Thursday 27 April 2017

Documentary on only primary-aged boarding school in Ireland being screened at 'most important film festival in the world'

Cian Murray

An Irish documentary observing the only primary-aged boarding school in Ireland will be screened at the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival this month.

The documentary entitled, 'In Loco Parentis', follows teachers John and Amanda Leyden who help run Headfort Boarding School, which is located just outside Kells.

The film which was made by Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane is described as a "observational documentary [that] follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers in the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland."

Ms Ní Chianáin explained that the filmakers own past led them to this subject.

“We both went to boarding schools and had very different experiences so we were keen to know what a 21st century boarding school looked like and to document the experience for children boarding today,” explained Ní Chianáin.

“We are thrilled to be taking it to Sundance, which is probably the most important film festival in the world for independent movies."

It is one of 12 films being judged in the 'World Cinema Documentary' competition at the will be shown several times throughout the festival, which runs from January 19-29.

Headmaster of the school, Dermot Dix told Independent.ie that he has mixed feelings about seeing himself on the big screen.

He said: "As far as I am aware, we are the last primary boarding school in the country. The documentary looks at this and tells the story of two of the longest serving teachers in the school, John and Amanda Leyden.

"Of course I am nervous; us headmasters tend to be control freaks and this is not a promotional film, it was done purely how the film makers wanted. It is quite exciting, but also nerve wracking."

The movie was also the first Irish Documentary to compete at for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam award.

Another Irish documentary, 'It's not Dark Yet', will also be screened at Filmdance. This documentary tells the story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a talented Ifilmmaker who is living with motor neurone disease.

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