The Drifter

  Great video I found on the web about Taylor Steele and a movie he made with legend of surfing Rob Machado. It´s only a short teaser but for those of you who haven´t had any clue about the movie I am about to review, you can get an idea about the wonderfully filmed flick that "The Drifter" actually is. Not many surf movies filmed the intimacy of a surfer with such accuracy. Check it out and read my review in the next days.


Modern Collective (2010)

A deserved victory for Kai Neville and his crew as "Moder Collective" won a prize at the surfer poll awards
     What happens when a group of surf experimentalists goes on to take by surprise the entire surf community with what we can call one of the first post modern surf movies? The result could be something like Modern Collective, the tour de force of director Kai Neville.Just don´t forget his name because the wordclass camera work and editing makes this flick one of the best movies released last year.But it´s not only that, Kai is also a very good surfer, and only very good surfers can take surfing to the big screen with such intensity. Add to this list the fact that this is his debut as a director and things start getting even more promising.

    In my opinion Modern Collective is the perfect follow up to Taylor Steele´s Momentum generation. Neville and his fantastic crew (made entirely of enormously talented surfers such as Dane Reynolds, Jordy Smith, Yadin Nicol, Dion Agius and Mitch Coleborn) took the responsability to show to everyone the style of their generation: an action packed surf were even the laws of gravity are being defied every minute.

Kai Neville began his career on Poor Specimen - yeah that´s right it´s Taylor Steele´s film company - and made various works as a backstage assistant for very solid movies such as Campaign and Stranger than Fiction. When he was given the opportunity to direct is first movie many believed it was too soon because Kai appeared to be inexperienced. The resusts came quickly after the release: mostly good critics from the majority of surf mags and winner of best movie at the surfer poll awards.

One last word to write about two things:

    The soundtrack is awesome. Ecletic, vibrant and deeply connected with the surf scenes.

    Craig Anderson´s session on the "extras section of the DVD is something out of everything I ever saw before. If you are not in the mood of watching the whole flick, just consider watching this particular surfer. It will blow your mind away.
Verdict: 8/10


Bruce Brown footage from 1965

    In this footage of 1965 you will see Bruce Brown showing some of his skills as a surfer and film director. The show were this material aired was called "True Adventure", and it was some of the first tv shows to include segments about what we nowadays call "extreme" sports. This was just one year before Endless Summer was released and Bruce was getting slowly recognized for his work as a surf movie maker, a subject that very few had approached. You can notice how the host tries to explain every bit of surf culture to the audience - the fact is surf was something really new and almost unknown to the majority of american society, at the the time only few beach boys cared for a culture that would turn into a global activity some decades later.


Bruce Brown interview

        Following the great surf movie director I have been writing about (nothing more than legendary Bruce Brown) I found a great interview he made some time ago for dailystoke.com (and by the way I strongly recomend this fantastic website to everyone). At the time a special edition of his masterpiece Endless Summer had just been released. In the next lines Brown recalls his past and explains some of his thoughts on modern surf and modern surf cinema. Hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Source: Dailystoke.com

Dailystoke.com:  First, we want to thank you for taking the time.  Your contributions to the sport of surfing are unmatched, so it’s a real honor.

Bruce Brown: Well, I just feel real fortunate, glad you said that…

Dailystoke.com:  We recently interviewed your son, Dana Brown (see it here), and he said you bought him a super 8 movie camera when he was 10 years old and how you influenced him, so it begs the question: who influenced Bruce Brown?  How did you get your start and what drove you to make films?

Bruce Brown: Surfing influenced me!!  I got some cheap still camera to take pics of me and my buddy surfing.  Back then, we were the only surfers.  Then I got an 8mm movie camera to show other people, and to recruit someone to go surfing with.  I took it with me everywhere.  I was on a submarine in Pearl Harbor back in ’56 or ’57 and I took bunch of 8mm movies on The North Shore and other places.

Dailystoke.com:  We checked out the Director’s Special Edition of Endless Summer, and were amazed at what a great job they did with the sound and video — really good stuff….

