By Andrea Siedsma
On the Central Coast of New South Whales, Australia, Nathan Oldfield shares his time between being a husband, father, school teacher, surfer, shaper, photographer and filmmaker. While his time is limited, he continues to impress and mesmerize us with his deep and beautiful surf films, including “Lines from a Poem,” “Seaworthy,” and his latest “The Heart & The Sea,” which opens the San Diego Surf Film Festival on May 9 at Bird’s Surf Shed.
What was the inspiration behind The Heart and the Sea?
After my last film, ‘Seaworthy,’ I almost felt like I’d shared everything I could personally about how meaningful and worthwhile surfing is. But then some new ideas started to stir in my heart and I felt like there was something else to explore and communicate in a new film. The film is called ‘The Heart & The Sea’ because it’s about what is important to me in life – healthy relationships and surfing. For lots of us who have surfed our whole lives, there is this beautiful intimacy with the sea that we have in common with our family and friends. The sea brings us together. Surfing gives us many gifts, but perhaps the greatest of these are the deep connections we make with other people through sharing the experience of surfing. I thought this was an idea that was worth taking a look at it in a surf film. So the inspiration behind the film is pretty simple really. It’s a surf movie, but it’s also about surfing lives. I tried to include everyone across the spectrum: kids, elders, men, women, grandparents, husbands, wives, families. Really, it’s a film about joy.
What do you want people to come away with from the film?
I think the film is really centered around gratitude for being alive and sharing surfing with friends. If anyone who watched my film felt a little more stoked and thankful about the gift of surfing, then I’d be a happy filmmaker.
|Nathan behind the lens|
What is the most rewarding and exciting thing about being an independent filmmaker?
I guess at the end of the day I feel that I’m wired with the need to make things, and filmmaking is an avenue for me to explore that creative drive. It’s personally rewarding for me to make something that is hopefully beautiful, and something that I can be proud of. Apart from that, the thing that my wife Eliza and I are really grateful for over the last 10 years is that my filmmaking has supported our family. The financial return from surf films is really modest, but it has supplemented my teacher’s wage and enabled Eliza to be a stay-at-home-mum, which was always our goal. The other special thing is all the family adventures we have had. When I go away to shoot – whether it’s here in Australia or overseas – I bring my family with me as much as possible. We are really thankful to have shared those experiences of travel with our kids, and without my surf films it’s something we wouldn’t have been able to afford. And the other thing that I’m so thankful for in making surf films has been the people I have met and the lifelong friendships that I’ve discovered along the way.
What is most challenging?
Making a surf film from start to finish entirely on your own is a mammoth task. Throw in the fact that I’m a full-time primary school teacher as well as a husband and a father of three and it becomes even more difficult. So time management is the biggest challenge, as well as sustaining the passion to stay committed to the vision. The low points have been those times when I’ve been overwhelmed with the sheer size of the task. It’s been a long road over the last three years of making The Heart & The Sea, and it has taken an enormous amount of creative energy and time. There were moments along that journey where I questioned whether it was worth it, and indeed if I’d ever get the job done.
To find out what else Nathan is up to check out his web site and blog.
*THURSDAY, MAY 9TH - SAN DIEGO SURF FILM FESTIVAL 2013 OPENING NIGHT
7:00-10:30pm: (SET 1)
THE HEART AND THE SEA – Nathan Oldfield
NEW ENGLAND BLOOD - Dylan Ladds and Ryan Scura
THE PRESENT MOMENT - Will Suto
OF SOULS + WATER: THE WARRIOR - Skip Armstrong
*Music guest: VAMANOS
*Food and beverages provided
Location: Bird’s Surf Shed, 1091 W. Morena Blvd., SD
* After-party at the Griffin featuring music by: