Inspirational Irish film, Sanctuary, Opens Nationwide This Friday, 7 July


Inspirational Irish film, Sanctuary, Opens Nationwide This Friday, 7 July

Posted: 4th July 2017

Set in the world of people with intellectual disabilities, the multi award-winning Sanctuary, directed by Len Collin, opens in cinemas across Ireland on Friday 7 July.  Garnering universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, 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.

Larry has Down Syndrome, Sophie has severe epilepsy.  The two are attracted to each other and through care worker Tom, they sneak away to a hotel room during a supervised trip to the cinema.  What do they do once they are there?  How do they express a love that dare not speak its name?  Are they aware that in Ireland they are about to break the law?

While these questions are posed the rest of their colleagues seek out their own challenges: an impromptu shopping trip, pints in the pub and a surreptitious cuddle in front of a movie screen.  Dave Allen once said “the secret of comedy is small victories” and these mini triumphs offset the dramatic challenges that take place in a Galway hotel room between two lovers who refuse to be defined by their disabilities.

How often can it truly be said that a film has the impact to change lives?   Never before has such a strong cast of intellectually disabled actors been drawn together for a feature film.  The cast have worked together for many years and are experienced actors and performers, all members of the award-winning Blue Teapot Theatre Company based in Galway.  

Sanctuary is directed by Len Collin, written by Christian O’Reilly and produced by Edwina Forkin for Zanzibar Films, with funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ).

Sanctuary opens at the following cinemas and will tour regionally nationwide:

7 July

Eye Galway; IMC Dun Laoghaire; IMC Galway; Irish Film Institute; Light House; Movies @ Dundrum

21 July

Gate Cork

8 August

Birr Theatre and Arts Centre


Press Reaction:

Paul Whitington, Irish Independent - “Funny, salty, beautifully acted – an Irish film to savour…” ****

Esther McCarthy, Sunday World - "Funny, moving and brave" ****

John Maguire, Sunday Business Post – “courageous and insightful” “A remarkable film” ****

Tara Brady, Irish Times “a must-see knockabout comedy” ****

Brogen Hayes, “Sanctuary’ is a lovely, ambitious project that is full of charm” ****

Michael Doherty, RTÉ Guide “Sanctuary is a moving and funny love story” ****


Paddy Kehoe, RTÉ Entertainment “manages to deliver serious food for thought” **** 

Disability is a worldwide issue that affects hundreds of millions of families—currently around 10% of the world’s total population, or roughly 650 million people, live with a disability, of which 1-3% have an intellectual disability

In 1996 Pascal Duquenne who has Down syndrome, shared the Best Actor Award at Cannes Film Festival with his Le huitième jour co-star Daniel Auteuil.  Sanctuary has several such stars in its cast—audiences to date empathise with the characters and leave the cinema feeling that they have been introduced to a world most of us know very little about.