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‘The Deepest Breath’ Creator Shares Inspiration Behind Netflix’s Popular Documentary

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'The Deepest Breath' Documentary

The Deepest Breath, an intriguing documentary about Italian freediver Alessia Zecchini, captivates audiences from its compelling opening sequence. Director Laura McGann had a surplus of content for the film as the deepdiving community was enthusiastic about sharing their experiences.

Documentaries may not be the preferred genre for everyone, yet occasionally, a film emerges that shatters its confines and invades mainstream dialogue. Such is the case with The Deepest Breath, a recent Netflix offering that’s causing a sensation on the streaming service, boasting a staggering 97% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (contrasted with an 83% average from critics). The plot revolves around famed athlete Alessia Zecchini, an Italian freediver striving to shatter world records.

The premise of The Deepest Breath may seem so specialized that audiences could initially consider skipping it, but the film’s opening segment — a gripping 4-minute deepdiving shot with minimal editing — is persuasive enough to keep viewers engaged until the end. In a discussion with A.Frame, documentary director Laura McGann (known for Revolutions) confessed that deciding to plunge into the project was relatively easy once she realized she was dealing with a topic she’d never seen portrayed on screen before:

“I read about Alessia in The Irish Times, and what first struck me were the pictures of the freedivers holding their breath underwater. Their behavior resembled seals and dolphins more than humans. I thought, ‘I’ve never witnessed this before. I’m unsure if others have as well, but I believe it could be spectacular to experience on the big screen.”

Image via Sundance

‘The Deepest Breath’ Review: A Unique And Heartbreaking Exploration Into The World Of Free Diving

The Deepdiving Community Was “Delighted” to Share Their Stories

McGann also discloses that gathering content for the documentary was no obstacle, given that all individuals within that circle were “delighted” to participate in a Zoom discussion about freediving with her. She also amassed a wealth of material from professional freediver Stephen Keenan (a key figure in the story), which included 13 hours of audio interviews and extensive footage captured by Keenan throughout his remarkably successful career.

The Deepest Breath illuminates the extreme and often perilous nature of freediving while portraying a narrative about pushing the human body to its ultimate boundaries and observing its reactions. Importantly, the documentary also presents a love story typically found in romance films: two lovers whose paths are seemingly fated to intersect despite years of searching for one another.

The Deepest Breath is now available for streaming on Netflix. You can view the trailer below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ‘The Deepest Breath’ Documentary

What is the documentary ‘The Deepest Breath’ about?

‘The Deepest Breath’ is a documentary about the famous Italian freediver Alessia Zecchini. The film showcases her attempts to break world records, portrays the extreme and often dangerous nature of freediving, and tells a love story of two lovers whose paths are destined to cross.

Who is the director of ‘The Deepest Breath’?

The director of ‘The Deepest Breath’ is Laura McGann, known for her work on the film ‘Revolutions.’

What is unique about the documentary ‘The Deepest Breath’?

The unique aspect of ‘The Deepest Breath’ is its exploration of the niche world of freediving, a rarely portrayed sport that involves athletes diving deep underwater while holding their breaths. The film also presents a love story typically found in romance films, adding another layer to its narrative.

Where can I watch ‘The Deepest Breath’?

‘The Deepest Breath’ is available for streaming on Netflix.

How has ‘The Deepest Breath’ been received by audiences?

‘The Deepest Breath’ has been positively received, with a 97% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite being a niche subject, it has successfully entered mainstream conversation due to its engaging narrative and powerful storytelling.

More about ‘The Deepest Breath’ Documentary

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Jenny_LovesDocs July 25, 2023 - 8:11 pm

OMG! the deepest breath is soooo good! i was on the edge of my seat the whole time!! Laura McGann did an amazing job. Kudos!

CinemaLover101 July 25, 2023 - 8:56 pm

such an underrated sport & an underrated doc! why aren’t we talking more about this. exceptional job Netflix!

Kevin_SportsFan July 26, 2023 - 3:10 am

not into documentaries much but gave this one a shot. turns out, its pretty cool. Alessia is a beast, respect.

SandraReviews July 26, 2023 - 5:37 am

Finally, a documentary that doesn’t bore me to sleep. It’s intense, it’s thrilling, and that love story bit was unexpected but nice touch!

Mike87 July 26, 2023 - 10:50 am

just watched this on Netflix, great docu! Alessia is a true champ, never thought freediving could be so intense!

PaulFreeDiver July 26, 2023 - 10:55 am

being a freediver myself, this doc really does justice to our sport. Alessia is an inspiration to us all. Love the film!


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