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Richard Branson Attempts Flying around the World in Latest Animated Short Film

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Paper Sky Films teamed up with Virgin to create twelve animated short films

Richard Branson Attempts Flying around the World in Latest Animated Short Film

Richard Branson resumes his weekly releases of animated short stories as part of his ‘Adventure Series’, produced by Paper Sky Films, with his latest addition: 'Ballooning Around the World'.

In 1997, Branson once again captained a hot air balloon in hopes to conquer the last great goal of all balloonists: a non-stop voyage around the world. 

Paper Sky Films teamed up with Virgin to create twelve animated short films, each telling individual stories following Richard Branson’s adventures.


“There’s nothing more thrilling than doing something that no-one has ever done before,” Branson writes in his blog, which has served as a landing page for all of the animations. 

“This is what led me to try flying a hot-air balloon around the entire world – and I can’t believe I lived to tell the tale!”

The 195-foot-high Virgin Global Challenger successfully ascended and climbed to 30,000 feet, but 16 hours later, the balloon had lost so much altitude that it could not possibly complete the trip and eventually had to land in Algeria in the middle of a civil war.

“Ballooning Around the World is probably one of my favourites of all the animations,” producer and director Adam Young says. 

“The challenge with this one was that there is so much going on from start-to-finish and yet we only have so much budget and time to play with to show it all.” 

Where ‘Ballooning Across the Pacific’ plays with diagram artwork and other visual references to help tell the story, most of ‘Ballooning Around the World’ was told very literally shot-for-shot, many of its sequences lifted directly from images and photographs documenting the flight itself.  

“We open the film in Marrakech and then we’re quickly cutting to Richard’s hotel room, then we’re out in the desert on launch day, then we’re saying farewell to Richard’s family and then the launch and flight commences, all of this happening within the first half of a three-minute-long film,” Young explains. 

“Animation is time-consuming and the more scenes and details you include, the harder it gets, the longer it takes and the more expensive it becomes. So we had to minimise backgrounds whilst making sure that there was enough visual movement and details to distract you from the fact that there’s very little happening behind the characters.” 

“What we didn’t want to do was sell Richard’s story short with lazy shortcuts, uninspired sequences and just risk any part of it from being boring because we wanted cut corners. There’s always a creative solution around these things.”

“The music does a lot of heavy lifting, as well; I absolutely love the soundtrack to this one.”

After crash-landing in the Sahara and being taken hostage by an Algerian warlord, Branson swore that he’d never get in a balloon ever again - but as time went on, new adventures and opportunities presented themselves and as always, Branson can never resist another exciting challenge. 

“I still think about the note I left to my children, Holly and Sam, which reminded them to live life to its absolute fullest and enjoy every minute of it,” Branson writes.

“It’s advice I still remind myself of today.”

The next Paper Sky Films-produced animated short film for Richard Branson will be released on the 23rd of May. 

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Genres: Animation, Storytelling

Paper Sky Films, Tue, 17 May 2022 08:05:31 GMT