Pole-vaulting sensation Armand “Mondo” Duplantis is poised for another potential record-breaking journey as Red Bull Studios continues to distribute the documentary feature, “Born to Fly,” detailing his life.
Thus far, the film has secured distribution in several countries, including Germany (Sky), France (Canal+), Switzerland (3+ and RTS), Norway (NRK), Finland (MTV3), Spain (Movistar Plus+), Belgium (VRT), and Estonia (ERR).
Sebastian Burkhardt, Head of Partnerships and Commercial Strategy at Red Bull Studios, expressed their delight at partnering with global broadcast networks to showcase the incredible athlete and his sport to a worldwide audience.
Directed by Brennan Robideaux, who closely followed Duplantis for six years, the documentary chronicles the athlete’s journey from being a child prodigy to becoming a world champion and an Olympic gold medalist. It’s noteworthy that Duplantis set a new world record as recently as September.
Robideaux shared his initial impressions of the Duplantis family and the sport of pole vaulting, which he found captivating. He emphasized the intense dedication Mondo displayed and explored the origins of his exceptional mentality. The director, hailing from a small town, admitted he had never met anyone with such lofty dreams and exceptional skills as Duplantis.
The film, produced by Red Bull Studios in collaboration with Robideaux’s Robi Creative, BCII Production, and Backflip Media Stockholm, first had a theatrical release in Sweden. The public broadcaster SVT aired its broadcast premiere, and it is now set to make its North American debut at the Austin Film Festival.
Robideaux highlighted that the film delves into the rich backstory of Duplantis and his father, offering both a biographical and coming-of-age narrative. The director recounted the many years he spent working on the documentary alone and the financial struggles he faced. He described the setbacks in Duplantis’s career as pivotal moments in the film, both from a friend’s perspective and as someone striving to make ends meet.
Despite enduring weeks of hardship in Europe, sleeping on floors and surviving on minimal resources, Robideaux had to remain focused, even in the face of Duplantis’s competition setbacks. His journey was marked by personal sacrifices, including supporting his family.
Now, Robideaux is hopeful that “Born to Fly” will resonate with audiences beyond the realm of sports. He views it as a compelling story of a father and son and an exploration of the remarkable journey of one of the greatest athletes of our time, someone who will likely continue to dominate track and field, breaking records that will shape the sport’s future.
Reflecting on his personal transformation, Robideaux acknowledged that he had grown as a filmmaker throughout the documentary’s production. While the experience of reviewing the initial footage and recognizing its shortcomings was challenging, he is ultimately proud of the end result, as it represents his personal journey. Starting the project at 21 and completing it at 28, he has undergone significant changes, including preparing for the arrival of his first child.
Robideaux pointed out the inherent drama in sports and emphasized the importance of discovering the personal narratives that underlie the drama, along with individuals willing to share their stories.
While he has not yet seen the documentary “Beckham,” Robideaux cited a similar phenomenon with his wife, who, despite lacking prior interest in American football, became a fan after watching Netflix series “Quarterback” featuring Patrick Mahomes. This change in perspective encouraged him as he believes that major sports companies and rights holders are increasingly recognizing the potential for engaging storytelling.
He concluded by expressing his availability to take on future projects, highlighting the abundance of untold stories waiting to be shared.