Look, up in the sky! It’s Carl Boenish, the father of BASE jumping! (“BASE” is an acronym that represents four categories of fixed objects from which one can hurl oneself: Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth.) Carl is sunshine personified, a man whose enthusiasm for skydiving – and life – leads him to take spectacular leaps. This masterful biopic takes us back to the late 70s, when Carl has cast off his pedestrian life as a Hughes Aircraft engineer and is about to meet his soul-mate and diving partner, Jean. Fortunately for us viewers, Carl’s passion was “freefall cinematography,” and much of the film’s breathtaking imagery comes from 16mm footage he took while falling from cliffs and skyscrapers, camera strapped to his helmet. Despite setbacks from naysaying park rangers and lawyers, Carl continued to bubble over with good cheer. Jean and Carl broke the BASE jumping world record on the Troll Wall mountain in Norway in 1984. The next day, disaster struck. He would have wanted us to climb the walls and keep going, Jean tells us. Sunshine Superman celebrates the human spirit, in Carl’s name.

Director Marah Strauch attended the Rhode Island School of Design in the USA and is the owner of Scissor Kick Films. A former art teacher and film editor, Marah also acts as the reenactment double for Jean Boenish in her film.

  • Directed by Marah Strauch
  • Produced by Scissor Kick Films & Flimmer Film
  • Starring  Carl Boenish & Jean Boenish
CategoriesIssue 10
Brenda Benthien

Brenda Benthien is a program consultant and the Guest Relations Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival. She works in Guest Management at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck and serves as a consultant to the Cinetopia International Film Festival in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Brenda was involved with starting up AFI Fest in Los Angeles, and has lived and worked in Munich and Tokyo. When she isn’t busy with festivals, Brenda is a German translator of screenplays and film-related texts. Her translation of Rudolf Arnheim’s Film Essays and Criticism is published by the University of Wisconsin press. Brenda lives in Hamburg and runs the Hamburg Review website, a critical compendium of writings on film and literature. www.hamburg-review.de