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School Life to top the class at Guth Gafa film Festival

THE latest film to put County Meath onto the world stage will return to the location where it was filmed at this year's Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival.

The 11th Guth Gafa festival takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 4-7 August at Headfort School in Kells.

Occupying pride of place in the programme is the award-winning School Life, the story of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, Ireland's only boarding school for primary school children.

Made by Guth Gafa founders, Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane School Life will be screened in the Adam Room of the 18th century former stately home of Lord Headfort, where some of the film's most memorable scenes take place.

“We have taken it to most of the world's top film festivals in such places as Sydney, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Toronto & Barcelona and audiences have been loving it everywhere we go, but it will be very special to bring it back to where it all began five years ago,†explains David Rane.

This year's 11th Guth Gafa film festival features over 30 powerful stories from five continents, including 15 Irish premieres.

With human rights and social issues to the forefront, the programme salutes the power of individuals and community to make a difference.

Highlights include; Singing With Angry Bird , about a children's choir rising from the slums in India, Mama Colonel, about a Congolese policewoman tackling violence against women and Gaza Surf Club where a group of surfers who find escape from battle-scarred Gaza.

There will also be a special focus on Autism with three very different films; from the US (Life, Animated), Czech Republic (Normal Autistic Film) and Poland (Communion) casting a rare light on the lives of young people with autism. This will be followed by a conversation led by Cornelia Suskind, mother of Owen, the Disney-obsessed subject of Life, Animated, who is travelling from Boston, USA to attend the festival.

Also among the special guests being welcomed to Kells by Guth Gafa will be Abdal-Azis Alhamza, co-founder of Raqqa Is Being

Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), and the main subject of City of Ghosts, one of two films about Syria, in which citizen journalists unite in their aim to bring down ISIS.

The festival's music programme includes the classic music documentaries, Long Strange Trip, a four-hour epic about legendary US rock band, The Grateful Dead, and WHITNEY ‘Can I Be Me' the tragic story of the rise and fall of Whitney Houston, both getting the big screen, surround sound treatment at Guth Gafa.

Beginning on Saturday morning, family-friendly films will be screened daily over the course of the festival.

Screenings will take place in three state-of-the-art cinemas created in this unique location, including the Robert Adam designed Eating Parlour at Headfort House, Lord Headfort's private plane hangar and in the rebranded mobile Road House cinema.

Also on site in the purpose-built festival village will be delicious food, a full bar and a festival club hosting live music acts on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Full programme details and booking information are now available on the Guth Gafa website www.guthgafa.com

Guth Gafa's principal supporters include Meath County Council, The Arts Council, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, The Irish Film Board, Creative Ireland, Fáilte Ireland.