When you’re floating above a 80 ft stout, or free climbing you’re way to the summit, or racing down a vertical slope with an avalanche behind you — is fear your friend? Is it fear that keeps you going? Is it fear that causes you to double and trip check all your preparations so that even in the face of danger you’re confident you have done all you can to come out unhurt (or alive)?
I’ve gone bungee jumping before, but something tells me it doesn’t quite compared to what the Birdmen are doing all over the world. Jumping off cliffs and flying through the air (with the use of wingsuits) is definitely something that instills fear in me. I’m pretty sure I’ll never do this in my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have mad respect for the men and women who do. For the Birdmen, this is their passion. And anyone who spends their life following their passion is OK in my book. It looks fun as hell, but just not something for me.
Birdmen is a documentary film about the dream of human flight becoming reality. For millennia, humans have looked to the sky and dreamed of arcing through the air, like birds. And now, after hundreds of thousands of years, humans can fly. It is dangerous, deadly, and requires years of training, but a select few have committed their lives to the pursuit of the purest form of human flight: Wingsuit BASE Jumping.
‘Birdmen’ follows the dream of human flight, from its inception in ancient times to the modern world. What started with stuntmen hurling themselves to their death from objects such as the Eiffel Tower has become a respected extreme sport in which athletes zoom through the mountains at 150mph, just inches from trees and cliff faces.
During the film, professional wingsuit pilots Ellen Brennan, Mike Steen, and Matt Gerdes escort you through the inspiring yet tragic history of their ancestral birdmen and then show you the cutting edge of human flight in the year 2012. Matt, Mike, and Ellen are some of the most talented wingsuit pilots in the world – during the film, they pioneer new wingsuit flights in the European Alps and experience the highs and lows of a flying life. Finally, the future of the sport is envisioned, where scientists in Switzerland explain how pilots can soon achieve perfectly balanced and relatively safe flight paths using cruise-control autonomous systems and small engines.
‘BIRDMEN’ is the first documentary ever made that covers the past, present, and possible future of the sport.