Hot Docs 2015: Circus Dynasty – Anders Riis-Hansen 


Screening today at the Lightbox theatre at 6:30 (rush tickets only, I’m afraid) is this magical, and heart-touching love story set against the back drop of one of Europe’s largest circuses, the Circus Arena!

Patrick Bendino is the heir apparent to his the family circus, he’s trained, he’s skilled, and he’s learning to manage and be ringmaster, he’s also in love with Merrylu Casselly, a member of one of the most renowned animal trainer and artist families in Europe, a family that has had a long-standing working relationship with Bendino’s Circus Arena.

It’s a fairy tale come true for everyone involved, which is set against the beautifully shot magical and dreamlike backdrop of the circus. This could make for the biggest circus in all of Europe should these two young people become involved, and (dare their parents and families hope?!) marry. These young lovers are filled with fantastic talent and skill and Patrick and Merrylu seem made for each other. But will conflict end any chance of a happy ending? Will the pressure and the expectations be too much for them? And what happens when the Greatest Show On Earth, Barnum and Bailey come to look at the Casselly family and offer them a job with their circus in America?

With the united fates of the Casselly and the Bendino families hanging in the balance, the entire circus seems to have their eye on the two young lovers, hoping all their dreams will come true…

Colorful and pulsing with the life of the circus that everyone dreams of running away and joining, this is a magical film, a gentle love story, that shows the work, the history, the stunts, and the dedication that take place beneath the shiny surface, as well as the hopes and the desires for all those who work in it. Surprisingly emotional, and thoroughly engaging, this one is sure delight viewers, so welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, to Circus Dynasty!

This documentary screens twice more during the festival, Sunday, April 26th at 1:00pm at the Isabel Bader theatre, and Friday, May 1 at 4:00pm also at the Isabel Bader theatre. This one is one to see!


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