The director of a film about Belfast which had a balaclava, nails and duct tape sent out as a part of a promotional press pack has defended the move saying it was meant to “address the issues of a post conflict Northern Ireland”.
A Belfast Story was written by Queen’s University graduate Nathan Todd and stars Colm Meaney as a detective.
Twitter was abuzz with comments yesterday calling the press pack “distasteful” and “bizarre”.
Mathew Buck said: “And the award for ‘most offensive PR item sent to film journalists across the UK’ goes to... Just all the wrong”, while Johnny Carr branded it “a tasteless PR stunt”.
Film director Todd said they did not want to “gloss over” the “weight and physicality of violence” in Northern Ireland in the past 40 years.
“The media packs sent out to press are double sided and represent the choices people need to make between Retribution and Reconciliation,” he said in a statement. “The film addresses the issues of a post conflict Northern Ireland.
“The media packs were not meant to offend or upset anyone but to demonstrate the difficult challenges facing the people and the politicians today. It was important for us to capture the weight and physicality of violence. To gloss over this would be wrong in our opinion.
“Ultimately this is a film shot in Belfast with an entirely local cast (one English actor, the remainder are from the North or South of Ireland), telling a story about their city.
“We hope people will come and view the film and see how it tackles the complexities of life in post Troubles Northern Ireland. Although it is fictional it deals with the very topical problem of former adversaries seeking to build a new society and the difficult choices that have to be made.”
After the reaction on Twitter, the movie’s PR firm Way To Blue said they would no longer associate themselves with the film and branded the PR stunt “misguided activity”.
“We wanted to assure you all that press mailers for A Belfast Story have not been created, produced, or distributed by Way To Blue. We were very surprised to hear of the content via Twitter and do not in any way advocate these having been sent to anybody as a promotional tool.
“Our involvement on this project to date has been PR strategy and screening and in light of this very misguided activity, we no longer feel we can be associated with this film and will no longer be working on the publicity campaign.”