Wednesday, May 28, 2014

San Diego Surf Film Festival 2014 Recap

 “The SDSFF was like being in Argentina in a soccer match – people enjoyed every film, they shouted, felt things, suffered, clapped and hooted.” – Argentina filmmakers Joaquin & Julian Azulay

Story by Andrea Siedsma
Photos by: Glen Gorham

After a stellar four days of sold out shows and events, the 2014 San Diego Surf Film Festival has created a swell of international stoke. The four-day festival, May 7-10, attracted more than 2,200 people, who came from all over the globe to celebrate the art of surf cinema.
SDSFF 2014 kicked off with an epic “Under Tow VIP Party” at Karl Strauss Brewery Tasting Company, where Nautilus Pass holders, media and filmmakers mingled and enjoyed surf films and live music by the Saline Solutions, while watching the amazing wizardry of SDSFF artists Skye Walker and Matt Beard, and viewing killer photography by Gage Hingeley.

Hoots & Shakas to

Meanwhile, Bird’s Surf Shed – a world famous restored quonset hut filled with an impressive collection of historically significant surfboards and artifacts – was packed to capacity (standing room only) during the SDSFF’s screening of its 32 international films. The films, which highlighted an eclectic mix of surf styles and genres, represented  a wide variety of cultures and surf destinations around the world.
One of the films, “Out in the Line up: Uncovering the Taboo of Homosexuality in Surfing” by Ian Thompson (Audience Choice Award winner), even received the SDSFF’s first standing ovation.
It was the first time we showed the film in San Diego in front of half of the people who are involved in the film (crew and cast), so it was quite an intense experience. The screening was sold out, and the crowd was totally excited,” said Thomas Castets, the film’s producer. “These types of festivals are critical for independent filmmakers, as it gives us the opportunity to be exposed through local media in the industry. The SDSFF allowed us to meet all the other film makers and share our experience with film making and distribution. I am really stoked we got to show our film in this festival.”

In its third year, the San Diego Surf  Film Festival has quickly become one of the largest of its kind in the world. Besides remarkable surf cinema, SDSFF 2104 included include dozens of filmmakers and producers in attendance, Q&As, a filmmaker panel, an amazing surf art gallery, a gripping and engaging photography workshop by Todd Glaser, a beach clean-up by H2O Trash Patrol, incredible live music by Sister Juanita, and serendipitous live art.
The SDSFF also raised more than $2,000 for local junior high and high school surf teams through its Scholastic Surf Team Raffle.

“We put a smile on the face of San Diego and that alone is enough,” said Pierce Kavanagh, who, along with his wife Petra, created the SDSFF. “The love of our hometown is why we created and continue the SDSFF.  We welcome the finest surf film makers from around the world to come and present their amazing work to our surfing community.  This year, we screened 32 international films and sold out all four nights, which is a testament to these hard-working directors and producers.  San Diego and the global surf family have been very supportive of the SDSFF and I look for to running it for the next 20 years or so. Hoots and Shakas!”

Todd Glaser rules!


Best Feature -Tierra de Patagones- Julian and Joaquin Azulay: “It was our second film at the SDSFF – in 2011 we presented ‘Gauchos del mar - Surfing the American Pacific’ that Julian went to present there and the film got a Honorable Mention. This year we were lucky enough and both could travel as Patagonia is supporting our project.  We were not expecting any award and could not believe it when our film got the Best Feature Award – it was crazy!
The SDSFF was like being in Argentina in a soccer match – people enjoyed every film, they shouted, felt things, suffered, clapped and hooted. It was amazing to be both present at this festival and be able to share our film with the viewers.” ~ Julian & Joaquin

Best Cinematography - Beyond the Surface - Crystal Thornburg-Homcy and Dave Homcy: “The SDSFF is like no other for people who love surfing and the ocean. Sharing stories with family is the best, and that’s what it felt like we were doing.” ~ Dave Homcy

Audience Award - OUT in the Lineup: Uncovering the Taboo of Homosexuality in Surfing- Ian Thompson

Spirit of the Fest- Learning to Float - Brendan Calder: “I am so honored to win the Spirit Of The Fest award and I hope the film inspired others as much as Gio has inspired me. What I really enjoyed most about my experience at the festival was the tight-knit feel of the programmers and the attendees. I was really inspired by a few films in particular and was able to have conversations with the many of the filmmakers personally because most were in attendance, which is not always the case at many other festivals.”  ~ Brendan Calder

Best Short - Catch It - Sarah Menzies: “I feel lucky to have met everyone that I did, and I now feel like I have dozens of new friends that I'm excited to collaborate with. Winning Best Short was an absolute shock to me. I'm not a surfer, and honestly, I was intimidated to come down and screen my film to an audience of surfers. It meant so much to have ‘Catch It’ be accepted by that community, and it validated what I was trying to accomplish with the film, which was to tell a passion driven story about a woman's connection to the sport. For those brief few days, I felt a part of such a wonderful community. My goal for next year is to come back with another film as a legitimate surfer.” ~ Sarah Menzies

Emerging Filmmaker - Mike Bromley - North East and 1964: The festival this year was actually unreal. I couldn't believe how many people were in attendance and how professionally the festival was put together. I was very surprised and very honored to take home the ‘Emerging Filmmaker’ award. I was just psyched that everyone involved with the SDSFF enjoy my films! It definitely lights a fire under you to make something bigger and better. I think these festivals are so important to help encourage people to get out there and capture the moments that they are fortunate enough to experience every day, and share them with the rest of the world.” ~ Mike Bromley

