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Festivals News

Irish titles ‘Elían’ & ‘School Life’ selected for Sheffield Doc Fest
12 Jun 2017 : Katie McNeice
The festival which runs from June 9th-14th June with screenings of the titles from Tim Golden (Elían) and Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane (School Life).

A further four Irish projects are featured in the MeetMarket: ‘The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid’ (Feargal Ward), ‘Castro’s Spies’ (Ollie Aslin), ‘Keepers of the Flame’ (Nuala O’Connor) and ‘Shooting the Mafia: Letizia Battaglia’ (Kim Longinotto).

‘Elían’ is produced by Trevor Birney of Fine Point Films who interviewed with IFTN shortly before its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. It recounts the story of Cuban boy named Elián González who, on Thanksgiving Day in 1999, was found floating on an inner tube in the Florida Straits.

Trevor Birney, Producer:
“Elián survived but he just as easily could have become a statistic, just like those children we’ve all seen washed up on the beaches of the Mediterranean in the past few years. We all recall the devastating picture of the little Syrian boy, Alan Kurdî, found alone on a Turkish beach. That could have been Elián. For Americans, the Cuban rafters were trying to get to freedom in the US; but for Cubans the American policy of giving Cubans special immigration status was a magnetic pull that caused many young people to risk their lives in the Florida Straits.”

‘School Life’ formerly known as ‘In Loco Parentis’ is produced by David Rane at Soilsíu Films and was nominated at this year’s IFTA Film & Drama Awards in the documentary category.

It explores the vibrant world of Headfort in Kells, Co. Meath which is Ireland’s last remaining boarding school for children of primary age. It has screened at festivals such as Sundance and IDFA with AFI Docs also running this month.

Neasa Ní Chianáin, Co-Director:
“We wanted to shoot a year in the life of the school, shot purely observationally, no interviews, no voice of God guiding the audience, etc. We knew it had to be a total immersion project for us to get the access and intimacy we wanted to capture. We decided not to work with a film crew but instead to work mostly alone.”

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