Contact: Kelly Hargraves
(323) 662-1930


The Irish Documentary Film


Opens in New York on September 20 at the Quad Cinema
and in Los Angeles on October 4 at Laemmle Music Hall

New York City, 1932. The country is in the throes of the Great Depression, the previous decade's boom of Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants has led to unprecedented urban expansion, and in the midst of an unseasonably warm autumn, steelworkers risk life and limb building skyscrapers high above the streets of Manhattan.

In Men at Lunch, director Seán Ó Cualáin tells the story of "Lunch atop a Skyscraper," the iconic photograph taken during the construction of 30 Rockefeller Plaza that depicts eleven workmen taking their lunch break while casually perched along a steel girder – boots dangling 850 feet above the sidewalk,  Central Park and the misty Manhattan skyline stretching out behind them.

For 80 years, the identity of the eleven men – and the photographer that Immortalized them – remained a mystery: their stories, lost in time, subsumed by the fame of the image itself. But then, at the start of the 21st century, the photograph finally began to give up some of its secrets.  Part homage, part investigation, Men at Lunch is the sublime tale of an American icon, an unprecedented race to the sky and the immigrant workers that built New York.

Director Sean Ó Cualáin explains, ”My brother and I were in an Irish Pub a few years ago researching another documentary when we noticed the famous "Lunch atop a Skyscraper” image with a note beside the picture from a Pat Glynn from Boston, Massachusetts. On the note he stated that the man on the far right holding the bottle was his father Sonny Glynn and the man on the far left was Matty O’Shaughnessy, his uncle-in-law. We realized very quickly that there was a great, untold story here. There’s the wider context – the glory of the skyscraper age and the building of the iconic Manhattan skyline—and secondly the parallel story of the European immigrants who arrived in New York during the roaring twenties and were living there during the Great Depression. Finally the mystery surrounding the photograph had to be investigated and told. Was it a fake? Who took the photograph? And, who might the men be?

Andrew Herwitz, President of the Film Sales Company negotiated the deal on behalf of the Filmmakers.

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67 minutes, English, Documentary, 2012
Directed by Seán Ó Cualáin
Produced by Eamonn Ó Cualáin
Executive Producers: Mícheál Ó Meallaigh, TG4
Editor: Dáithí Connaughton
Director of Photography: Reamonn Mac Donncha
Script: Niall Murphy
Composer: Mike McGoldrick
Narrator: Fionnula Flanagan
Additional Editing: John Murphy 
Additional Photography: Andrew Clancy
Picture Grade: John Talbot
Post Production Sound: Killian Fitzgerald
Visual Effects: Thomas Leveritt
Research: Cathal Ó Cuaig, Loretta Ní Ghabháin
Cast: Paddy O'Shaughnessy, Pat Glynn, Peter Quinn, Jim Rasenberger, Ric Burns, Joe Woolhead