Sports producer, Sunset+Vine, has been commissioned by BBC ALBA to create a standalone documentary: Kara Hanlon: Dare to Dream.

The 45-minute film tells the incredible story of British champion swimmer Kara Hanlon and her quest to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

This film will go back to the beginning, with Kara recalling growing up in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, where her passion for swimming started. Hear from those who know her best, as they explain how her talent was apparent from a young age – her parents, David & Marilyn, have been her biggest supporters since day one, with David saying – “If anyone wants to do something, you just need to love it, put in the hard work, and you just never know what might happen. If Kara can do it, why not anyone else?”. We also learn how a chance encounter with prominent swim coach, DR Morrison, started a then 14-year-old Kara on a dizzying journey of success. From swimming for the Western Isles at the Island Games, to representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, viewers will learn how Kara came to become Scotland’s fastest ever female 50m and 100m breaststroker. With unique and unmissable access, this film follows Kara as she trains and competes in the weeks leading up to the all-important Olympic qualifiers – can Kara make history and become the first-ever swimmer from the Western Isles to make it to an Olympic Games?

Grant Philips, Executive Producer for Sunset+Vine Scotland, commented: “Filming Kara for this documentary, and following her journey through the Olympic Qualifiers was a privilege. Her story is inspiring, and the viewers will be completely drawn in by her determination and commitment. This programme proves that with patience, passion & resolve, you can achieve great things. The documentary’s title: “Kara Hanlon: Dare to Dream” opens our eyes to the challenge of elite sport. It’s a very well told story.”

Jack Harrison, Producer/Director, added: “It has been an honour to create this film and travel with Kara on her journey from the Western Isles to London. This film will transport BBC ALBA viewers to the poolside giving a unique perspective into the world of elite swimming. Most importantly, it will inspire young swimmers across Scotland to take the next step in their own swimming stories.”

Fiona MacKenzie, BBC ALBA Commissioning Editor, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity to partner with Sunset+Vine to share the story of one of Scotland’s most decorated athletes.

“The documentary perfectly captures the highs and lows of Kara’s competitive swimming career as she candidly opens up about chasing her dreams. Viewers will also get an insight into Kara’s childhood growing up on the Isle of Lewis where she trained in a 12.5 metre pool. This documentary shows us just what it takes to become a professional athlete, and we cannot wait for our audience to find out more about Kara’s remarkable story.”

Kara Hanlon: Dare to Dream is a 1 x 45 documentary and will air on Wednesday 24th July on BBC ALBA and BBC iPlayer. Grant Philips, Head of Sunset+Vine Scotland served as Executive Producer, with Jack Harrison as Producer/Director. It was commissioned by MG ALBA for BBC ALBA.

Jon Creamer

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