Bruce Brown:  Yes, they did really good job.  I am really pleased to be with Monterrey Media, they have all my films now, and they are like family.  Many years ago, god maybe before VHS, they had Endless Summer, and years later I went back with to them with Endless Summer and On Any Sunday.

Dailystoke.com:  In one of the behind the scenes segments on the new DVD, you say “the perfect wave was just what we found, not necessarily big…something that anyone could surf.”  That statement says a lot, and made us think.  Do you like what the sport of surfing is all about today?  Are too many kids jumping on shortboards too early and is the attitude more aggressive today than it was, say, back in the ’60s?

Bruce Brown: Oh yeah for sure….All the spots today are more crowded and the only place you had any aggression back in 50s was Malibu.  Most other places you wouldn’t have to worry.  Not only that, but how about trying to find a place to park today?!  Some days, I say, maybe I’ll stop by and watch a bit, but jesus, I can’t find a place to park! (laughter).  At Cape St. Francis that day, anyone could have surfed it.

I am not much for the competition aspect of it because so much has to be held in crappy surf.  But, people are now making a living from surfing.  That is something we never dreamed of.  When I first met Wingnut, he said he wanted to make living surfing, and I said wow that’s cool.  Now it’s mainstream, but in the ’50s and ’60s you were an outcast, you didn’t want to mention it some circles.  Then when drugs entered the scene, too many good guys got caught up.  I’m a super anti-drug guy, but thank god it wasn’t my era as I would have been hooked!

DailyStoke.com:  When did drugs really hit the scene?

It started in the late ’60s I think, since I was never into it, you never knew the people that were doing it.  Then you had people saying Mike Hynson was smuggling marijuana during filming…that was bullshit.  He didn’t do it during the movie, he mentioned in India he smuggled drugs in film cans, his recollection is different than reality.  I would have never given those film cans to anybody.

Dailystoke.com:  OK, switching topics.  We have a bunch of surf filmmakers as readers, if you started BROWN BROWN FILM SCHOOL what would be the steps to make a great movie?  What would you tell our readers who are aspiring surf moviemakers?  What are the keys to success?

Bruce Brown: Well, number one, don’t go surfing!  Unless you have a camera in the in water, because you’re going miss half of the good stuff.  Some guys want to film, but go surfing and miss it.  You can go on crappy days.  It’s a lot of work.  People don’t realize it, to make things happen, because nothing ever goes according to plan.  Oh, the sunset is really good, but then it’s something else.

The other thing is to make sure you have a good surfer to shoot, a good surfer can make crappy waves look much better.

Dailystoke.com: So who is/was good to shoot?

Bruce Brown: In the old days, Bill Edwards, Dewey, Butch, all those guys.  Pat O’Connell and Wingnut were great.  Today, there are so many guys that are so good, it’s just amazing.  You used to be able to drive by a surf spot and know who it was, now there are tons of guys.

Dailystoke.com:  On Any Sunday was a huge success.  Are you amazed at how far the actions sports industry has come since then?   Today we have action sports 24/7 on Fuel TV, X Games, etc….

Bruce Brown: Yeah, it’s amazing, all the stuff people are doing.  I’m a fan of some of it, other parts of it not so much.  That doesn’t mean I don’t admire people doing it.  Guys like Travis Pastrana, he is a great role model for Motorcross.

When I filmed On Any Sunday, we had trials going over logs, now they are jumping over houses and road racing is now a multi-million dollar business.  Visually, it’s still spectacular.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is the flat-track.  Motorcross back then was Levis, a t-shirt and a helmet.  Now you have sponsors and vans.

Dailystoke.com: What is the craziest thing that happened while shooting the Endless Summer?

Bruce Brown: Oh god, every other day was crazy.  I guess when we flew to Senegal, we had all this excess baggage and they wanted to charge us $300 bucks (a ton of money back then).  We would have had to stay in Senegal.  We somehow talked them out of it, though.  The funny thing is I met some guy a few years back, he was a member of Senegal Surf Club, there are a lot of good surf spots in Senegal we didn’t even know about then!

