Pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis holds a pole on his shoulder and prepares for competition
Mondo Duplantis, professional pole vaulter and subject matter of 'Born to Fly,' directed by Brennan Robideaux. Stills from the film, courtesy of Robideaux.

Two Louisiana natives come together in documentary film ‘Born to Fly’

When Brennan Robideaux began filming the documentary Born to Fly, he had no idea where it would take him. He was just 21 years old and a recent college dropout living with his parents, trying to pursue his dreams of a career in filmmaking. After reading a short blurb in the Lafayette newspaper about a young local pole vaulter breaking records, he knew he’d found a compelling story and subject matter for a new project.

“There was a lure around the Duplantis family, and Mondo particularly struck me as so interesting,” Robideaux says. “All in all, the film took just about seven years to complete.”

Brennan Robideaux, director of ‘Born to Fly.’ Photo by Jason Cohen.

Robideaux admits he often questioned his sanity along the way, especially while overcoming financial hurdles. He worked long nights as a DoorDash driver and slept on the floor of Duplantis’ hotel room to make ends meet. “I’d fly to Europe, and he’d have a bad competition (bad is a relative word because he was 17 and usually the youngest one there), and he was such a passionate person, so he felt like such a failure,” he says. But his faith in Duplantis never wavered, and both Louisiana natives got the endings they deserved.

“It was so fulfilling getting to witness this kid grow up and progress so much as an athlete, even watching him go from amateur to professional pole vaulter, which happens halfway through the film,” Robideaux says. “It ended up as a coming-of-age story that also just so happens to be about the greatest pole vaulter in the history of the world.”

Learn more about the film and follow along at borntofly.com