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new three-part TV series starting on RTE this Thursday takes a look at life for young people in Bray.
Shot over one year, filmmaker Adrian McCarthy and his documentary crew followed the ups and downs of ten individuals in our neighbouring town.
Singer/songwriter Joni. Pic: GG
It was during his work as a location manager for feature films that McCarthy first became fascinated with Bray. “I always found it a really interesting town,” he told The Irish Times today, “because it’s a proper seaside town and it’s always had this kind of identity crisis…
“You’ve got working class Bray, you’ve got middle-class Bray and everything in between. It’s in the shadow of Dublin, so it has this identity thing. Maybe because I grew up down in west Cork and we were always saying, ‘We’re different to Cork city‘, I liked the way that a lot of people, though their back garden might have been literally on the border with Dublin, were still very proud to be Bray.”
Pic: Chris Dobson
As to choosing the ten young people in Our Town to represent a diverse cross-section of the town, McCarthy flatly states, “Anyone who wanted to be in it we didn’t really go with“.
In the end, they went with young football protege Dylan, just back from being scouted for an English football club and now with Bray Wanderers; indie singer/songwriter and actor Joni; potential Olympian boxer Regan; early school leavers Correy and Luke; dreadlocked environmentalist Aed; trainee nurse and single mother Gabi; grieving Ciara turning to a course in horsemanship; Malawi-born rappers CJ and Sammy, aka Bray Side Boyz.
McCarthy with Kelly & O’Carroll
When it came to the final edit on Our Town, McCarthy – who made the Wildfire Films/Curious Dog Films series with co-director Judy Kelly, producers Oda O’Carroll and Martha O’Neill, editor/writer Brenda Morrissey and RTE exec producer Grainne McAleer – was sure to check with the participants that they were happy with what they saw.
“They had to feel like it’s okay,” he explains. “Especially when they were under pressure. It goes out on TV and they’re going to get what they get locally, and I’m very conscious of that…”
When it came to finding a voice for the narration, McCarthy and co kept it close to home too, choosing 29-year-old Royal Hotel receptionist Jasmin Anderson – who had never done anything like this before. “I tell the story of everyone in Bray,” she says, “but I don’t tell anything about myself“, although Anderson admits to being moved to tears by CJ’s experiences of racism. “I actually cried when I saw that part in the show because I’m mixed race myself, so I’ve seen what racism can do and how it can affect your mental health.”
For McCarthy, as much as he was keen to deal with the difficulties his subjects faced, there was a strong instinct from the team to also emphasise the positive.
And to show through all of their personal battles and personal victories the strong love these individauls feel for their home town…
Our Town starts on RTE2 this Thursday at 9.30pm. Main pics by Arthur Janowsky.