Belfast Trio (Tea at Four O’Clock/The Hollow Ball/The Apprentice)is a sequence of three 3-minute films, which can be shown in different orders. Each film is a piece of a puzzle of which the three films form a whole. Taking their titles from classic mid-20th century novels of Belfast life, each film is at once a description of a film to be made, a conversation between characters in a love triangle, and a portrait of a city attempting to refashion itself for entry into a global economy.
The films restage original interviews with professionals from the film and IT industry in Belfast, two industries through which the city hopes to attract investment and establish its’ position within an international pecking order of knowledge economies and creative industries. Interwoven with these interviews are moments of melodrama and documentary explorations of redevelopment projects. The films were made with a crew drawn from Northern Ireland’s film industry, and allude to this image-making economy in which on the one hand local history has a market function, and on the other the city can stand-in for any number of other cities or time periods.
Originally shown in three separate cinemas around Belfast before feature films, most of which were North American, the films hint at the promises and thwarted desires of mobility and economic participation at an international level that characterize the new economy.