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Dublin musical documentary North Circular acquired by Lightdox following Sheffield DocFest premiere
27 Jun 2022 : Nathan Griffin
North Circular
Luke McManus’ musical ode to contemporary Dublin has been picked up by international sales and distributor agency, Lightdox.

The Swiss-based company acquired the feature documentary following its international premiere at the Sheffield Doc Festival last week. The film made its world premiere earlier this year at the Dublin International Film Festival where it won the Special Mention Award.

“Visually and sonically striking, we were absolutely captivated by Luke McManus’ beautiful directorial debut from the first glimpse,” said Lightdox founder and CEO, Anna Berthollet. “North Circular is a film that shines such depth and complexity on bigger subjects like gentrification, community and history through touching personal stories, creating a love letter to this iconic place which has a turbulent history as well as present.”

McManus’ has previously attended the prestigious Sheffield Doc Festival with his IFTA winning documentary The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid receiving its UK premiere at the festival back in 2018.

A rousing celebration of one of the city’s defining thoroughfares, North Circular was funded under the Arts Council of Ireland’s Reel Art scheme, and 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.

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Lightdox,” director Director Luke McManus told IFTN. “Their select slate of highly creative and urgently relevant documentaries makes Anna Berthollet, Bojana Maric and the Lightdox team the ideal people to represent North Circular”

“North Circular is a personal film. I have lived just off the road itself for two decades and remain fascinated by its variety, by its contradictions, by the competing tensions that it finds within itself,” added McManus. “There are numerous themes, characters and issues bubbling beneath the surface of the North Circular Road when you walk along it. A certain darkness at times, a celebratory energy at others: this single road encompasses so much diversity of human experience. This film will only ever be a glimpse of life on a couple of moments in the complex history of this multi-faceted place.”

North Circular is produced by Elaine Gallagher and Luke McManus of Madhouse Films, with funded from the Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon.

Speaking about the reaction to the film so far, producer Elaine Gallagher added: “It has been wonderful to see the powerful audience reaction to North Circular, first at the Dublin International Film Festival and now at Sheffield DocFest. Now with our global partnership with Lightdox, we are looking forward to bringing inner-city Dublin to the world.”

Lightdox will announced plans for a theatrical release in the coming weeks.

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