BirdDog Media Ventures Aims for the Sky with Maurizio Zavatta

Professional stuntman Maurizio Zavatta has been walking on highwires for over 30 years and breaking world records for the past ten, for feats such as the fastest 20-meter tightrope walk, highest blindfolded tightrope walk and so many more. His story is being told in full for the first time in the upcoming series Skyrunner—Zavatta’s Record-Breaking World, from BirdDog Media Ventures, the production company co-founded by Stephen Ellis and Clark Bunting, former president of Discovery Channel.

Leading up to Zavatta’s next world record attempt—part of his goal to break five of them in succession—the four-part series follows as he trains for the upcoming feat, revealing just what it takes physically and mentally to prepare and execute such dangerous tricks on the world stage. Zavatta spoke to TV Real live from a highwire about his history with the stunt and what viewers can expect from the new docuseries.

Zavatta explains that his fascination with tightrope walking began long ago, when he was a young boy growing up in a circus family with a professional stuntman as a father. He was constantly surrounded by adrenaline-inducing activities, but it was his grandparents telling him stories about a legendary tightrope walker, “a man that can walk in the sky,” he says, that his love for the stunt began. “When you’re young, you feel something about their words, and you try to discover what it’s all about.”

And discover what it’s all about he did. Zavatta worked his way up from basic slacklining to tightrope walking without a safety harness, eventually performing stunts such as running, wearing a blindfold, pulling weights, having his hands tied behind his back and even walking while on fire.

While Zavatta has been featured in TV shows around the globe for his previous world records, the new series with BirdDog Media Ventures is putting the spotlight on the things that go on behind the scenes rather than just the final result. Skyrunner gives viewers a glimpse into the real life of a professional stuntman, not just the glamorous, perfected feat that everyone sees.

Throughout the four episodes, the series details Zavatta’s childhood and the hardships he overcame to reach the level he is at now; the many people working behind the scenes who ensure his safety up in the air; the cutting-edge science and technology behind his many feats, including his Human Torch Supernova outfit that allows his full body to be on fire; and the intense training behind his next challenges.

“This is an amazing production,” Zavatta says. “Everything is going to be filmed in high-resolution 4K. We will have drones. In some particular cases, even helicopters, because we are very high.” The show will even utilize a camera that will allow viewers to see what Zavatta does when he is engulfed in flames for the Human Torch Supernova stunt.

“This is a unique production because we’re trying to do something never been done before,” Zavatta adds. “What I’m doing right now, only a few people are allowed to do that. What I’m doing, I’m probably the last one that is showing this ancient art.” Through sharing his story and displaying the incredible things he has trained his whole life for, he is “trying to give to others a new way of thinking and a possibility of dreaming.”

And “if you believe in dreams, if you believe in faith, if you believe in the love of your family, love in God, amazing achievements can happen,” he says. “If you believe in all that, then I invite you to watch. I invite anyone to watch Skyrunner.”