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‘The Balloonists’: John Dower To Direct Docu Feature About First Aeronauts To Circumnavigate The World In Hot Air Balloon; Anonymous Content, Red Bull Studios & Rise Films To Produce

EXCLUSIVE: Anonymous Content, Red Bull Studios and Rise Films have partnered to produce new documentary feature The Balloonists following Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard and English balloonist Brian Jones. BAFTA and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker John Dower has come aboard to direct the project and Anonymous Content’s AC Independent will oversee sales.

The Balloonists follows the unlikely duo of Swiss explorer Piccard and British flying instructor Jones who, in 1999, took on the world’s leading aeronauts and ultra-rich adventurers in a race to become the first people to fly nonstop around the world in a hot air balloon. Many in the aviation community believed this to be an impossible feat, after years of failed attempts by balloonists from across the globe. More than most racing sports, ballooning is subject to the capricious whims of nature. An aeronaut must learn to accept the unexpected and respect their position in the hierarchy of the natural world, or risk facing the full force of it. 

“When Teddy first approached me with the story of Bertrand and Brian’s journey, I had never heard of it and knew nothing about ballooning,” said Dower. “In my mind, that’s always a great starting point for non-fiction, especially with a story as extraordinary as theirs. There’s a real hunger for adventure stories but this one is full of such awe and wonder – things we could really do with a bit more of in our lives at the moment. I look forward to working with Rise Films, Anonymous Content and Red Bull Studios to bring this enthralling story to audiences.” 

The film is co-financed by Anonymous Content and Red Bull Studios. Oscar-nominated producers Teddy Leifer and Guy Horlock of Rise Films will produce the project while Anonymous Content’s David Levine, Nick Shumaker and Jessica Grimshaw and Red Bull Studios’ Philipp Manderla and Charlotte Cheung will exec produce. Associate producers for Rise Films are Florrie Priest and Sam Stanley. Dave Matlin repped Rise Films in the deal. 

Dower is one of the UK’s leading documentary directors. His feature Thrilla in Manila was in competition at Sundance and was BAFTA and Emmy nominated. His 2013 film Bradley Wiggins: A Year