Stealing Altitude, a film by John Starr & Roger Teich


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Reviews of Stealing Altitude
(Did We Coin a Phrase?)


"a stylish and unsettling documentary... achieves a grainy, black & white visual poetry"

       - Kevin Thomas, LA Times


"a literally breathtaking look at men who jump from tall buildings"

       - Kenneth Turan, LA Times


"... remarkable for what it tells us about its subject..."

       - Ken Eisner, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver BC Canada


"Since they are rarely screened elsewhere, the chance to see documentaries is one of Park City's most satisfying joys.  Whether they are full length, like Marco Williams' movingly autobiographical "In Search of our Fathers," or tantalizingly short like "Stealing Altitude," a literally breathtaking look at men who jump from tall buildings, by USC film school grads John Starr and Roger Teich, these documentaries alone make the trek to ski country worthwhile."

       - Kenneth Turan, LA Times
         reviewing Sundance Film Festival '92


       "In my view, the best is the lone documentary in the
bunch, "Stealing Altitude," a student film from the University of Southern California, which was also a much-discussed short at the Sundance Film Festival.

       This 10-minute black-and-white exercise in cinema-verite gets right to the point as it chronicles the adventures of "base jumpers," people who steal into half-constructed high-rise buildings at night, then wait until dawn to parachute to the street below.

       What we witness, of course, is a covert sport, and the film neither endorses nor condemns the participants, as it shows both the hazards and the thrills connected with base jumping."

       - Chris Hicks
       Deseret News movie critic, Salt Lake City, Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, online review of The 1st International Festival of Short Films


"Stealing Altitude was one of the strongest films for me.   The University of Southern California filmmakers' shots showing the subject making pre-dawn parachute jumps from high-rises to major city roads are as powerful as any Omnimax special effects."

       - Ann McLaughlin, The Vancouver Courier, reviewing 1st Annual Festival of Short Films.


"Two of the student films here are excellent.  Stealing Altitude (1990) by two University of Southern California students, is a jaw-dropping documentary about men who parachute from skyscrapers."

       - Elizabeth Aird, Vancouver Sun, reviewing 1st Annual Festival of Short Films.


"... a 10-minute gripper about a peculiar cadre of thrill seekers who practice "BASE jumping" in Los Angeles."

       - Calvin Ahlgren, San Francisco Chronicle, reviewing 1st Annual Festival of Short Films.


"The film was outstanding.  More than just a series of launches and free falls from high places.  The film told the story of how jumpers rationalized leaping off buildings with parachutes on their backs... The applause lasted well after the credits had rolled, and continued as John and Roger were introduced.   It was clear Stealing Altitude was the people's choice for the evening."

       - Nick Di Giovanni, the Fixed Object Journal, reviewing Stealing Altitude's premier at USC.



Stealing Altitude
Category: Documentary
Format: Black & White, 16mm
Running Time: 10min

Did We Coin a Phrase?


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