in Direct Provision. Working with the young people to understand the issues that they wanted to talk about we developed a process for the young people to unravel the themes they wanted to share. “Waiting” became the prevailing theme for the video series, with a clock motif and quotes from Beckett symbolising the agonising waiting experienced by the young people. We used a triptych approach to the video series, with three sections of waiting “Leave”, “Start” and “Life”, each featuring young people at different stages of waiting in the Direct Provision cycle.
Learn more about how we worked with the young people here.
VIDEO PRODUCTION — The young people were involved in every aspect of the video production. We developed a stylised silhouette visual approach so that all the young people could have their voice in the videos, without having to reveal their full identities on screen. Filmed in Piquant’s studio the young people had time to get comfortable at the studio and to select their preferred interview background. A two-camera setup permitted the team to capture a wide shot of the interview, while also focusing on details of the young people in silhouette. The lighting setup used kept the subject in silhouette, keeping identity out on the video. This gave the young people space to share their stories. B-roll clock footage also features in the series, alongside some self-shot footage filmed by the young people in their own environments.
EDIT AND POSTPRODUCTION WORKSHOPS — We hosted a post-production workshop to involve the young people in the editorial direction of the video. The Piquant editing team cut footage that focused on the stories being shared by the young people. The clock footage gave room in the video to reveal the stark facts of the Direct Provision system to the viewer. While the clever use of graphic subtitles played a vital role in carrying the messaging of the video for accessibility and visual reasons. A push and pull focus are peppered across the video to illustrate how the problems of direct provision have been there for many years and it is time to focus on the problem and act now. A heavy soundtrack is carried across the video forcing the viewer to feel the weight the “waiting” places on the young people and how it is holding them back from starting their lives.
VIDEO LAUNCH — At a screening in the Irish Film Institute, August 2022, the films were officially launched by Minister of State Joe O’Brien. The Minister reiterated the commitment in the programme for government to end the Direct Provision system. Youth Work Ireland will continue to use the films to advocate for positive change and to get the young people’s voices heard.
“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.” Samuel Beckett