Story of Athlone native at the Winter Olympics to feature at Galway Film Fleadh

A feature-length sports documentary which tells the story of Athlone native Gerry Macken and his fellow members of the Irish Bobsleigh team at the 1992 Winter Olympics is to screen at this year's Galway Film Fleadh.

ABOVE: The Irish team, including Gerry Macken (extreme right).

Having wowed audiences at the Chicago Irish Film Festival earlier this year, the film Breaking Ice, has been officially selected to feature as part of the 2020 edition of the Galway Film Fleadh.

The documentary charts the story of Ireland’s first Winter Olympians, the Irish Bobsleigh team, from their inception through to the physical, emotional and political challenges that they faced as they fought to become Ireland’s first representatives at a Winter Games in 1992.

It features Athlone’s own Gerry Macken. Gerry was an elite Irish rower with Neptune Rowing Club in Dublin when he was recruited for the bobsleigh team in 1986 after winning the world renowned Henley Royal Regatta. With his teammates, they would go on to make Irish sporting history but not without their fair share of toil


Produced by Jason Branagan and Karin Larkin for Liberty Video and Kamal Ibrahim for Giant Studios, Breaking Ice marks the first documentary feature from director Jason Branagan and the first release for newly formed Dublin based production company Liberty Video.

“Breaking Ice is a project that I was drawn to not just because of its niche, but because I had a great affinity for the athletes. I found parallels in what they had to go through to make it to the Olympics and what indie filmmakers go through when trying to make films... It took us two years to make this film off our own bat,” said director Jason Branagan.

“The fact we get to show this as part of the Galway Film Fleadh, in a year when there will a reduced, more focused programme is phenomenal and a real testament not just to the team involved in making it, but the contributors and what they achieved 30+ years ago. We can’t wait to introduce Irish audiences to Breaking Ice.”

Breaking Ice was shot in Ireland, the UK and Monaco. Key crew include director of photography Noel Greene, animation director Rachel Fitzgerald and editor, John Michael Philips, with a score by Ken Baker.

The Galway Film Fleadh takes place online from July 7 – July 12. Breaking Ice screens on Sunday, July 12th at 1.00pm. For more information or to book tickets visit

See this week's Westmeath Independent for more.

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