We’re the Kids in America is a triptych about three generations of Irish fathers and sons. The film is set in Ireland in 1957 and 1984 and in New York in 2018. The film depicts the cycle of violence and alcoholism while exploring the theme of colonization and culpability. Even though Liam, a laborer tries to drown his son Johnnie in the opening to the film, in the third act he saves his friend from drowning at great risk to his own life. Sixty years later his grandson, Christian now a father in New York is arrested for having a pocketknife that his father Johnnie had given to him. His estranged oldest son, Ned is forced to rescue his much younger brother Marco. The following Christmas, Christian rings Ned standing outside of Trader Joe’s. Ned answers his phone and lies to his father. Christian wanders the streets stumbling onto a couple making love. He gazes across at a pub window filled with indecision he stands frozen in the frame.
We’re the Kids in America was inspired from wanting to capture a silent explosion in the life of a first generation Irish American teenage boy named Ned, when he finds himself in a moment of crisis where he has to make a difficult decision. An image I had was of a teenage boy gazing at rows of Christmas trees and not being able to afford one on Christmas Eve. I want a gritty aesthetic creating three different visual styles for the varying time periods. I want tracking shots of the three main characters. The camera will alternate between handheld cameras with wider lenses when the environment is less stable. In contrast, smoother tracking shots will capture the more anchored scenes using longer lenses. This film is a love song to family and to a homeland that suffered through colonization.