Sunshine Superman

genre Documentary
director marah strauch
producers eric bruggemann, marah strauch, lars løge
executive producers alex gibney, josh braun, dan braun, Samantha Horley, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross
country US/Norway
production status Completed
year 2014
us distribution Magnolia Pictures
uk distribution Universal Pictures

Sunshine Superman is One of the Best U.S. Docs of the Year”

“it’s a thrill, and one that seriously rewards big-screen viewing”
Hollywood Reporter

“the most vertigo-inducing documentary since Man On Wire
Screen International

Sunshine Superman

A film about falling


Sunshine Superman is a love story about what it feels like to fall, first uncontrollably, then willingly, and then finally ecstatically. The film traces the genesis of BASE jumping (the act of leaping from buildings, antennas, bridges and cliffs before saving your life with a parachute) an act that many people would consider suicide. Yet it is not at all a film about death. It is about the essence of life, of freedom, of what it feels like, for a moment, to defy gravity, and to fly.

The film tells the story of how one man, Carl Boenish, pioneered, popularised, and died creating BASE jumping. Carl embarks on a journey to realise his dream: foot-launched human flight. His journey is filled with incredible achievements and daunting setbacks with the distinct possibility of death at every turn. Suspense exists in almost every jump being illegal, and potentially lethal.

Sunshine Superman is also a larger-than-life love story. In 1980, Carl met and married Jean Katherine Campbell, who soon became the first female BASE jumper in a small but expanding community that was created by the activity of doing an illegal, death defying sport. The film will chronicle some of the first jumps, arrests, and triumphs of BASE’s early participants.

Carl died BASE jumping in Norway, the day after a World Record jump. Three days later his wife Jean jumped from the same Norwegian cliff, landing safely.

The story of Carl and Jean ends in Carl’s death, but the story of BASE jumping continues, proliferating around the world. The next frontier is wing suit flying. Sunshine Superman takes a small group of young BASE jumpers back to Norway where Carl died to show how the sport has evolved and how one man’s dream has become reality even after his death.

The film uses Carl’s astounding personal archive of film and audio recordings along with recreations to tell the story of Carl’s journey to invent BASE jumping, find true love and die in the act of pursuing his dream, whilst celebrating the human spirit.

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