North Circular, the black and white documentary musical that journeys along Dublin's North Circular Road, has won a prestigious Grand Prix at France’s biggest documentary festival, FIPADOC.

The prize was awarded at the Gare du Midi Theatre in the Basque town of Biarritz at the festival’s closing ceremony on Friday.

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The jury awarded the film from a programme of thirteen documentary features selected in competition for the Grand Prix for Music Documentary, which includes a €5,000 prize for the director.

The jury praised the film for the quality of its music, the strength of its storytelling and its aesthetic approach.

The film, which is written and directed by Luke McManus, edited by John Murphy (An Cailín Ciúin) and produced by McManus and Elaine Gallagher, also features appearances from some of the leading artists of the Irish folk and trad scene including John Francis Flynn, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Lisa O’Neill and Ian Lynch of Lankum as well as a special appearance by Up The Flats singer Gemma Dunleavy.

Speaking about the award, McManus said "To have our French premiere and our first screening outside the English-speaking world at a festival as prestigious as FIPADOC was exciting, to be in competition for a Grand Prix was thrilling, but to actually win the Grand Prix was amazing.

"Thank you to the jury and festival organisers for selecting the film and also to the creative team behind the film, the musicians and all the participants and the people of the North Circular Road for making this dream project a reality."

North Circular is McManus's debut feature documentary as a director and was entirely funded by The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon under their ReelArt funding scheme.

The film had its World Premiere at Dublin IFF 2022, where it won the Special Mention Award in the Documentary competition, its International Premiere at Sheffield DocFest 2022 and the film has also won awards at Louth IFF and IndieCork as well as now FIPADOC.

Gemma Dunleavy: up the NCR

The US premiere is next for North Circular, with the film screening at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February, where McManus will be in attendance as part of an Irish delegation including director Alison Millar (Lyra), Colm Bairéad (An Cailín Ciúin) and The Banshees of Inisherin Oscar nominees Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell.