- Film & TV
- 13 Dec 21
Olamide Ojegbenro shares his thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Festival Director of Her International Film Festival / Chroma International Film Festival
Ireland is a fabulous country. Sure, the issue of racism is there; it just needs to be corrected. The older generation are still opening up to the idea of new people from different countries, or people who are born in Ireland of African descent, or of Asian descent. It’s still a struggle, especially in film. But the new generation are more eager to change.
In fact, the younger generation growing up in Ireland are very optimistic and happy to see the changes happening. It’s quite slow, but little steps are what really count – it’s exciting to see people speaking up when they see things that are wrong. I’m only young, so my experience is limited. But I know for a fact that a new generation of young kids in Ireland are transforming things.
As a filmmaker, I know it’s still a struggle for people of colour in the industry. We don’t get to see ourselves often that screen. But that’s where you see young people like myself, who have a great passion for the craft of film, trying to develop a film festival around people of colour in the film industry, or trying to cast films with people of colour.
There is not a lot of funding put into seeing people of colour in film, but there are people trying to tell those stories. Having representation on screen would help massively. Music is fabulous – but with film, there is the visual element. If you see people like yourself on screen, that helps in terms of acceptance. Your skin colour, religion, or gender shouldn’t dictate what you can or can’t do, especially in a developed country like Ireland, where there are a lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds.
I’m very optimistic, like many young people today who are eager to see change, that things will definitely improve. It starts with you and I. Little things – such as being respectful to other people regardless of race, religious beliefs, gender etc. and also being aware of our unconscious biases – go a very long way. Ireland has become is really multi-cultural. Its people are accepting that it’s a multicultural society. That we’re all human.
Read Part 2 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism in the current issue of Hot Press:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.
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