18 June 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Irish documentary musical North Circular selected for International Premiere at prestigious Sheffield DocFest
31 May 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Luke McManus' North Circular
The Irish film industry continues its spectacular recent run of international success with the news that Dublin director Luke McManus’s debut feature documentary North Circular has been selected for this year’s edition of the prestigious Sheffield DocFest.

A rousing celebration of one of the city’s defining thoroughfares, North Circular will have its International Premiere on Friday, June 24th at the Curzon Sheffield at 9.15pm.

The film, funded under the Arts Council of Ireland’s Reel Art scheme, tells the story of Dublin’s North Circular Road in the form of a documentary musical featuring appearances by many of the area’s leading musicians including Ian Lynch (Lankum), John Francis Flynn, Lisa O’Neill, and Gemma Dunleavy.

The film reflects the diverse, multifaceted nature of the areas that the North Circular Road connects, touching on subjects from colonialism, mental illness, addiction, the struggle for women rights to imprisonment and gentrification, all told through personal testimony. The film also captures the spirit of the grassroots struggle to protect the Cobblestone pub and traditional music venue in Smithfield from redevelopment.

Shot in black and white Academy ratio, the film had its World Premiere at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival where it won the Special Mention Award given by a Documentary Jury.

The VMDIFF jury called it “a perfect fusion of images, voices and music of the North Circular...all presented in the most exquisite manner, an intelligent, inventive and poetic doc that reimagines the form”.

Speaking about the film’s selection at the prestigious festival, director Luke McManus said: “North Circular is a highly personal documentary musical about the community in which I live. This premiere will give North Circular the perfect debut on the international documentary festival circuit. Having previously had a feature at Sheffield DocFest as a producer, it’s a privilege to come back with my feature documentary debut.”

“Sheffield is justly renowned as one of the world’s leading documentary festivals, so having our film have its International Premiere there in such a prominent slot is a real honour,” McManus added. “Many thanks to Raul Niño Zambrano and the programming team at Sheffield DocFest for selecting the film for the festival.”

Dublin IFF Director Gráinne Humphreys added: “Luke McManus!s new film North Circular is a powerful and moving portrait of contemporary Dublin. A huge hit with audiences at its Irish premiere in Dublin IFF, Im delighted that international audiences will get a chance to see this spellbinding valentine to a city.”

North Circular was written and directed by Luke McManus, edited by John Murphy (An Cailín Ciúin, Atomic Hope) produced by Luke McManus and Elaine Gallagher (The Don'ts of Cycling for Women).

The film was shot by Patrick Jordan, Evan Barry, Richard Kendrick, and Luke McManus. Featuring musical performances from Gemma Dunleavy, John Francis Flynn, Ian Lynch, Lisa O’Neill, Eoghan O’Ceannabháin and Séan Ó Tuama among others. Sound design and mix was by Avatar Post and picture postproduction was by Windmill Lane.

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