School Life director, Neasa Ní Chianáin was one of ten talented European female filmmakers whose work was highlighted during the Sydney Film Festival this month (June).

Held in conjunction with European Film Promotion and Screen International, Europe! Voices of Women in Film aims to address gender diversity in the industry.

This is just the latest accolade for the film & its makers in what has been a whirlwind six months of festivals and awards.

In April, School Life won the Special Jury Prize in the Golden Gate Awards at the San Francisco Film Festival.

The previous month, School Life (then known as In Loco Parentis) won the Prix du Public (Audience Award) at the Visions Du Reel International Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland, hot on the heels of being awarded the Jury Prize for the Best International Documentary at DOCVILLE International Documentary Film Festival in Leuven, Belgium.

Since its world premiere at IDFA in the Netherlands, last November, School Life (formerly known as In Loco Parentis) has been screened at 21 international film festivals in 13 countries and is being enjoyed by audiences wherever it plays.

There are more festivals on the way, but already we are looking forward to a homecoming screening at the Guth Gafa International Film Festival in Headfort School 4-7 August.

Now, that really will be special!

PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS FOR SCHOOL LIFE (Formerly known as In Loco Parentis)

School Life (In Loco Parentis) has won a Special Jury Prize in the Golden Gate Awards at SFFILM,  one of the biggest film festivals in the US, the San Francisco Film Festival!

In the citation, the jury noted: “The jury would like to give a special jury prize to a movie that take us into an eccentric and idyllic world with intuitive grace and a richly empathetic vision.”

The San Francisco Film Festival, now in its 60th year, described the film as presenting “a charming and idealistic picture of what education can be when the needs of the students come first”.

This is the second award the film has received since embarking on the International film festival circuit earlier this year.

Last month, School Life director, Neasa Ní Chianáin walked away with the Jury Prize for the Best international Documentary at Docville International Documentary Film Festival in Leuven in Belgium.

During April, School Life will be screened at the Vision Du Reel documentary film festival in Nyon, Switzerland as well as some of the leading film festivals in US cities, including Dallas, Texas; Durham, North Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona and Minneapolis /St Paul, Minnesota.

Meanwhile, both Neasa & David will be travelling to Toronto at the end of the month for Hotdocs, North America’s largest documentary film festival, where School Life is having its Canadian premiere.

And it doesn’t stop there. A slate of further international festivals are currently being penciled in for late May /June but more about that later!


(So good, we named it twice!)

 In Loco Parentis has been renamed School Life for the purposes of ongoing international promotion.

The new name, which is expected to make the film more accessible to international audiences, has been spearheaded by Magnolia Pictures, which acquired the world-wide rights to the film at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The baptism will take place at the hugely influential Hotdocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America’s largest documentary film festival next month, where School Life will enjoy its Canadian premiere.

The name may be changing but the heart-warming story and the magic woven by this unique film wherever it travels, will remain the same! 


Every so often a film comes along that manages to be inspiring, heartwarming and funny in equal measure.

In Loco Parentis (School Life)  is such a film, prompting The Sundance Film Festival to proclaim that the world needed a life affirming film like it.

Going on nationwide release this weekend, In Loco Parentis (School Life) has just been nominated for a best Feature Documentary Award by the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA).

This perfect family friendly film observes a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Ireland’s only primary-age boarding school.  Headfort School in Kells, Co Meath is a magical place where tradition and modernity are embraced in Hogwarts-like surroundings.  In this topsy-turvy world of rock music, Shakespeare and woodland forts, teaching couple, John and Amanda Leyden have been shaping thousands of minds with their unorthodox teaching styles for almost half a century.

Critics have variously described it as ‘engaging’, ‘uplifting’, ‘delightful’, ‘compelling’, ‘magical’ and ‘utterly charming’.

Irish audiences are being equally charmed.

“Wow! In Loco Parentis is totally wonderful, charming, nostalgic and unique,” tweeted one happy cinema-goer who saw it in Dublin this week.

“It’s a beautiful story & at its heart are teachers every child deserves,” tweeted an audience member in Limerick.

“What a triumph! We three loved it, lots of giggles & sighs of empathy. The essence of the school shone through,” said a mum who saw it in Cork with her husband and teenage daughter.

The nationwide rollout of In Loco Parentis doc starts today, Friday at Omniplex Cinemas in Rathmines, Dundalk, Cork & Limerick; in Eye Cinema Galway,; at Century Letterkenny; Eclipse Cinemas Bundoran; Eclipse Cinemas LiffordStrabane; and Solstice Arts Centre, Navan next weekend where it is back due to popular demand.


In Loco Parentis (School Life) will open today, Friday at Dublin’s Irish Film Institute.
Neasa Ní Chianáin’s film takes a heart-warming look at the lives of two soon-to-be-retired teachers—and married couple of almost 50 years—whose passion and idiosyncratic teaching styles inspire and challenge the young students in their care.
Audiences are drawn into the topsy-turvy world of Latin and rock music, Shakespeare and forts in the magical Hogwart’s like 18th century Headfort School in Kells, Co Meath.
The film will run twice daily from today (3-10 March) at the IFI with
filmmakers, Neasa Ní Chianain and David Rane attending a special screening at 4pm on Saturday afternoon for audience Q&A.
Following next week’s special event screenings in Omniplex Cinemas in Rathmines (6 March), Dundalk (7 March) Cork (8 March) and Limerick (9 March), In Loco Parentis will be rolled out in each of these four cinemas from 10 March.
It will also go on general release to Eye Cinema, Galway, and Century Cinemas, Letterkenny from Friday 10 March.
“We are over the moon that audiences in Dublin and around the country will get a chance to see this life affirming film,” said Neasa Ní Chianáin.
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 was funded by The Irish Film Board, the BAI, RTÉ, Section 481Tax Incentives, RTVE (Spain), Culture Ireland and supported by the Arts office of Meath County Council.
In Loco Parentis had its Irish debut at the Audi International Dublin Film Festival last week.
Check the Screenings Tab for times and venues.

Magnolia Acquires ‘In Loco Parentis (School Life)’

Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to In Loco Parentis (School Life), the documentary that bowed at the Sundance Film Festival last month. Neasa Ní Chianáin directed and David Rane co-directed and produced the pic, which follows a year in the lives of Amanda and John Leyden, an inspirational teaching couple at Headfort, an unconventional (and the only) primary-age boarding school in the village of Kells, Ireland, and the students under their charge. It focuses on their progressive methods of elementary education. Magnolia plans a theatrical release this year.     source: Deadline Holywood


Hot on the heels of critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, we are thrilled to announce four special event screenings of In Loco Parentis (School Life) at selected Omniplex cinemas, early next month.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to meet the filmmakers at the 6.30pm screenings on 6 March Omniplex, Rathmines, 7 March Omniplex Dundalk, 8 March, Omniplex, Cork and 9 March, Omniplex, Limerick.

These screenings follow the sell-out Irish premiere of the film at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival on 20 February and a further festival screening on Thurs. 23 February 2pm at the Light House Cinema (some tickets still available).

In Loco Parentis (School Life) follows a year in the life of some remarkable teachers and their students as they thrive at the unique Headfort School, Ireland’s only boarding school for primary aged students.

It has been wowing audiences and critics alike since its world premiere at the IDFA International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam last November followed by a North American premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival last month.

‘Completely charming’, ‘a film sure to warm even the most jaded heart,’ ‘a  delightful crowd pleaser’, ‘tons of charm’, ‘an antidote to the dark times we live in’  is just some of what the critics have been saying.

Let your friends know and don’t miss the opportunity to see this very special film at a cinema near you!

In Loco Parentis – Official Trailer from Curator on Vimeo.


Hot on the heels of a hugely successful North American Premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival,  In Loco Parentis (School Life) will have its Irish Premiere at a special Centrepiece Gala event at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival on Monday February 20th at 8.30pm in the Light House Cinema.

There will be a second screening of this family-friendly film in the same venue on Thursday 23 February at 2pm. Director, Neasa Ní Chianáin will be present at both screenings for audience questions.

The magical In Loco Parentis (School Life) follows a year in the life of two inspirational teachers in  the Hogwart’s-like Headfort School, in Kells, Co Meath, Ireland’s only boarding school for primary school aged children. Here, for almost half a century, Amanda and John Leyden’s irresistible humour, unique style and passion for teaching, has been shaping the lives of countless children.

Over three years in the making, this observational film has been enjoying rave reviews and unprecedented success for an Irish Feature Length Documentary.

Critics have variously described the film as an ‘antidote to the dark times we live in’; a  film with ‘tons of charm’; ‘a delightful crowd pleaser’; and  ‘a warm work of cinema vérité.’

It became the first Irish feature film to be selected for competition at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) last November and is the first Irish doc to be selected for competition at both  Sundance and IDFA.

You won’t want to miss this special heart-warming experience. Tickets are selling out fast for the two screenings at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival so booking is strongly advised via the link below: