19 free surfing films at DIFF

A scene from the South African film Risky Business, one of 19 movies being shown free in Durban as part of the Wavescape film festival.

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BY BILLY SUTER

DRESS warmly and take along a blanket, folding chair and picnic to the lawns of Durban’s Bay of Plenty for a free outdoor screening of a surfing movie at 7pm today (Sunday, July 16) that will launch the popular annual Wavescape component of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

Every year the Wavescape mini festival highlights surfing films – Durban being famous for its surfing – and the good news is that all 19 movies selected for the event this year will be shown free at Arena 5, Village Walk, uShaka Marine, for five days from Monday to Friday (July 17 to 21). Only today’s movie will be at Bay of Plenty, traditional  venue of the Wavescape opening night film.

“Screenings will take place once a day at 7.30pm, which gives people time to finish work or get off the beach, have supper, and enjoy the latest films from around the world,” says a spokesman.

The Bay of Plenty screening today will include three short films of less than 10 minutes each, as well as a 62-minute documentary called Distance Between Dreams, directed by Rob Bruce and made this year in Hawaii. It tells the story of the biggest big-wave surfing season through the eyes of iconic surfer Ian Walsh, and his brothers, as they push surfing to unimaginable heights.

A scene from Whale Fantasia.

The shorts to be shown are Whale Fantasia (“a trippy swim with humpback whales”), Bruce Gold: Last of the Great Surfing Hippies (“a hilarious look at a South African icon”) and Sea Change (“a telling reason to green our world”).

The director of Wavescape, Steve Pike, said Durban audiences were in for a treat this year: “Of the 19 films we’re screening, no less than 10 are from South Africa, our highest ratio yet and testimony to the skills and talents of local filmmakers. What’s more, all shows are totally free.”

“We just want to remind everyone about our venue change at the Village Walk. Come through and enjoy the vibe and the films. We’re also giving away thousands of rands worth of surf clothing and accessories, so it’ll will be worth your while.”

For a look at the schedule, trailers and synopses of the films, visit www.wavescapefestival.com 

HEREWITH A BRIEF RUNDOWN OF THE FILMS ON OFFER THIS YEAR

DISTANCE BETWEEN DREAMS
Hawaii, 2017, 62min
Director: Rob Bruce

This high-voltage HD adventure comes courtesy of Red Bull Media House. It tells the story of the biggest big wave surfing season through the eyes of iconic surfer Ian Walsh, and his brothers, as they push surfing to unimaginable heights. Forget the jet ski, these ous want to paddle giant waves at Jaws. Epic first person perspectives, state-of-the-art cinematography, and captivating sound.

PENINSULA MITRE
Argentina, 2016, 88min
Directors: Joaquin and Julian Azulay
Subtitles

Ay. Bru! We go with chilled Spanish guys the Gauchos del Mar bros on a new mission to a remote place. This time it’s 790,000 acres of eastern Tierra del Fuego Province in Argentina, threatened for its peatlands, rivers, mountains, native forests, minerals, and its richly diverse coastline. They find a wave no human has surfed. Quick before they’re gone. The spots, not the people.

LET’S BE FRANK
South Africa, 2016, 50min
Director: Peter Hamblin

Who is this dude Frank Solomon? Is he a big wave charger from Cape Town, or someone – something – more? No one knows the real Frank. Nooit, you might not even know the fake Frank. The weirdness of Peter Hamblin’s filmmaking morphs into this mystery and movie magic is made. It’s a global smash hit. Frank met Peter in a bar. The rest is his story. See what we did there?

DEEP BLUE MIDDLE C
South Africa, 2017, 57min
Director: Bryan Little

A genre-bending film that celebrates the West Coast and our natural place in the world. For 10 days and 10 nights a merry band of surfers, artists, musicians, chefs, mystics and foragers make a studio on the beach and they made this surreal, poetic eulogy to this unique part of South Africa. They ate their fill from the wilderness while living themes of the ocean, spirit, biology, and identity.

SOUTH TO SIAN
Indonesia, 2016, 53min
Director: Dustin Humphrey

In this Dues Ex Machina film, two mates pack their hipster quiver of boards, two bikes and a $50 tent into or on a 70s Land Rover. Spraying black volcanic sand from their boneys or crystalline ocean drops from their boards, they connect with friends as they venture from southern Bali to Sumatra’s Lagundri Bay to find out if the pioneering spirit of surf adventure remains alive. You decide.

GIVEN
Hawaii, Fiji, South Africa, 2016, 72min
Director: Jess Bianchi

The outcome of five years of painstaking work, Given is narrated by a six year old kid called Given, the son of legendary longboard and stylish surfers Aamion and Daize Goodwin from their island home of Kauai through 15 countries to fulfill an ancient calling. Set in stunning earthscapes, Given is a tender exploration of a young boy’s understanding of life through his family and their reverence for nature.

WOMEN & THE WAVES 2
California, 2016, 43min
Director: Heather Hudson

Director Heather Hudson follows on from the first Women and Waves film with another crafted look at the state of surfing today from a feminine perspective. She documents the story of six women who celebrate life in life-affirming ways, with none of that “I can’t do it” crap. This one is for the sister sliders of the surfing soul.

