The 9th International Disability Film Festival - Breaking Down Barriers

#IrishAbroad: Sanctuary and director Nick Kelly win at 9th International Disability Film Festival – Breaking Down Barriers

Two Irish films picked up awards at the 9th International Disability Film Festival – Breaking Down Barriers. Len Collin’s Sanctuary won Best Feature Film and Nick Kelly won Best Director for his debut feature The Drummer and the Keeper. The awards ceremony took place at the beautiful Hall of Church Councils in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

Set in the world of people with intellectual disabilities, Sanctuary is a touching and funny love story about Larry and Sophie, two people who long to be together in a world that does everything to keep them apart.

Sanctuary is a world-first for actors with intellectual disabilities. The film features nine wonderful actors with ID, with Kieran Coppinger and Charlene Kelly in the leads, and support from Michael Hayes, Emer Macken, Paul Connolly, Frank Butcher, Patrick Becker, Jennifer Cox, and Valerie Egan. The film also features Stephen Marcus, Amy-Joyce Hastings, Tara Breathnach, Caroline Grace-Cassidy, and Christopher Dunne.

Great achievement and well deserved win for Len Collin and recognition for Blue tea pot actors Kiernan & Charlene and all the cast – so proud of this film and continued success.
Edwina Forkin, Producer – Sanctuary

Breaking Down Barriers film festival in Moscow only runs every two years. It’s an incredible experience to attend the festival and meet so many amazing filmmakers. Also incredibly proud that Ireland was so well represented with myself and Nick Kelly (The Drummer and the Keeper) attending. For us both to walk away with Jury Awards defies expectations Nick bagged Best Director and Sanctuary won Best Feature. It’s a long time since we all assembled in The Radisson Blu in Dublin for the launch of Catalyst, both films began there. For the cast of Sanctuary and Blue Teapot Theatre Company, they are known the world over. Amman, Cairo, Moscow, Warsaw, Singapore, Susan, Kenya, New York, Boston, LA, Sydney. The list goes on with Beirut up next. I am so proud to represent Ireland, Blue Teapot and the film. And also a big shout out to Edwina Forkin and Christian O’Reilly, our producer and screenwriter. Moscow may be cold, but it has a warm heart.
Len Collin, Director – Sanctuary

The award winners of the 9th International Disability Film Festival - Breaking Down Barriers
The award winners of the 9th International Disability Film Festival – Breaking Down Barriers

The Drummer and the Keeper tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between two young men; Gabriel, a reckless young drummer who revels in rejecting society’s rules and Christopher, a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome, who yearns to fit in. This heartwarming story, shows the strength of the human bond, in the face of adversity.

The film stars a collection of talented Irish actors including Dermot Murphy (Clean Break, Raw), Charlie Kelly (The Secret Scripture, Jadotville), Peter Coonan (What Richard Did, Love/Hate), Aoibhinn McGinnity (Moone Boy, Quirke, Love/Hate), Annie Ryan (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Laws of Attraction), Niamh Algar (Without Name), and introducing Jacob McCarthy.

I’m honoured and very grateful to have been given this award, and for The Drummer And The Keeper to have been a part of such a brilliant array of powerful films from across the globe. The world needs to hear these stories. Huge thanks to our hosts and the local audiences who gave us such a warm welcome, and to my fellow film makers who made me stay up far too late.
Nick Kelly, Writer/director – The Drummer and the Keeper

The festival has screened more than 800 films from 55 countries in its 9 years. More than 25 000 people attended Moscow’s festivals and more than 100,000 people in 25 regions of Russia attended regional festivals. Festivals also took place in Armenia, the Kirgiz Republic, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Perspektiva, a Russian Disability NGO, and its partners use these films to educate people in their communities about a wide variety of disability issues