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Canmore adventurer’s ‘Unsinkable’ doc ready for local premiere

“There were some ups and downs and moments I didn’t think we would actually have a movie to show at the end of all the work.”

CANMORE – Canmore adventurer Alan Corcoran is bringing the sea to the Rocky Mountains.

The Canadian premiere of ‘Unsinkable’, an award-winning documentary featuring Corcoran’s journey of swimming 500 kilometres in the cold Irish Sea as a way to raise funds for cancer research has sold out for its Jan. 28 showing at artsPlace in Canmore.

However, due to high demand, tickets for a second showing of ‘Unsinkable’ on Feb. 12 are available through artsPlace’s website. Showtime is 7 p.m.

The evenings dive into a 30-minute selection of six sea-based short films to start things off and followed by the main event, ‘Unsinkable’, which explores Corcoran turning black days into a heartfelt adventure. To conclude, Corcoran will host a live Q&A.

“I felt like I put my heart on my sleeve in parts of it,” said the Irish-born adventurer. “It’s obviously about my dad dying, and me coming back from that and trying to prove something and trying to get positives out of the lowest point in my life.”

Corcoran’s father, Milo, died in 2016 after a short battle with cancer. In honour of Milo, Corcoran channelled his grief into something positive. In 2012, the “Marathon Man” also raised funds for charity while running a lap around the Emerald Isle.

However, the long run wasn’t enough.

Rising from the ocean was ‘Unsinkable’, Corcoran’s persistent fight to aid a charity. With a group of close friends supporting him along the way, Corcoran got in a wetsuit and eventually swam the physically demanding length from Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland down the Irish Sea to Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland.

Released in May 2022, the 52-minute long ‘Unsinkable’ has had 14 Official Selections at film festivals in eight countries and won five awards including the Outstanding Excellence Award at the Documentaries Without Borders Film Festival.

The film was directed by Corcoran and Peter Grogan. The Irishman was heavily involved in all aspects of the creative filmmaking process, including filming up to 60 per cent of the scenes himself, and providing feedback on editing. Corcoran was also the main driver for getting the passion project going, throwing lifelines from time to time to keep the film afloat.

“There were some ups and downs and moments I didn’t think we would actually have a movie to show at the end of all the work, so I ended up having to do a bit of a crowd-funding through Kickstarter,” he said.

Corcoran pitched to the internet audience and raised $6,000 euros for the film’s budget through the social media platform, which allows donators first access to goods and products and extras like behind-the-scenes footage.

Part of the swimming story that wasn’t captured on film was a dangerous moment where “the shit hit the fan”.

Joined by partner, Karolína Opová, one day her kayak capsized in the cold sea.

“She was in the water and the kayak was being swept away by the waves and I was also in the water and we had high waves all around us,” said Corcoran. “We were near a rocky island, so it was just sort of a very dangerous moment.”

Luckily, everyone made it out alive. Corcoran said if he had the budget for it, he would have included the dangerous moment as an animation.

The award-winning author and filmmaker said what was created from his 500-km journey is a film that’s meaningful, entertaining and “something we could be proud to put our name to.”

“Seeing people’s reactions was quite an experience to be sitting there and feeling exposed,” said Corcoran.

“It’s a vulnerable film for me and then having to watch it in front of a sell-out crowd in front of new friends here in Canmore, it’s going to be a tough night, but I’m still hoping they’ll like it.”

A book about Corcoran’s ‘Unsinkable’ is tentatively scheduled to be released in August.

Last year, Corcoran released his debut book Marathon Man detailing the story of his marathon per day – 35 total – around the island of Ireland and Northern Ireland for charity.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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