"Dear Suburbia," the surf film directed by Kai Neville, premieres tonight in Huntington Beach, California, during the US Open of Surfing. That got us thinking very seriously about surf cinema and how surf movies aren't just a vital part of our sport and the surfing community at large, but really seem like an integral part of summer. And that got us thinking about a New York ripper we know named Tyler Breuer.
Breuer, who grew up surfing in Long Island and now lives in Brooklyn, may know more about surf cinema than any other man on the planet. He's the co-founder of the New York Surf Film Festival and has since moved on to create an organization called SMASH (Surf Movies Art Shaping History) that shows surf movie premieres and holds rad panels on surfboard design.
"Two thousand and twelve promises to be a very interesting year in surf film," said Breuer, whose personal surf-film collection is so vast that he keeps it in a storage locker. "I believe this is the year where DVD sales drop significantly while online downloads continue to rise and we will see emerging new platforms to view our favorite surf films. This is the year where the surf film landscape will be changed forever."
Tyler then gave us a rundown of the five surf films he's really looking forward to this summer:
The Tyler Warren Experiments
Directed and Produced by Mark Jeremias & John Smart
This film has to be the most anticipated surf film this year and possibly in some time. Expectations are running high, but Mark Jeremias and John Smart are master filmmakers, and Tyler Warren is not only a phenomenal surfer but also has many layers and talents that will translate to a very interesting film. With over two years' worth of filming and a very unique concept, this film will deliver on many levels.
The film centers around Tyler Warren and the shapers who have influenced his life and his surfing. The footage of the now-passed Terry Martin will be worth the price of admission alone, but the fact that you are not watching a film just about Tyler, but about the relationships Tyler has with the people who influence his surfing and life's philosophy is simply icing on the cake. Expect "The Tyler Warren Experiments" to tour later this summer around the U.S.
Directed by Loic Wirth
Brazillian filmmaker Loic Wirth burst onto the scene two years ago with a section he submitted to Taylor Steele's "Innersection" of Uruguayan soul-surfer Marco Giorgi. He is now set to release his first full feature film and it promises to be visually stunning, much in the same mold as a Castles In the Sky. Don't expect much of a plot, just good solid surfing with incredible waves in dreamy settings with atmospheric music. The film stars Craig Anderson, Gabriel Villeran, Chippa Wilson and more. With Craig Anderson's insanely smooth progressive surfing and Chippa Wilson's freakish talent, this film promises to inspire.
El Mar, Mi Alma
Directed & Produced by Steven Jones and Tatiana Velasco
Described as a visual tone poem, it is serene and beautiful. Rasta (Dave Rastovich) fans will rejoice in seeing their cetacean hero taking long backhand carves to beautiful back-lit waves and impossibly long barrels. The film is held together with an undercurrent of political and environmental themes, no doubt invoking a need to protect the important and beautiful ecosystem of Chile through beautiful imagery and soundbites from local surfers. The music is moody and exceptional; definitely not something you watch to get pumped up for a surf. It's more of a contemplative film that requires one to meditate on surfing's relationship with the environment and long and perfect waves...
Surfing & Sharks
Directed by Julian Watson
Finally, a film that delves into the relationship between surfers and sharks. This film promises to be fascinating and uncomfortable. Every June, the coastline between Durban and Jeffreys Bay in South Africa plays host to some of the best surf on the planet as well as the sardine run, bringing together a huge marine bio-diversity including many species of sharks. According to the film's website: "The film follows local pro surfers Lungani, Andrew and Avuyile, alongside a hand-selected group of the best shark experts from the region to uncover the real secrets and stories that surround the shark stigma that exists in South Africa."
For all of us who surf, we have this innate fear of sharks and a lot of that fear stems from our ignorance and lack of knowledge of sharks. Anything that can shed light on the mysterious shark can only help quell our fears.
Directed by Aleksi Raij
This film is taking the world by surprise, winning multiple film festival awards and blowing peoples' minds to find that there is even surf in Finland. The film follows five Finnish surfers and showcases their passion and love for surfing (which many of us can relate to) along with the struggles they deal with in order to just go for a surf. The surprising element is how Mexican pro surfer Kalle Carranza ended up in Finland and fell out of love with surfing only to have the local shredders help him rekindle his fire and passion for the sport. This one is worth watching!
Follow Alex French on Twitter @FrenchAlexM for more news and updates.
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