Sundance Film begins Tomorrow, 19 January with Two Irish Films in Competition
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival begins in Park City, Utah tomorrow, 19 January, running until 29 January with two Irish documentaries screening in Competition. Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s In Loco Parentis and Frankie Fenton’s It’s Not Yet Dark will both screen in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.
Now in its thirty-ninth year, the Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the United States and will feature some of the world’s best upcoming feature films, documentaries and short films. Irish titles, In Loco Parentis and It’s Not Yet Dark comprise two of the twelve international documentaries competing in the World Cinema Documentary category of the festival.
Three years in the making, In Loco Parentis tells the story of Headfort; the last remaining boarding school for primary-age children in Ireland. The documentary is set on a sprawling estate in Kells, Co. Meath and focuses on two of the longest-serving staff members, John and Amanda Leyden, who met at the school in the 1970s and still live on the grounds. Serving as mentors and surrogate parents for the children in their care, the documentary offsets Headfort’s dramatic 18thcentury backdrop against the school’s ultra-modern and brilliant teaching staff.
Frankie Fenton’s It’s Not Yet Dark is based on award-winning Irish filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice’s acclaimed memoir of the same name following his diagnosis with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) in 2008. The documentary chronicles Simon’s life from the point of his diagnosis at the age of 34. Narrated by Colin Farrell, this life-affirming documentary covers the full spectrum of Simon’s journey, including showcasing behind-the-scenes footage of him directing his first feature film—My Name is Emily—through the last physical attribute he has control over; his eyes.
In Loco Parentis will receive its North American premiere at Sundance, following its IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) world premiere in November 2016, while It’s Not Yet Dark’s selection for Sundance will mark the international premiere for Fenton’s documentary. In Loco Parentis is produced by David Rane of Soilsiú Films and It’s Not Yet Dark is produced by Kathryn Kennedy of Kennedy Films and Lesley McKimm, formerly of Newgrange Pictures. Both films are supported by the IFB.