Funny & Inspiring Documentary ‘Young Plato’ on One Man’s Mission to Change the Fortunes of Belfast Youth in Cinemas this March

Today Soilsiú Films and Cosmic Cat are delighted to announce that their new documentary ‘YOUNG PLATO’ will be released in UK and Irish cinemas from 11th March.

Directed by Neasa Ní Chianáín (Frank Ned & Busy Lizzie, Fairytale of Kathmandu) and Declan McGrath (Lomax in Éirinn, Stephen: My Fight For Life), produced by David Rane (School Life, In Loco Parentis) and co-produced by Hanne Phlypo, Jackie Doyle and Céline Nusse, ‘Young Plato’ is an observational documentary set in post-conflict Belfast’s Ardoyne, where the actions of a school headmaster make a profound difference in a marginalised, working class community that has for generations been plagued by poverty, drugs and guns. The film celebrated its World Premiere at DocNYC and its European Premiere will be at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

YOUNG PLATO charts the dream of Elvis-loving headmaster Kevin McArevey – a maverick who is determined to change the fortunes of the inner-city community where he works. The all-boys primary school becomes a hot house for questioning violence, as the headmaster sends his young wards home each day armed with the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosophers. The boys challenge their parents and neighbours to forsake the prejudice that has kept this low-level civil war on the boil for decades. YOUNG PLATO hums with the confidence of youth, a tribute to the power of the possible.

This poignant and humorous film illustrates how critical thinking and pastoral care empower and encourage children to see beyond boundaries and limitations. We see how philosophy encourages the young boys to question the mythologies of war and of violence, and sometimes to challenge the narratives their parents, peers and socio-economic group dictate.

Against a seemingly hopeless backdrop of crime, substance abuse, and the despair of the streets, (reflected in the suicide rates for young men and boys – one of the highest in Europe), this inspiring headmaster is changing the narrative, helping the children of Holy Cross Boys School and the wider community to find hope and purpose. It seems inconceivable, but the answer lies in the wisdom of the ancients: the philosophical teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Director Neasa Ní Chianáín said: “We’re very excited about Young Plato’s cinema release. We love the way the film has turned out. People are tired of being told what’s wrong with the world, we now need to share stories that help us fix things. Our hero, headmaster Kevin McArevey, shows us how to do just that, as he guides his young wards away from drug dealers and dissidents to ask questions about their lives, but with a dollop of good old Belfast humour, and a wry disclaimer: nothing is the way it seems – especially in Northern Ireland.

David Rane, Founder of Soilsiú Films said: “We are very proud to be presenting Young Plato to cinema audiences in the UK and Ireland this coming March. Neasa Ní Chianáin and Declan McGrath’s beautiful observational film is a wonderful case study of how it is possible to shape young minds by using philosophy and critical thinking to teach empathy and thoughtfulness. At the same time, it’s a portrait of a remarkable teacher who understands that changing the way young boys think, at an early age, can change their behaviour in years to come. Young Plato is a film about how a school of young boys, in a challenging part of Belfast, thrive when they start to ask questions.