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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Ireland

EXCLUSIVE: First look at Maurice O’Carroll’s new feature Swing Bout

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- The picture, starring Ciara Berkeley, follows a young boxer plunged into a tumultuous journey on a night of deceit, betrayal and life-altering decisions

EXCLUSIVE: First look at Maurice O’Carroll’s new feature Swing Bout
Ciara Berkeley in Swing Bout

Maurice O’Carroll’s new feature, a crime-thriller titled Swing Bout, is set to world-premiere at the upcoming Dublin International Film Festival, running in the Irish capital from 22 February-2 March.

Before embarking on the making of Swing Bout, O’Carroll helmed the web series Sucking Diesel in 2017 and the documentary Mountrath Unlocked, entirely shot and post-produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and premiered at Galway Film Fleadh in 2021. His debut feature, Dead Along the Way [+see also:
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, premiered at the same gathering in 2016 before hitting Irish theatres.

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The story of Swing Bout centres on Toni (Ciara Berkeley, recently seen playing a supporting role in the series Normal People) who, like most boxers at the beginning of their fight career, has dreams of being world champion. But, here on fight night, amid the bright lights and the chance to box in front of a huge TV audience on a major fight card, reality strikes hard, and Toni finds herself bankrupt on confidence and even lower on cash.

She becomes entangled in a web of corruption spun by her promoters, the Casey Brothers. They and her conniving coach tempt her into taking a dive against a hot prospect with connections to the underworld in exchange for a lucrative payoff. As tensions mount in the dressing room, Toni wrestles with her conscience; a betting scandal brews within the underworld; illicit affairs are exposed involving her coach; the Casey Brothers face a potential murder inquiry; and Toni’s only real friend fights for her life due to inadequate medical attention after collapsing post-fight. Pushed to her physical and emotional limits, Toni confronts the brutal truth of the underworld and the sacrifices demanded by her dreams.

“With its gripping narrative and bold characters, Swing Bout is a white-knuckle ride that keeps audiences on edge, all the while never revealing the boxing ring itself,” the creative team tells Cineuropa.

Starring alongside Berkeley are Sinead O’ Riordan (who is also producing), Ben Condron, Frank Prendergast and Chrissie Cronin. The key crew members are DoP Mark O’Rourke, production designer Darren O’Mahony, make-up artist Aitana Silvana and costume designer Ciara O’Connor. O’Carroll himself took care of the film’s editing.

The 90-minute indie picture, budgeted at €120,000 through private investment, was all shot on location at Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the Rebel City’s largest sports facility. Swing Bout is being produced by Ireland’s Orion Productions. All rights are available.

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