Freerunner puts a new spin on an old city


A professional freerunner has jumped Bruges’ rooftops and scaled its belfry to produce a video like no other ever shot in Belgium

‘The Bruges Spiderman’

The city of Bruges teamed up with a professional freerunner to create a video that puts the medieval city in an entirely different perspective. Not only do viewers of the video (below) see Bruges from the tops of buildings, they see the freerunner jumping across gabled rooftops, somersaulting into boats on the canal and scaling the bell tower.

The video “What Tourists Don’t See” was produced as part of Liquid City, Bruges’ arts triennial, which runs until 16 September. Dominic Di Tommaso, a professional freerunner from Australia, is the star of the show. He is part of the team of athletes associated with Red Bull, which co-produced the video.

Freerunning is an offshoot of parkour, an activity – and organised sport – in which a city’s architecture is used to get from point A to point B. Experienced parkour athletes are incredibly adept at scaling buildings, springing from one to the next and jumping great distances to the ground. Freerunning incorporates more acrobatics into the mix: You’ll see Di Tommaso doing backflips from one roof to the next.

It took about two years to plan the video, but just three days to shoot it. Between practice sessions and the shoot, Di Tommaso went through two pairs of shoes. Earlier this year, when he was practicing in various locations, the locals started calling him “the Bruges Spiderman”.

“Dominic shows Bruges in a way that no one else ever has – the nicest spots but from another, and a surprising, perspective,” said Bruges mayor Renaat Landuyt. “The whole world can now join in on what Dominic can do – top sport over our well-known facades, towers, boats and street. And this naturally gives people more incentive to visit the Triennial and also discover the rest of Bruges. Although we recommend they keep both feet on the ground.”

Along those line, Landuyt told Het Laatste Nieuws this week that, although all the moves were practiced and planned to the centimetre,  he was “never at ease” during the shoot. “Though Dominic appeared to be.”

As for Di Tommaso, he told the paper that he has fallen “a bit in love with the city. I’ll be back within a month”.

Photo: Thomas Sweertvaegher/Red Bull