Sunday, May 12, 2013

San Diego Surf Film Festival 2013, Post 3 (Sat. 5/11)

Saturday's events at the San Diego Surf Film Festival were of bucket list quality -- unmissable. In nearly every way categorizable, the music and images were a notch above what came the day before. So while Friday's events were great for the surfing world I would say, Saturday's events were for everyone.

Case in point, the film Isolated, directed by Justin LePera, is an important film: what starts out as -- and in some ways might retain even in spite of itself -- a journey by foreign surfers into the Heart of Darkness of New Guinea in order to "score perfect surf, dude" turns into a proper heroic journey of mythological proportions -- that moment when the heroes recognize that there is something bigger than themselves -- and all of the sudden the film is both an unmistakeably great surf film and a film about human rights abuses and serious ethical dilemmas caused by a complex mix of national concerns and global trade.

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The morning on Saturday started with a beach clean-up and opportunity to ride some alaias and paipos at the Cardiff campgrounds. Good times with my son out in the sun on a beautiful day, even though the surf was small. I missed the 2-4pm set at the festival, but my son and I enjoyed all 7 hours of music and film through three sets, from 4-11pm. He loved the big wave surfing films, and the highlight of the night for him was the film about Greg Long entitled, "Sine Qua Non: The Psychology of Big Wave Surfing with Greg Long," directed by Richard Yelland (full length link here -- my son said it is his favorite film of all time), and to have Greg Long there to graciously take questions at length from the audience afterwards was really cool to experience.

I couldn't believe that the quality of films could move from great to great. From the inspiring surfing of Danielle Burt (see full short by Chris Grant below) to the mind-bending surfing of Jordy Smith in the hyper-modern mode of surfing today in "Bending Colours" by Kai Neville, all of the films on Saturday from 4-11pm were must-sees in their own right, and the jazz-infused music of Montalban Quintet was a solid soundtrack to the day. I'd recommend tracking down "Setting Sunsets," a short set in Peru featuring an impressive story and computer animation by filmmaker Gene Sung.

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