Saturday, July 21, 2012

Here and Now: the Best Place to Be

I had the pleasure last night of seeing Here and Now, the latest film from director Nathan Myers.  In this age of social media where ordinary people are producing content, Nathan has done something similar but still unique.  With help from producer Taylor Steele, Nathan reached out to several filmmaker friends and asked them to film their friends go surfing for one day, May 2, 2012.

More than 25 filmmakers in all were used to film surfers from sun up to sun down all over the world.  Dave Rastovich, Alex Knost, Kelly Slater, Alex Gray, Rob Machado, Ozzie Wright, Steph Gilmore, Ezekial Lau and many others were featured, some in amazing surf, others in slop.  But this was more than a surf film.  It was a collage of the day in the life of a surfer.  Where they sleep and eat, how they get to the beach, what and where they ride, who they surf with and how much fun they have with their friends.  Highlights include Ozzy Wright and the Doons of Goom “personalizing” their camping tents with graffiti, Rob Machado shaping his “board eat board” specifically for this session, and Kelly Slater, Dane Gaduskas and Alex Gray scoring beautiful surf.  In addition, many of the surfers themselves wrote and produced the music for the film.  In fact, many of them recorded their music in the same Byron Bay, Australia home in which Nathan was editing the film, while he was editing the film.  This was definitely a community affair.  The product was a slick and professional but still very personal.

A bonus was a Q&A session with Nathan Myers and one of the subjects of the film: Pete Devries.  I have to confess, Pete is not only one of the most interesting surfers in the film but is one of the most interesting surfers in surfing today.  He may not think he’s all that special but he is.  Compared to Pete, we have it easy.  When we want to surf, we get in our car, drive to a beach close by, get in, surf, and go home.  Surfing for us is just a few hours out of our day.  Not so for Pete.  For starters, Pete lives on the west coast of British Columbia where the water temp varies between really cold and really really cold; according to Pete, that’s about the mid-40s right about now.  Plus given the topography of British Columbia, Pete doesn’t have a lot of sandy beaches at arm’s reach to choose from.  There’s lots of hiking and camping involved.  In grizzly bear country.  Pete will often drive several hours just to get to a specific boat ramp or harbor, then motor for a couple more hours through intricate waterways to an otherwise inaccessible cove or bay.  The spot he surfed in the movie was just such a spot.  But he totally scored.  Beautiful stand up barrels all to himself.  But there’s no guarantee, especially when he was given just one day, May 2nd.  Regardless, it takes major commitment to do what Pete does and he’s special guy because of it.

The evening was hosted by Clif Bar at their Emeryville offices and featured an insightful presentation from Surfers for Cetaceans.  Great facility, great beer and food, and a great night.

Me and el Hombre: Peter Devries