Dé Luain, Samhain 01, 2010

Alternative Community Cinema in Donegal


Friday 29th October seen a large crowd gather in Annagry, County Donegal, at the launch of the new Alternative Community Cinema (ACC) initiative. ACC, which has been set up by éirígí activists in Donegal, plans to show various films and documentaries over the next several months with the aim of the initiative to educate through the medium of film screenings.

The first screening which was a Cuban film entitled 'Kangamba' attracted a crowd of over 130 people to the small Annagry Community Hall in the west Donegal village. The film told the story of how Cuban internationalists fought along side the Angolan Liberation Armed Forces during the war against the apartheid forces of South Africa. Those gathered also enjoyed a selection of food and live music by the Afro-Caribbean band 'Talking Drums'.

Attending the event and guest speaker on the night was the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo. Speaking about the film, which Fidel Castro described as one of the most serious and dramtic films he had ever seen, Ambassador Trujillo explained the special meaning the film had for the Cuban people and herself.

Presentation being made to Cuban
Ambassador Teresita Trujillo
“This film tells of the heroism of a small number of Cuban internationalists and the assistance they gave to the Angolan people during a time of war and it is a story we are very proud of in Cuba. There are very few families in Cuba who do not have a connection to this story as almost everyone in Cuba had a family member or friend who was involved with that issue in Angola. It also shows the heros that seemingly very ordinary people can be” Ambassador Trujillo said.

“I myself used to live and work in Africa so this film screening had a particular and special meaning for me” she said. “Doing community development and youth work in Africa and Angola itself I had made a lot of friends, some of who died in the long conflict. The story of Cuba's involvement giving aid to the Angolan people was solely one of international solidarity. Our country helped because it was the right thing to do and in 1991 when the last Cuban soldier left Angola the only thing we took with us was the pride we felt in being able to help the Angolan people. This recently made film brought back to life the events of the time and instils pride in our nation and brings the idea of international solidarity to a new generation.” During the evening the Ambassador was presented with a commemorative poster of the event as a mark of appreciation for her attendance and support of the event.

Cllr Thomas Pringle 
Also speaking at the event was independent Donegal Councillor Thomas Pringle. “This film and event shows the importance of solidarity, not just locally but internationally and what ordinary women and men working together can gain for the people in the face of great adversity” he said.

éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig who co-ordinated the event thanked the Ambassador for coming to Donegal for the launch of the ACC initiative. “Its great to see the Ambassador here with us tonight. She travelled all the way from Dublin by bus to be here for the event. No fancy limousines for this diplomat!” he quipped as he addressed the crowd. “This is a story of international solidarity and it is one we have a long proud tradition of here in Donegal with the likes of Peadar O'Donnell and others and their involvement in the likes of the anti-fascist International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil War against the Franco armies.”

ACC co-ordinator Micheál
Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig
“Tonights event is the first of several to be held over the coming number of months and with this project we hope to educate and inform people about local and international issues. We also hope that it will help build international solidarity and an appreciation and understanding of other cultures” he said.

Thanking those who helped with the event Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig continued “There are so many people who should be thanked, from Ambassador Trujillo and Cllr Thomas Pringle to those who helped organise the project and tonights event. Those too who helped to set up tonight, the caterers and musicians and the staff of Annagry Community Hall must be thanked also for making tonight a success.”

He concluded by saying “Tonight was about solidarity and pulling together. The likes of Annagry Community Hall is for everyone to use and such facilities should be used to their full potential by all of the community for the good of the community. Its amazing what can be achieved when people pull together for a common purpose and use the facilities they have. Hopefully our work here tonight will encourage everyone to organise in their communities and establish similar projects in their own areas for the benefit of all the people”.

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