One of the films at Sundance that flew under the radar this year was jetpack fantasy Pretty Bird, based on the book The Rocketbelt Caper. The film is billed as a comedy, but the real story is both weird and disturbing — more of a comedy of errors. It explores the story of an engineer who built a rocket belt that can fly you around like the Rocketeer, and who was subsequently kidnapped and tortured by his angel investor. But the really crazy part? The belt prop actually worked.
Paul Giamatti starred in and produced the film, but was scared shitless by the rocket belt, which can send your ass up in the air for 30 seconds before it cuts out. "It's a real thing. But they only fly for 30 seconds, and they're incredibly dangerous, but they exist." While the belt in the film runs on compressed air and crossed finger, the belt in The Rocketbelt Caper hasn't been seen since the benefactor kidnapped the inventor and held him captive in a box after he refused to cough up the ten million bucks a judge awarded him in a court case. Lesson learned? Angel investors are stranger than science fiction.
Real-life rocket man stuns Giamatti [USA Today]