The “Art of Conflict: the Murals of Northern Ireland”, a documentary produced and narrated by Vince Vaughn will launch on Netflix on June 1.
The documentary explores the fact that out of the heart of a violently divided region rose a unique form of expression that has given voice to two groups of people on opposing sides of a centuries-old conflict: the murals of Northern Ireland. “Art Of Conflict” examines how these murals are intertwined with the history and identity of the communities in which they were born.
Filmed in Northern Ireland, “Art of Conflict” explores the impact, purpose, and future of these murals through interviews with local muralists, political figures, noted mural historians, members of the art community, and with the people who live and work in the region.
Vaughn has two Irish grandparents, and took a trip to Ireland a few years back with a friend. He was especially intrigued with what he encountered in Belfast, he told The Irish Times.
“I was really moved by (the murals),” he told the paper. “Before that I wasn’t even aware that the murals existed. I know they came out of extreme conflict and represent extreme points of view. But I think they’re amazing to look at.
“Ever since – for years in fact – I’ve been talking about those murals to everyone. In my mind, they’re like blues music. They’re an amazing art form that comes from pain and conflict.”
Vaughn was aware of Northern Ireland’s violent history, but he decided to enlist his sister Valeri to learn more and put it on film.
“I was only vaguely aware of conflict in Ireland. It was something I heard about and thought, ‘Oh, that’s a shame.’ I wasn’t particularly informed,” he says.
“But because I was intrigued by the art, I started to investigate the murals. And 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. I’m still no expert on it by any means, but I know a lot more than I used to.”
Valeri and Vince spent long stretches of time in the North, interviewing politicians on all sides of the divide including Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
“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,” explains Vaughn.
The movie premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh last summer. Vaughn said “It’s the perfect place for us to show it.
“We’ve been getting a really good response from people so it’s great that it’s getting out there.”
As of June 1 the documentary will be available on Netflix in , UK, US, Canada, Latin America and Scandinavia.