Honorable Mention - The Granite Stoke - Dylan Ladds and Ryan Scura: “This was our third year participating in the San Diego Surf Film Festival, and it just keeps getting better! We are stoked and honored that our first feature, ‘The Granite Stoke,’ was selected. There is no better place for this festival than Bird's Shed. We love to meet other filmmakers, and there were so many in attendance this year! Being able to watch a film and talk with the director in person afterward is so valuable. The SDSFF gives filmmakers of all experience levels a chance to screen their work in a professional - yet casual - environment, and receive feedback from peers and the audience. It's definitely one of our favorite festivals, and we are lucky to be a part of it!” ~ Dylan & Ryan

Honorable Mention - Cradle of Storms - Ben Weiland and Bryce Lowe-White:
“I had an amazing time at the San Diego Surf Film Festival! I'm honored to have been invited and to have won an award for ‘The Cradle of Storms.’ Not only is this event a huge way for independent filmmakers to showcase their work, but it is an incredible opportunity to meet creative people that come from all over the world, and to connect with the local surf community.” ~ Ben Weiland

Honorable Mention -
Danny Daniels: A Surfer's Story - Marcus Macfarlane: “I had a great time at the festival! The best part about it for me was being around people who share that same excitement about the sea and surfing. Also being acknowledged for my first film was very cool. Festivals like this are critical because they give filmmakers like myself a voice and it's a chance for people to see our work on a bigger stage.” ~ Marcus Macfarlane

Special thanks to:
Todd Glaser

Bird Huffman
The Saline Solutions
Sister Juanita
Glen Gorham
Val Reynolds
Andrea Siedsma
Geoffrey Smart
Skye Walker

Matt Beard
The SDSFF Screening Panel...and all of the people who volunteered to keep the ship off the rocks.

See you in 2015.
The Kavanaghs

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Quick Dose of Stoke from Ryan Lovelace

Twenty seven-year-old  Santa Barbara, Calif.-based surfboard builder Ryan Lovelace had so much footage of fun surf sessions that he decided to put together a cool little film. The outcome, Almost Cut My Hair, (ACMH) features an extremely diverse quiver of contemporary surfboards, from single fin to mid lengths, high performance,  fish variations, 5' nuggets, all the way to the finless freedom of the RabbitsFoot experiment – all boards that he shaped.
Soaked in individuality and innovation, ACMH includes the imagery, musical and/or surfing talents of Travers Adler, Trevor Gordon, Michael Kew, Landon Smith, Will Adler, Morgan Maassen, Ryan Burch, Troy Mothershead, Ryan Lovelace, Ari Browne, Johnny McCann, Phil Browne, Joseph Horswell, Washmen and the Fisher, Simon Murdoch, Charlie Parr, Connor Lyon, and loads more.
Almost Cut My Hair  will be shown during the SDSFF 2014  UNDERTOW VIP PARTY, Wednesday May 7 from 7 p.m.- 11 p.m. at Karl Strauss Brewery Tasting Room, Downtown San Diego. (This event is for VIP Nautilus Pass holders).
PMK caught up with Ryan to hash out the details of his film, surfing and life.

Shape, surf, film...cosmic collide?  What don't you do?
RL: What don't I do?  Cope with boredom well, hahahaha!  I suppose a
better answer is, assume that I can't do something - thinking that
something is beyond you is something that I've been slowly realizing
is total bull.  I swear the more I plug away at things, the more
possible stupid ideas (a movie...etc...) become. If you
keep your eyes on something and your focus towards it, and your
options open, there's very little that can stop you.  I know I could
plan my life better, but I try to counter-act that with being open to
interpretations of what I'm after.  What I end up with in terms of
projects is rarely exactly how I saw it in the beginning, and I love
the process of discovering the final 'thing' as I plug away.   

Hopefully you got some great waves this winter, and now that things
have slowed down a bit in your neck of the woods, any travel plans for the
RL: I usually wait out the summer flat spell by getting out of Santa
Barbara as much as I can. The last five years I've been doing little
summer shaping trips around Europe, Australia, Indonesia and the East
Coast of the U.S.  It’s turned into a whole lot of cool trips that I
string together now with a few weeks at home between them to make sure
I'm on top of my orders and life.  I named the tours the “Shapetastic
Voyage.” It’s an amazing contrast to my life at home that really
makes me value what I have and the people who make it possible.  

ACMH is a "zero-budget" surf film. Explain the importance of the
grass-roots projects and what you want people to take away from
the film.

RL: I want people to want to go surfing after watching the movie.  I want
them to realize that they just watched something rather
unpolished, extremely unprofessional, cheap, and receive a heavy
dose of stoke.  I don't know if zero-budget was really the best term
for it – I did spend money putting it together, but it was just
what I could scrape together, and I made it happen to the limitations of
what I had in my pocket at any given time.  All of the material was
given to me by friends, and people who liked what I was trying to do,
and I paid them the best I could in board trades, favors, and cash
when I had it.  I shot some of it, then edited and produced the
film.  For me, the value was in seeing a project through to its
completion, whatever that was. So many amazing movies have
disappeared in the past few years before they ever existed for one
reason or another, usually because there wasn't enough money to
finish putting it out, or sponsor complications or whatever.  I
wanted my project to show that none of that shit has to matter. You
can still provide shitloads of stoke and a great movie with hardly
anything, and that people don't necessarily want helicopter shots and
triple overhead tubes with lasers blasting out of them, or the
latest board shorts to be featured in this section, so if you didn't
score a mega session - fuck it!  If you make a fun, real movie and put it
out there, people just want to watch a surf movie and they'll support
a good effort if you can just get it out there and show them what
you've got – it’s valid and valuable, so share it even if it’s not mind
bending.  I'm proud of my cheap movie with some wobbly shots – it
makes me happy.

If you’re stoked, we’re stoked! Thanks Ryan! Hoots & Shakas!
Check out the trailer for Almost Cut My Hair:

Almost Cut My Hair - Official from Ryan Lovelace on Vimeo.