NOW FEATURING: Fly Spiti
Make sure you catch this exhilarating film in our online cinema from 16th November 2020. You'll join two of the most experienced paragliding pilots around as they take us on a risky yet breathtaking exploration of the Spiti Valley in the Indian Himalayas.
Don’t miss out – this film is only featured until 23rd November 2020.
Benoit Delfosse's Fly Spiti follows two highly accomplished paragliding pilots, Thomas de Dorlodot and Horacio Llorens, as they engage in an exploration of the Spiti Valley in the Indian Himalayas. Very few people have tried to paraglide the skies of this incredible place, so the team set out to try and find out why...
Despite the paragliders' extensive experience, this expedition wasn't without its risks. The 6500m-high glaciated peaks and arid, dry and rocky landscapes combine to create violent aerial conditions, and the remoteness makes oxygen supplies pretty much impossible. But despite the dangers, these incredible athletes set out on a thrilling scenic discovery of this unique valley and the sky beyond.
We caught up with the film's director, Benoit Delfosse, on capturing this special journey.
Why did you want to make this film?
I’ve been working with SEARCH Projects for about 10 years now. The SEARCH team travels the world seeking out the most remote places to paraglide, so whenever I had the opportunity to travel and film first-time paragliding exploits, I would jump at the occasion.
And then, when Red Bull India invited us to do something together – how could I have said no?
Being in a country like India where the culture is so rich and the landscape so big, and with the adventure itself being so intense, it felt like all the elements were there – and all I had to do was take my camera and follow my gut. How did you meet Thomas de Dorlodot and Horacio Llorens?
I met Thomas back in 2011 and he then invited me on an expedition he was doing in Africa. His plan was to cross the entire continent from Egypt to South Africa and they needed someone to film their adventure. We got along well – and after that, we kept working together on different expeditions.
I met Horacio in Africa, and like Tom, we were all on the same page and have the same philosophy when it comes to nature and travelling. We became really good friends. How long did it take you to prepare for this trip?
It took a few months to get everything settled. Red Bull India did an incredible job and the communication went so smoothly – we all had a say in this, and it really was teamwork!
What kind of climate did you have to endure?
Spending a few weeks at high altitudes in the Himalayas was tricky. The weather is so extreme, it changes from one minute to the other. We had to adapt quickly and have plan A, B, C, D ready because we never knew what would happen that day!
At first, it felt like we would never finish on time – then things started to flow and we got very lucky. For example, we passed the Kunzum pass just two days before it had to be closed for the entire winter season. But Tom and Horacio made incredible flights and that added some magic to the whole adventure.
What was most challenging for you while filming this project?
When filming bivouac flights, it is so hard to go as fast as the pilots. They take off, but then we have no idea when or where they will land... We had to constantly be on the go, and we drove many hours per day trying to follow their path, analyse the weather, and figure out alternatives if they landed in different places.
I had an idea about the story I wanted to tell and I always have an idea or plan of what I want to catch on camera, but that has to be reinvented systematically as the adventure moves forward…
What surprised you most about when filming this?
They were many things that surprised me (in a good way)!
I find it interesting to start an adventure without knowing what will happen. I can picture how I want everything to look on film, but that usually ends up being something completely different because we depend on so many things: the weather, the pilots the rest of the team, etc… but that unknown brings new possibilities that I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of. Being surprised is the best.
Also, I love how Pinto got more and more comfortable speaking in front of the camera and expressing his concern regarding this whole expedition. It was the first time he accompanied paraglider pilots and he basically thought we were crazy and that this would all end terribly…! But he had a lot of goodwill and supported us all the way. What stand-out moments do you have?
Arriving at the Dhankar Fort was incredible! It’s a Buddhist temple situated at 3,894 metres in the Spiti Valley. It was a moment out of time. I had the opportunity to fly there as well as Tom and Horacio. I literally felt vibrations in my body. What was the best part of the whole experience?
Being there with my friends doing what we love most: exploring a new country, meeting the locals, getting lost in the wild and bringing back memorable stories that we can share with our friends, our families, and as many interested people as possible! What's next for you?
These times are quite uncertain. I work mostly in the cinema industry and I have some feature movie shoots on my agenda – I am currently working on a Swiss-Belgian movie – but everything moves very quickly.
Then, there's the next adventure with SEARCH Projects. Tom always has so many ideas all at once that he wants to bring to life. Let’s see what’s going on – and most importantly, let’s have some fun!
About Benoit Delfosse
After having spent the first twenty years of his life in Switzerland, Benoit Delfosse moved to Brussels where he got his diploma at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion. He then stayed in Belgium, his father's birthland, to start his career as gaffer and director of photography on various cinema sets.
Fiction shootings led him to explore all across Europe and many other parts of the world, and this motivated him to direct adventure films. The diversity of projects and people to collaborate with is what drives him to always take on new challenges and to narrate, film, and share stories with audiences.