More than 29,00 people from 125 countries submitted their favorite HERO9 Black clips for the chance to be featured in the third annual Million Dollar Challenge highlight reel. Only 56 creators made the cut, earning almost $18,000 a piece. 

This series celebrates these creators and their creative processes. We hope these behind-the-scenes looks inspire you as much as they did us. 

Million Dollar Challenge Awardee Aljaz Salkic hails from Radovljica, Solvenia, but he might as well be from another dimension with the paragliding stunts he can pull off. And let’s be real, he is just as clever as he is athletic. Exhibit A:

And for Exhibit B: We caught up with Aljaz to learn about his journey to the Million Dollar Challenge (MDC) and how he landed the opening shot.

1. Tell us more about how you got your Million Dollar shot! 

That’s a LONG story! The short version is: I wanted to capture something unique—a perspective that was not seen before and experience that is only accessible to a very few people. As a paragliding pilot flying daily, I've seen so many CRAZY views, so my mission is to capture and bring all those epic moments from the sky back down to the ground and share for everyone to experience! 

2. We have time, and we want to hear it all! What’s the long story?

First of all, I am really happy that my lovely girlfriend Valerija supported me on my wild MDC mission! It was lockdown, crazy limitations and super sketchy, but we found a way for it to work together! 

So for the winning shot—that was also an opening shot of this year's MDC—I launched with my paraglider from my local 7,000 feet high mountain just in time for sunset. The whole experience was insane as the valley was in the clouds and up above was just pure magic! I used a chase cam that carries a GoPro, it’s attached to the paraglider, flies behind and gets a crazy view like someone is following you. In the sky, I released it from my hands thinking that it would look RAD to just kind of “drop” the camera. I ended up with a crazy revealing landscape view, and as soon as I landed, I was like, “OMG that's gonna be an opening shot of this year's MDC!” It was an epic feeling. 

Then, I had a second video selected! This one was of me paragliding through autumn trees also with the chase cam. I am always watching all these autumn trees from above and the non-flying people always admire all the colors from the ground. So I was really stoked to share autumn beauty from above with everyone. 

3.  How much hiking did you have to do to get all these epic shots?

There was A LOT of hiking for sure. I’ve calculated that in roughly one month of capturing for the MDC, I did over 40,000 vertical meters of hiking—yes, 40K!! And then all over again for flying! The lockdown forced me to only rely on my own power (hiking) as all ski lifts were closed. 

4. What are your go-to settings for capturing GoPro content mid-flight? 

For basic flying, I always use the widest possible angle to get the best experience of flying. Usually, that means SuperView at 2.7K and 60fps to give me some slo-mo flexibility. I also am always playing around with Protune and testing different variations and mounts, which I upload to my YouTube channel weekly—Addiction Happiness. 

5. We heard your day job is freelancer filmmaker and professional speedflyer/paraglider. That sound like a DREAM job! How did you get into this?

I was always different throughout my entire life—making my own path and avoiding/not following established beliefs that did not make any sense to me. I remember back in school days, my mission was to be back home from school as fast as possible, throw my school bag to the corner and run to the fields and hills to play with my kites and homemade paragliding wings. All day, every day! Nothing else, just kite and fly …

Then I got my first GoPro HERO camera, and that's how I slowly but surely became obsessed with filmmaking. I am super grateful for all the support from my parents and all the patience throughout all my CRAZY projects.

I jumped to multimedia high school and from there to the Academy Of Multimedia. I am happy to say that I am graduated multimedia producer for a few years now, and it all started with one single GoPro HERO a decade ago!

I believe that always listening to myself and not following what others said is what really got me into all this. I was able to explore and find my real passion and develop it into my profession. 

6. Do you have any other exciting plans for 2021? You mentioned you’re going to invest your $17K into upcoming projects? 

OH YES! Sooo stoked for 2021 and upcoming projects. It’s true I am investing all the money into that! I share too much right now, but I can say that it will be EPIC and you don’t wanna miss it out. Stay updated on my Addiction Happiness YouTube channel. It will be all GoPro and pure FUN! 

Watch the HERO9 Black Million Dollar Challenge highlight reel here.