SCHOOL LIFE – In UK cinemas 13th October


A Film by Neasa Ní Chianáin & David Rane

“Irresistibly charming.”

Huffington Post

“It’s not hard to be moved. A gentle but keen-eyed documentary”

Guy Lodge, Variety

“A DELIGHTFUL CROWD-PLEASER. An irresistibly admiring portrait.”

Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

“School Life is as charming, intimate and warm-hearted an observational documentary as you’d ever want to see.”




Click the image to watch the trailer

This very funny and yet poignant observational documentary, which was an audience favourite at Sundance in January, follows two ‘prep school’ teachers, John and Amanda Leyden, who have become legends teaching Reading, ‘Rithmetic and Rock ‘n’ Roll to young pupils at Headfort, an enchanting 18th Century Hogwarts-like boarding school – the last of its kind in Ireland. The pace at the school is hectic and the mood infectious as this eccentric, chain-smoking, and very droll British couple, who have lived and taught for 46 years at Headfort, work their magic in hilarious fashion on fertile young minds. The film reflects a unique kind of warmth and fondness that existed between tutor and ward in years gone by, a genuine love of all that makes childhood so precious.  But, in School Life, for both the pupils, moving on from the last days of their childhood, and the teachers, facing the end of their careers, leaving is the hardest lesson to learn.




Neasa started directing in 2001 with television documentaries. She has directed four feature documentaries, including the award-winning Frank Ned & Busy Lizzie, which won Best Feature award at The Celtic Film Festival 2004 and sold to broadcasters around the world; Fairytale of Kathmandu, which world premiered at IDFA 2007 in the Silver Wolf Competition and was subsequently invited to 25 international festivals and won 3 international awards; The Stranger, which premiered in Locarno FF 2014; and her most recent film, School Life, which had its world premiered at IDFA, 2016, and North American premiere at Sundance 2017, and has been critically-acclaimed in the US, where it was released in Cinemas on 8th September.



David has produced award-winning documentary feature films, including Fairytale of Kathmandu (2007), The Stranger (2014), School Life (2016), animated films, including the BAFTA-winning Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2002), and short fiction films. His company, Soilsiú Films, is a regular recipient of Creative Europe funding, and has had work screened in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, and the U.S. David is the founder and festival director of Guth Gafa International Documentary Festival.


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