Documentary maker focusses on Bollywood culture

ryan ralph profile

Ryan Ralph from Enniskillen

A 23-YEAR-OLD documentary maker from Enniskillen has had his work displayed by BBC 3.

Ryan Ralph, who studied broadcasting, has been applying his skills to a range of topics in recent years.

And his latest documentary, ‘Becoming Bollywood’ focusses on the way in which a group of women combines the culture of Indian girls living in Belfast with girls born and raised in the country.

Ryan explained: “I’ve had a real interest in Indian culture for a long time. I struggled with how I could make something that would reflect their vibrant religion and festivals, without having to splash out on an expensive flight.”

Ryan had the help of the group’s lead choreographer for the documentary.

“Jayne, who is the lead choreographer and Belfast-born, was a fantastic help. She was very welcoming to me and my camera and provided access to everything I needed.

“I was at every performance and every rehearsal up to the highly anticipated Diwali festival (the biggest date on the Indian calendar). Learning more about the Hindu religion and the Indian-Irish relationship was the most rewarding part for me.”

Ryan is currently working on the Northern Ireland Aim High scheme, that involves placements with production companies over a year and a half period.

His documentary was published on the BBC3 ‘Fresh Online’ website.

“The dancers are really pleased to have something that reflects their hard work and determination. And I’ve had good feedback on the way I have developed the story and the camerawork and editing.”

Previously, Ryan released a short documentary called ‘Roy to the World’.

“It was about an old farmer who had refused to leave the old way of life behind. Here he was at 66, with no TV, no family and all of the old furnishings that his home had when he was young. It played at last years Galway Film Festival and I will be travelling to London next weekend to represent it at the BFI Future Film Festival.”

After that, he released ‘Leaving the Village’ about a small Belfast community that was being teared apart by an impending demolition of the area.

“I followed the families as they prepared to leave the area and neighbours after more than three decades of living there. It has been shown at the Clones and Kerry Film festivals and has just been announced for this year’s Belfast Film festival in April.”

Ryan has just finished editing a BBC NI documentary on set dancing, directed by Eimhear O’Neill – and it’s due for release next Autumn.

For now, the young documentary maker is focussing on film festivals, and a new project.  He said: “I’d start to worry if there wasn’t something else in the pipeline. I have my eyes on the summer/autumn festivals so that’s my deadline.

“I’ve been meeting with drag queens and I’m going to begin shooting with them in a week or two, exploring the themes of career vs personal life.”

FILMING has just been completed on a new hour long documentary all about County Fermanagh.


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