Hydebank (2019) | UK & N.Ireland | 17 minutes

Governing the Northern Irish countryside, Hydebank Wood currently houses 104 young male offenders. Ryan, currently serving a 10 year sentence, has formed an unlikely bond with the prison's flock of sheep. Through their interactions, Ryan attempts to come to terms with the violent act that led him here.

Available to watch on True Story


Director & Cinematographer Ross McClean
Sound Recordist & Sound Editor Ciaran Devlin-Rushe
Editor Anders S. Jepsen
Producers Chris Kelly & Ross McClean
Executive Producers Noe Mendelle, Flore Cosquer & Christine Morrow
In association with The Scottish Documentary Institute, Little Ease & NI Screen

For sales contact alexandra@scottishdocinstitute.com

Docs Ireland Film Festival 2020 - Best Short Documentary
London Short Film Festival 2020 - Best Short Documentary
Leeds International Film Festival 2019 - Best Short British Film
Galway Film Fleadh 2019 - Best Short Documentary
Close:Up Edinburgh Docufest 2019 - Best Short Documentary
Swidnicka Film Festival SPEKTRUM 2021 - Best Short Documentary

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019 - Official Selection (World Premiere)
DOK Leipzig 2019 - Next Masters Competition (International Premiere)
Galway Film Fleadh 2019 - Irish Short Film Competition
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2020 - International Competition
IDFA 2019 - Official Selection for 'Best of Fests'
EnergaCamerimage 2019 - Documentary Shorts Competition
London Short Film Festival 2019 - Documentary Short Competition
Leeds International Film Festival 2019 - British Short Film Competition
Close-up Edinburgh Docufest 2019 - Documentary Short Competition
Torino Short Film Market 2019 - Focus Scannán na hÉireann
Bogoshorts 2019 - International Shorts Competition
Inverness Film Festival 2019 - Bridging the Gap: Red
Cork Film Festival 2019 - Documentary Short Competition
Hot Docs 2020 - Official Selection
Palm Springs International Film Festival 2020 - Documentary Competition
Tampere Film Festival 2020 - International Competition
Go Short International Short Film Festival 2020 - European Competition
Tabor Film Festival 2020 - International Competition 
Glasgow Short Film Festival 2020 - Scottish Competition
Leiden Shorts 2020 - International Competition
FIPADOC Documentary Festival Biarritz 2020 - International Short Competition 
IFI Documentary Festival 2020 - Shorts Programme
FICBUEU Film Festival 2020 - International Competition
Glasgow Short Film Festival 2020 - Scottish Competition
Festivalul Filmului European 2020 - European Short Competition
Docs Ireland Film Festival 2020 - Shorts Competition
Bolton International Film Festival 2020 - Nomination Best Documentary 
Berlin British Short Film Festival 2020 - Documentary Competition
Persona Film Festival 2020 - Official Selection
Sunderland Shorts 2021 - Official Selection
Swidnicka Film Festival SPEKTRUM 2021 - The Youth Perspective Competition 
This Is England Film Festival 2021  - Documentary Short Competition
Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2021 - Northern Ireland Programme

Phil Hoad - The Guardian 17th June 2021

"There’s a Loachian weight to Hydebank, directed by Ross McClean, in which toughness and tenderness butt heads in a young offenders’ prison in Northern Ireland. Ryan is serving a 10-year sentence for an unspecified violent crime – one which, judging by the level of remorse he expresses, was pretty violent indeed. But he finds solace in looking after the institution’s flock of sheep, something that enrages some of other prisoners, who scream “sheep-shagger” over the walls. As we watch Ryan deliver, suckle and groom the lambs, among these uncompromising animal realities is the possibility of connection, love and redemption. Shot in stark floodlit compositions, all of life seems to be inside this paddock."

Neil Young - Modern Times Review July 25th 2019

"McClean makes no judgment about Ryan, his offense, or the appropriateness of his sentence – in fact, he withholds much crucial information that would likely be provided in a more conventional treatment of this material. The unspoken impression is of a filmmaker keen to understand and depict, but not to judge or condemn: the beneficial aspects of Hydebank’s livestock are quietly endorsed, in a film which speaks subtly but clearly in favour of the humane treatment of offenders, regardless of their age or culpability."

Baloji, Stacy Martin & Lydia Ogwang - LSFF Jury

“We’re thrilled to present the award for Best Documentary to a film that we found thoroughly immersive and filled with empathy. Through hypnotic imagery, perfectly languid pacing, and a well-considered distance from and care for its subjects, the film tells a touching story of rehabilitation, intergenerational trauma, and enduring strength of the human spirit without resorting to sensationalism or reductive clichés, revealing its director to be a dedicated—and technically skilled—documentarian.”

Kate Byers, Oriana Franceschi, Neil Mudd - LFF Jury

"Humane, nuanced, thematically strong with an incredible cinematic vocabulary. Beautifully realised. As a documentary it's fresh, and trusted the audience to piece together their own stories. Filmically it stays with you."

Ellie Rogers for The British Film Institute

'....the film that really stood out to me was Hydebank directed by Ross McClean, a delicately observed documentary portrait of a prisoner’s rehabilitation, dutifully tending to a flock of sheep who live inside the prison walls. It’s elegantly paced with stunning cinematography, and at no point does it feel invasive or sensationalistic. It deservedly went on to win LSFF’s Best Documentary award on Saturday night.'

Michał Zygmunt, Piotr Stasik, Patrycja Polkowska for Spektrum Festival, Świdnica.

'For a story about the excluded, which becomes a journey to the depths of our humanity. For the perfect balance between the poetry of the film story and the raw realism of the portrayed world.'

Abla Kandalaft for Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival

"Hydebank has certainly stood out in this year’s festival competitions for its particularly uplifting tone and heartwarming depiction of its subjects, human and animal. Director Ross McClean offers a sensitive, non-judgmental and intimate portrayal of young man ultimately trying to rebuild a life for himself through a new-found passion."

Ronan Doyle - GearrScannáin

“There were better highlights to be seen in short documentary winner Hydebank, a lyrically-paced prison piece from Ross McClean with stunning shots of animal husbandry yielding unlikely effect.”

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