The Irish titles will screen as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, running from January 19th-29th in Utah.
‘It’s Not Yet Dark’ from Frankie Fenton examines the life of fellow Irish Director Simon Fitzmaurice, based on the autobiography of the same title. Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2008 and has continued to direct against the odds, writing and directing feature film ‘My Name is Emily’ last year, using only his eyes.
The documentary captures the journey of the Fitzmaurice family, including behind the scenes footage from his debut feature, on which Fenton also directed additional footage.
The project is narrated throughout by Irish Actor Colin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and produced by Kathryn Kennedy of Kennedy Films and Lesley McKimm, formerly of Newgrange Pictures.
‘In Loco Parentis’ directed by David Rane and Neasa Ní Chianáin explores the world of of Headfort, Co. Meath, which is the only remaining boarding school for primary age children in Ireland.
The project blends the modern teaching of the staff against the 18th century building, focusing particularly on two of the longest-serving staff members, John and Amanda Leyden, who met as teachers in the 1970s and live on the grounds.
‘In Loco Parentis’ also recently screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, making it the only Irish title ever to be selected in just under thirty years of IDFA.
James Hickey, Chief Executive, the Irish Film Board:
“As the largest independent film festival in the US, the Sundance Film Festival provides an important and powerful platform for both Irish films It’s Not Yet Dark and In Loco Parentis to achieve global recognition. Ireland has had a very successful experience at the festival over the years with films such as 'Brooklyn', 'The Guard' and 'Calvary' all having had World Premieres here. The importance of being selected for major festivals such as Sundance cannot be underestimated in terms of ensuring wide international audiences for the films. Both films were chosen from thousands of international films and we are very proud of the teams behind each project.”
Frankie Fenton, Director, ‘It’s Not Yet Dark’:
“It's the highest honour to have our film invited to screen at the Sundance Film Festival. We're all smiling with the news. It means so much to our small team to know that we are bringing Simon and Ruth's inspirational story to Utah audiences."
Neasa Ní Chianáín, Director, ‘In Loco Parentis’:
"We are so delighted to be invited. When we got the call from the Sundance Film Festival programmers, we couldn't believe it. They said that ‘the world needs a life-affirming film like this at the moment,’. Our audiences in Amsterdam laughed and cried through our film, and we are so looking forward to showing it to an American audience at the Sundance Film Festival next. It is a great opportunity to get our small film about these remarkable teachers in this amazing school out to a wider audience.”
Both titles received funding from the Irish Film Board.