Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s heart-warming documentary In Loco Parentis (School Life) has won a Special Jury Prize at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, where it premiered in competition. One of America’s biggest festivals, this year’s SFIFF ran April 5th to 19th.
In Loco Parentis (School Life) tells the story of Headfort, the last remaining boarding school for primary age children in Ireland. Directed by Ní Chianáin with co-direction for David Rane and set on a sprawling estate in Kells, Co. Meath, 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. The idyllic surroundings provide a space where teachers become mentors and surrogate parents as they usher the young pupils through their last days of childhood.
In Loco Parentis (School Life) is produced by Soilsíu and financed by the Irish Film Board, the Broadcast Authority of Ireland, RTÉ, TVE, and Creative Europe. Critics at some of the world’s top documentary film festivals including IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam) and Sundance have variously described it as ‘engaging’, ‘uplifting’, ‘delightful’, ‘compelling’, ‘magical’ and ‘utterly charming’.
In Loco Parentis (School Life) had its Irish premiere at the Audi International Dublin Film Festival in February, where it received rapturous applause. It recently completed a tour in cinemas around Ireland. For more information on the film see www.inlocoparentis.ie