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After nearly a year of preparation, Hollywood's first out stuntman, Shawn Balentine, has released a 5-minute video in honor of the 49 victims who died in 2016's Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Produced by Neal Baer, the tribute video joins together video clips from 17 groups of professional stunt performers and athletes from around the world who volunteered their time.
"Having been the victim of discrimination and the target of hate online after coming out last year, I was deeply affected by the tragedy in Orlando," said Balentine. "So with this video project, edited by the Emmy Award-winning editor Doug Mountain with help from each individual group, my goal is to bring together a global effort of athletes and stunt performers to let the victims' friends and families remember their loved ones with light on this coming one-year anniversary."
Each group consisted of two to three performers, who are each paired with a victim whose background has its own unique connection to the stunt performed in his or her honor. The groups hail from at least 15 different countries, including the U.S., Nicaragua, the Philippines, Cuba, United Kingdom, Iran, and Thailand. The stunts will range from paragliding over Cape Town, South Africa and aerial silks to base-jumping off a cliff in California and forerunners in the glaciers of Alaska.
According to Balentine, all the performers who were involved are extremely successful and influential in the stunt industry. Some of the participants include Mahsa Ahmadi, the first Iranian stuntwoman; Jj Villar, the Dance Captain of the MJ One Cirque du Soleil show; former Blue Power Ranger, Mike Chat; and Drew Reade, The Joker's stunt double on FOX's Gotham. "They all donated their time and are proud to honor each of those lost and affected in Orlando," said Balentine.