AN AWARD-winning director has launched a film project to connect people amid the international wave of Black Lives Matter protests.

Hay-on-Wye based Tamara Gordon has made a series of three powerful short films - and is asking members of the public to record their own versions and share the results on social media.

The 51-year-old, who has previously worked with the BBC, Channel 4 and United Nations, said: "It’s important for people to connect beyond their differences at this moment in time.

"This is a simple idea but it provokes strong and emotional responses."

Tamara filmed in Hereford town centre at the recent Black Lives Matter action, recording people sat facing each other as they stared into each other’s eyes for a period of four minutes.

Two more films were made in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, and Tamara wants members of the public to do the same.

She said: "The person who sits opposite you can be a neighbour, family member or total stranger.

"If possible, ask a friend to film and share your experience, telling us where you are and how you felt.

"We’ve had both men and women reduced to tears.

"Some say they felt like they were really getting to know the person. Others are nervous about what people see in them."

The project is based on social research from 1997 by psychologist Arthur Aron who found that four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact brings people closer together.

Tamara says: "The experiment has been replicated by various organisations and artists.

"My project aims to bring people together, creating a positive experience out of issues related to race."

Tamara moved from London to Hay-on-Wye, 16 years ago.

She added: "At the time, it was considered unusual for people of colour to move to the countryside.

‘But I was adopted into a white family and my mum was from Aberystwyth. I have happy memories of childhood holidays in the Black Mountains.

"When mum died, I felt closer to her in Wales, and I was welcomed into the community with open arms.

"When I was pregnant, some city friends urged me to return to London. They were fearful about me raising a mixed-race child in a rural area.

"But I was brought up in a white family and didn’t see the barrier.

"It’s been a positive experience. I truly believe in the lovely African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child”."

Around 200 people came together recently in Hay-on-Wye under the banner of Black Lives Matter to honour George Floyd, from Minneapolis, USA.

Mr Floyd died on May 25 while being pinned to the ground by police officers during an arrest.

Derek Chauvin - who was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck - has been charged with second degree murder.

Three more officers are accused of aiding and abetting Mr Floyd’s death.

Tamara said: "I was amazed to see a crowd of predominantly white people in a rural area come together to call out racism.

"We knelt for eight minutes 46 seconds and then stood peacefully together.

"And I felt optimistic for the future.

"I hope that my project can continue to break down barriers between people."

Follow the project and share your own films on Instagram at #connectblm