RISKY BUSINESS
South Africa, 2016, 25min
Director: Guy Mac

Travelling about the world tackling the most terrifying spots known to humankind? It’s a risky business I tell you. Our very own Bromdog (Matt Bromley) hooks up with mates around the world to chase very big waves: from the cold waters of Cape Town, Ireland, Iceland and Mavericks, to the tropics in Hawaii and Indonesia. Ends with gigantic Jaws – part of perhaps the best big wave paddle season in history.

THE ACCORD
Iceland, 2016, 18min
Director: RC Cone

Growing up as a surfer in Iceland depends on an often volatile relationship with the mythical North Wind (played by a very funny drunk actor). The surfer is played by an ever-hopeful funny youngster with an unpronounceable name (Heiðar Logi Elíasson). See? Told you. Our surfer makes a deal, the Accord. Here, there are no surf shops, guidebooks or webcams. Out here, we is snowed immaculate.

FREEZING
UK, 2015, 22min
Directors: Jeremy Joyce and Rob Lockyear

Come on another journey to the icy fringes of another freezing wave. Only this time, it’s a bit different. Sure, friendship is tested and the expanding frontiers push fortitude to its very limits, but enjoy the much anticipated debut from the crew behind ‘The Shaper’ and ‘#vanlife’, whose fingers are once again on the throbbing pulse of the surfing zeitgeist. Urk. Ack! Splutter! Don’t squeeze so tight.

AGAINST THE CURRENT
South Africa, 2016, 24min
Director: Kayleigh Tuck, Aphile-Aphile Sololo and Sebastian Burger

Meet Zulu srfer girl Samukelisiwe Cele who grapples with her circumstances, family pressures and the need to be a typical teenager as she eyes a career in surfing. As the first and only black female competing in South Africa, this is a the story of someone who must face the difficulties of being one of a kind in a competitive and sometimes alienating sporting world.

ADAPT YOUR MIND
Brazil, 2016, 13min
Director: Ana Catarina Teles

This film brings surf as a social inclusion tool and transforming agent for the characters win their limits and overcome adversity of life. The sea act like an element of equality and in the connection between body, mind, self knowledge and direct contact of man with nature.

FREEDOM RIDERS
Australia, 2016, 27min
Producer: ABC Promotional Videos

How do you free troubled kids from the violence and poverty of South Africa’s broken townships? For starters, you teach them to surf. This Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary looks at the successful Waves For Change trauma programme in the Cape that recently won the prestigious Laureus Foundation Sport For Good award..

LEFT IN LAGOS
Nigeria, 2017, 9min
Director Calvin Thomas

Surfing in Nigeria? Nooit. Oil business? Definitely. Military? Absolutely. Black market entrepreneur? For sure. Looking for waves? Well, there’s a few thousand miles of untrammelled West African coast beyond the sprawl of Lagos, right? Not this time. Join William Aliotti and Luke Davis as they find spitting wedges and a homegrown surf scene that defies the stereotype of Africa’s fastest growing city.

BRUCE GOLD
South Africa, 2016, 8min
Director: Anders Melchior

Bruce Gold has managed to survive for almost 50 years in Jeffrey’s Bay without having a job. He is among the last of a dying breed of surfers who have dedicated their entire lives to riding waves, and haven’t gone completely bonkers. Well, maybe a bit. This little flick has won awards. Chaa Brah!

WHALE FANTASIA
Deep blue sea, 2013, 6min
Director: GoPro

Alan Watts, three sirens, and three Humpback Whales dance together in a short film. Where you are now is your dream. What will you do? Trippy visceral dip into the supreme beauty of the deep blue. Shooo!

WITHIN
Inside the tube, 2016, 8min
Director: Darius Devas

In the 70s mould of George Greenough’s hand-made water housings for innovative POV barrel riding, this young Aussie director crowd-funded this super HD slo-mo tube fest that will take you right into the ocean and not let you out until you flop back into your chair after 8 minutes of willingly suspending your disbelief in a salty immersive blast of visual overflow.

VALLEY OF A THOUSAND HILLS
South Africa, 2016, 11min
Director: Jess Colquhoun

Hidden in the Valley Of A Thousand Hills, a secret spot for young shredders grows. Indigo Skate Camp empowers local Zulu villagers to learn and grow through the language of skateboarding and opening opportunities for them to experience what lies on the other side of the hill.

THE GHOST SHIP
South Africa, 2016, 7min
Director: Dougal Paterson

Like Aphrodite, Cape Town longboarder Bernie Shelly is of the sea. She built herself a ghost ship, then sent it out before herself, into a dark and angry ocean of pain and hopelessness. This is a film about a 70 year old surfer’s journey back from the mists of nothingness.

SEA CHANGE
South Africa, 2016, 6min
Director: Like Giant

The groundswell of support for alternative approaches is becoming increasingly evident all over the globe. One of the pioneer of green boards is Durban’s John McCarthy, former pro surfer. This is about his mission to “make, ride and share greener surfboards.”


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