Three Irish documentary titles selected for Hot Docs, Toronto

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Three Irish documentary titles selected for Hot Docs, Toronto

Three Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board-supported titles have been selected to screen at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto. Ross McDonnell and Tim Golden’s Elián and Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s School Life (formerly In Loco Parentis) will both screen in Special Presentation alongside Chris Kelly’s A Cambodian Spring, screening in the International Spectrum section of the festival.

Following its screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, produced by Fine Point Films, Elián recounts the story of a Cuban boy named Elián González who, on Thanksgiving Day in 1999, was found floating on an inner tube in the Florida Straits. Set to the backdrop of a tense and acrimonious relationship between the US and Cuba, the documentary gives unprecedented access to key players in the saga.

Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s School Life has already enjoyed major success on the international festival circuit over the last few months, having premiered at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) in December 2016 and impressing the critics at the Sundance Film Festival in January, with one hailing it as “delicately executed in every department.” Telling the story of Headfort; the last remaining boarding school for primary age children in Ireland, School Life is set on a sprawling estate in Kells, Co. Meath.

Chris Kelly’s A Cambodian Spring is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia. Shot over six years and taking nine years in total to complete, the film charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the ‘Cambodian Spring’ and the tragic events that followed. The doc is produced by Kelly and Edwina Forkin of Zanzibar Films and the project received development support from the IFB.

Hot Docs is North America's largest documentary festival, each year Hot Docs offers an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000.

The 2017 festival will take place from 27 April – 7 May and more info can be found here.

About the films

Elián
Produced by Trevor Birney at Fine Point Films with funding from the IFB, CNN, Content Media and Northern Ireland Screen, Elián uses one boy’s remarkable journey to plot the path to rapprochement between Cuba and the US.

School Life
Produced by David Rane at Soilsíu and financed by the IFB, BAI, RTE, TVE and Creative Europe, the documentary melds two seemingly incongruent worlds as the ultra-modern teaching of Headfort’s brilliant staff is set against the 18th century backdrop of the school’s grand reception rooms, long corridors and secret doors.

A Cambodian Spring
Produced by Chris Kelly and Edwina Forkin of Zanzibar Films, A Cambodian Spring charts the complexities—both political and personal—of fighting for what you believe in. The doc received development support from the IFB and lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through Northern Ireland Screen.