Laura McGann’s Netflix documentary ‘The Deepest Breath’ to premiere at Sundance

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Laura McGann is the director of “The Deepest Breath,” an official selection of the Premieres program the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. [Courtesy of Sundance Institute]

Netflix has acquired writer-director Laura McGann’s freediving documentary “The Deepest Breath.”

The film, which was produced by A24, Motive Films, Ventureland and Raw, will have its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The festival will take place in person Jan. 19-29 in Utah’s Park City, Salt Lake City, and the Sundance Resort, along with a selection of films available online across the country Jan. 24-29. Festivalgoers will again return to theaters to check out the festival’s lineup of independent films.

McGann’s film provides a deep look at the undeniable connection forged between two athletes as they navigate the vigorous and competitive world of freediving, according to a news release. “The Deepest Breath” is an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Alessia Zecchini appears in a still from “The Deepest Breath” by Laura McGann, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. [Courtesy of Sundance Institute]

Descending to remarkable depths below the sea on one single breath, Alessia Zecchini enters what she describes as the last quiet place on Earth. The Italian champion is determined to set a new world record in freediving, a dangerous extreme sport in which competitors attempt to reach the greatest depth without the use of scuba gear. Freedivers are often subject to blackouts upon ascent, necessitating the help of safety divers like Stephen Keenan, a free-spirited Irish adventurer who fell in love with the sport in Dahab, Egypt.

Having formed a special bond on the freediving circuit, Alessia and Stephen train together to make an attempt on Dahab’s legendary Blue Hole and its challenging 85-foot-long tunnel 184 feet below the Red Sea.

“The setting and emotional power of this story is what initially drew me into wanting to make this documentary,” McGann said in a statement. “Filming around the world and with the remarkable subjects at the heart of ‘The Deepest Breath’ has been the most inspirational and rewarding experience of my career. The entire team is delighted to be partnering with Netflix to share what we believe is a fitting tribute to the exceptional world of freediving and the fearless athletes in our film.”

McGann is a documentary filmmaker from Ireland who started making films and producing theater when she was 15 years old. She went on to study film in Ballyfermot, Dublin, before getting her masters at Hope University in Liverpool, England. She has worked in Ireland and abroad shooting and directing numerous documentary projects for RTE, SKY, PBS, BBC, Lonely Planet and UTV.

“The Deepest Breath” is produced by John Battsek, Sarah Thomson, Jamie D’Alton and Anne McLoughlin. It is executive produced by Bart Layton and A24.

Netflix has previously collaborated with Battsek and Ventureland on the documentary series “FIFA Uncovered,” the Emmy Award-winning documentary film “Rising Phoenix” and an upcoming David Beckham docuseries.

-BAM

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