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Documentary about Irish emigrants selected for prestigious film festival

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Documentary about Irish emigrants selected for prestigious film festival

Galway Film Fleadh sensation ‘Men at Lunch’ (Lon sa Speir), a documentary by Sean O'Cualáin, has been selected for the renowned Toronto International Film Festival where it will have its international premiere next month.

The film tells the remarkable story behind one of the most iconic images of the 20th century - 'Lunch Atop a Skyscraper' – which is said to feature two Irish emigrants from Galway.

The Toronto International Film Festival is the leading public film festival in the world, screening more than 300 films from over 60 countries and is an important festival for breaking into the North American market.

Commenting on the festival selection, Men At Lunch producer Éamonn Ó Cualáin said:  "We have been overwhelmed by the response since its premiere in Galway and are really excited in bringing the film to an international audience. It is a story of mass immigration and personal struggle, but at its very heart is the journey of two Irish emigrants who went to New York in search of work and became immortalised in the skyline they helped to build."

James Hickey, chief executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) added: "We are delighted that Men At Lunch has been selected for one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world and that Irish filmmaking continues to be represented at the highest levels across the globe."

Men at lunch, which features the narrative talents of Fionnula Flanagan, tells the story behind the famous photograph depicting 11 construction workers eating their lunch while balancing on a beam of a skyscraper on the 69th floor, 850ft above Manhattan.  The image, taken in 1932 during construction of the GE Building, centre-piece of the Rockerfeller Centre, is said to feature two emigrants from Shanaglish, near Gort, Co Galway.

The film was produced by Éamonn Ó Cualáin for Sónta with finance from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, BAI and TG4.

Men at lunch will screen with Neil Jordan's new feature Byzantium, which stars Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton, in the Irish line-up at the festival.  

The Toronto International Film Festival will take place from 6-16 September.

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