Back in the 70s, a Frenchman named Philippe Petit bravely and illegally walked a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in New York. He was arrested for this stunt, but his legacy lives on in the documentary about his exhilarating accomplishment: Man on Wire. Now, a new incarnation of tightrope walking has been born. Instead of using a wire, a 1-inch piece of high strength nylon climbing webbing is the material of choice and, because of the increased flexibility of the webbing, the sport has been dubbed Slacklining. Popular with climbers for decades as a method to improve balance, Slacklining has caught on and now has international competitions with stunts like backflips, spins and a variety of other incredible feats of balance.
Unlike the high wires of Petit’s generation, these new slacklines are very lightweight and can be strung up in the most obscure and far-reaching places. Over 30 years after Petit’s stunt, a new group of Frenchmen are at it again. The group, called The Skyliners, has pushed this sport to a whole new level by including base jumps directly from the line. Together, they travel to the most exotic of locales to string up their slacklines across cliffs in excess of 3500ft, jumping into the thin mountain air with only parachutes on their backs.
Documentary filmmaker, Sebastien Montaz, followed their quest to be the first to pioneer the brand new sport of “Baselining.” He spent countless hours with these extreme athletes risking his safety on the edge of cliffs all over the world to produce the heart-stopping documentary I believe I can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies). With stunts like walking the line between 3,500ft cliffs without any safety restraints and base jumping off rope swings thousands of feet in the air, his documentary will keep you on the edge of your seat. One thing is for sure, if you’re afraid of heights, his incredibly realistic filming might make you skip a few breaths. The documentary goes deeper into the athletes wild journey, and unlike many sports documentaries, it truly brings you in contact with the pioneers of a new sport.
The film can be downloaded for less than $10 on Seb’s website. For both adrenaline junkies and average Joes, this film is worth the money and the proceeds go to funding the next adventures of the Skyliners. See the long format trailer below: