In 2005, Ira Mowen and Luca Antonucci had an idea to capture an aerial view of their fair city of San Francisco. After, only a few days of planning, they strapped a video camera to 30 red, helium-filled balloons and let it go from the highest point in the city, Twin Peaks. As this Eye-in-the-Sky slowly lingered over the city, the co-conspirators stood spell-bound. Quite suddenly, a gust of wind blew the camera south and the adventure started.
That day something clicked for all of the participants: they were moved by this image and began to realize how important it was to retrieve that camera; that they were in a sense, chasing beauty.
Ira and Luca took the project to Berlin, Germany where upon retrieving their first aerial footage realized the beauty and potential of the project.
Upon uploading "Berlin By Red Balloons" to Youtube, they received a huge and immediate response. Over half a million views, interviews by CNN, and other news organizations as well as numerous features and awards. It was evident how much people loved the idea. Both Balloonists (as they came to be called) immediately created a website, built a loyal Youtube following, and began planning for a Balloon Project Tour.
The Balloon Project comes with no strings attached: just wind, gravity, and a mad chase to discover the balloon-lifted camera’s final resting place.
Ira and Luca are currently seeking sponsorship for their Balloon Project Tour. The tour is all inclusive, as Ira and Luca, intend to reach out to as many diverse communities, across the world, as possible.
The Balloon Project’s arrival in New York drew out twenty participants and yielded two successful launches; one in Times Square on New Years Eve and a week later in Central Park. As more people joined in, Luca and Ira realized The Balloon Project serves a dual purpose: it is both a community-building event as well as experimental, Do-It-Yourself, filmmaking radicalness.
As the Balloonists began posting more aerial camera footage online, they found the reaction noteworthy. Simply through word-of-mouth, friends began telling friends about this “balloon project" and thousands began logging on to follow The Balloon Project and see where it would go next. Many viewers asked when a launch would come to their own town. Thus, the tour was born.