Story of First Human-Powered Flight Across English Channel To Be Told in New Black Films, Altitude Documentary ‘The Flight of Bryan’ (EXCLUSIVE)

A new feature documentary will examine the historic journey of the first human-powered aircraft to fly the English Channel.

“The Flight of Bryan” (working title), which is being introduced to buyers by Altitude Film Sales at this week’s American Film Market, tells the true story of self-taught U.S. hang glider pilot Bryan Allen, who flew his pedal-powered aircraft, the Gossamer Albatross, across the waterway connecting Britain and France in 1979.

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The journey came two years after Allen made his first human-powered aircraft flight in Shafter, California, piloting his airplane to a speed of roughly 11 miles per hour and producing just under 0.5 horsepower.

The film, which is in post-production, is directed by James Erskine, who previously collaborated with Altitude on “Billie,” a 2019 documentary about American singer Billie Holliday.

The pic is produced by Alex Holmes, Victoria Gregory, Sean Sorensen, Philipp Manderla and Adele Reeves.

A synopsis from Altitude describes the project as a “genre-busting tale” of how unemployed amateur cyclist Bryan Allen and debt-laden father-of-three Paul MacCready, together with a “rag-tag team of neuro-diverse outliers,” set out on a death-defying, madcap quest to untangle the mystery of human-powered flight and in doing so win the most coveted prize in aviation.

The doc is built from a collection of recently discovered 16mm footage and an “arsenal of innovative techniques.”

Backed by Red Bull Studios, the doc is another sign of the media company’s growth in the film and TV space. Earlier this year, a Red Bull-produced doc for the BBC detailed long-distance runner Mo Farah’s journey in telling the true story about his background, and coming to the U.K. as a victim of child trafficking.

Altitude Media Group marks its 10th anniversary this year. Chairman and co-CEO Will Clarke sat down with Variety for an in-depth conversation about the British firm’s expansion.

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