Don’t miss the chance to see the award-winning Irish film that changed the law…Sanctuary comes to Our Screen

Sanctuary Trailer from Len Collin on Vimeo.


Before the spring of 2017 under section 5 of the Irish Criminal Law Act 1993 it was illegal for two people with intellectual disabilities to have an intimate sexual relationship. Due to the work of advocates and the awareness raised by Len Collin’s award-winning film Sanctuary, on 14 February 2017 the law has now changed…Larry and Sophie can be together at last.

Larry has Down’s syndrome. Sophie has severe epilepsy. They are attracted to one another and, with help of one of their care workers, grab the chance to spend some time together on a supervised trip to the cinema. Meanwhile their friends seek out their own adventures: an impromptu shopping trip, with pints in the pub and a cuddle in the cinema. Dave Allen once said: “The secret of comedy is small victories.” The group’s mini-triumphs on an afternoon out in Galway offset the dramatic challenges that face Sophie and Larry, two lovers who refuse to be defined by their disabilities.

Sanctuary is a truly subversive piece of cinema about two young people trying to be together in a world doing everything to keep them apart.

The cast have worked together for many years and are experienced actors and performers. They are all members of the award winning Blue Teapot Theatre Company, Galway. Their powerful, entertaining and emotional performances carry the whole film.

Tom Shakespeare, professor of Disability Research at the University of East Anglia, commented: “I went in with low expectations of sitting through something worthy and dull. I came out feeling joyful, but also angry. This is a laugh-out-loud film which will bring tears to your eyes. Sanctuary represents acting and film-making of the first order. Everyone should see this film.”

How do I get to see Sanctuary?

The team behind Sanctuary have teamed up with Our Screen, the website that lets film fans watch the films they want to see at their local cinema, to provide as many opportunities as possible to see the film.

At the start of the year many of you will have seen My Feral Heart via the same system.

Visit Our Screen to see if there’s a performance in your area, or contact your local cinema to set up a screening near you then spread the word to get people to book tickets…each screening will only go ahead if enough people commit to going to watch. Find out more about how Our Screen works here.

Raising awareness

Setting up a screening of Sanctuary would be a great way to raise awareness in your community about Down’s syndrome and learning disabilities.

Why not make a real event of it? You could ask the cinema if you can display some information in the foyer beforehand or maybe hold a Q&A session afterwards. Contact the team behind the film, including Len Collin, the director, through their Facebook page if you would like a personal message to read out before the screening.

You could have a bucket collection for your local support group or the DSA. If you’d like to support the DSA, please contact our Fundraising Team.

The producers and distributors have kindly offered the DSA a donation of a £1 per ticket for every screening.

Award winning

In the last week Sanctuary has won two major Irish film awards.

It has been named best Irish Feature Film 2017 by the Dublin Film Critics Circle and The Irish Times Ticket Awards. It has received some fantastic reviews in Ireland and over here and we’ll be sharing some of those reviews over the coming weeks.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful film and thank you for your generous support for the DSA.