Film has played a major role during the Community Connections Festival, probably more than was anticipated by the Our Place In Time partners when the fortnight’s activities were being planned. Film was always envisaged as an element, with the Our Place In Time poetry reading and of course the film night to mark the end of the festival. But other activities were filmed too, creating a great digital record of the festival and the people who were part of it.
By the time Channel 4 arrived to commission the film The Huts in 1984, the Wester Hailes community had formed a Media Forum to challenge negative portrayals of the area. They knew from experience that there was such a thing as bad publicity and local residents were tired of the community being used as a backdrop for sensationalised issues of the day. The Huts showed a different side to life in Wester Hailes and has remained a firm favourite with many replays at community events over the years.
It was therefore very encouraging to have so many positive films made about Wester Hailes over one fortnight during Community Connections, from the filming of the poetry walk, to STV Edinburgh covering the Paint It Back session with the Edinburgh Sketcher. The landscape has changed radically, but the local community remains connected to its activist roots. The films made captured all of this but also showed a sense of confidence that there had been many changes for the better and Wester Hailes is definitely looking forward as well as being connected to its past.