Dailystoke.com: What is your favorite movie all-time, surfing or otherwise?

Bruce Brown: The Great Escape, I met John (Sturges, the director) once at Steve’s (Steve McQueen) and asked him do you sit in the editing room for months on end?  and he says, oh yeah.  He started out as a film editor.  That’s what a lot of guys don’t realize, its a lot of work.

Dailystoke.com: So what’s next for Bruce Brown?

Bruce Brown: I switch interests about every 2 years, I was into restoring old cars, motorcycles, model airplanes, hadn’t owned a gun (rifle) since the ’60s and now I’m interested in that again on my ranch.  I target practice, that’s all.  I haven’t been surfing in a few years.  When my wife got cancer I felt it wasn’t appropriate.  Then when I did surf, I was in such bad shape I thought I was going to get killed!

Dailystoke.com:  OK, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.  We’ll be sure to tell our readers to check out the Endless Summer Special Director’s Edition DVD.

Bruce Brown:  Thank you.


Great Directors - Bruce Brown (Part III)

That´s right, Bruce has also a thing for dirt bikes
The theatrical release of "Endless Summer" turned into an huge success. At first the movie conquered the surfing audiences, but slowly it became more and more known by the mainstream ones. Brown struggled for the film to have a national release because he was very aware of the quality of his masterpiece. Brown was also sure of his abilities as a filmmaker and the resounding success of the movie proved him right and gave him the little confidence he might have needed to establish himself on the film biz.

The financial stability that followed the success of Endless Summer, allowed him to build new offices on Dana Point and to devote himself to his other passion - motocross. His movie on the subject called On any Sunday (co-produced with his friend Steve McQueen) even gave him an academy award nomination in 1970.

Soon after Bruce retired to a ranch near Santa Barbara where, according to Surfline magazine, he "surfed, rode his motorcycles, built a house, got into car restoration, raced sprint cars around his track and, more recently, got into rally cars -- an all-wheel-drive turbo-charged Mazda". 

Only in 1992 did Brown came out of his retirement and filmed the fantastic sequel to the first Endless Summer. In this second film, two friends (Robert Wingut Weaver and Pat O´Connel) followed the steps that the first pair made around the world´s waves.

Nowadays, still according to Surfline, Bruce  races his rally car and occasionally surfs for the sake of the his great past as the man that was capable to make a whole generation to dream with the perfect surf trip around the world.


Billabong Global Big wave awards 2011 results

Congratulations Danilo Couto. The brazillian surfer has won this years edition of the ride of the year contest. Since the contest started back in 1998, the surfing world has been presented with some spectacular footage. Enjoy these fantastic scenes.


Great Directors - Bruce Brown (Part II)

Robert August, Mike Hynson and Bruce Brown: they were about to make the greatest surf film ever
 Picture taken from(http://www.brucebrownfilms.com/endless.htm)
 Bruce soon began one of the best periods of his career: he travelled the world, sleeping on the beaches and filming every talented surfer he could. The result of those first experiences was Slippery when wet, the 1958 flick that is a relaxed, layed back documentary about the beach boys culture of the time.

As Bruce began to get more experienced about making films, the quality of his work improved greatly over the years. You can see that evolution in the next set of movies he made: Surf Crazy, Barefoot Adventure, Surfing Hollow Days and Waterlogged show the maturation process he was doing. 

In 1963 surf culture had already exploded all over the nation. However if it is true that more and more surf movies were being made to feed a growing audience eager to watch films with their surf idols, it is also true that que quality of those flicks was mainly of low quality. Something had to change and Bruce had the exact idea on how to make surf movies more attractive to mainstream audiences.

He convinced two friends, Robert August and Mike Hynson to participate in a journey with a simple purpose: to take advantage of the fact that while it is winter in Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern and vice versa, a fact that would enable both surfers to live an endless summer - the dream of every surfer.

End of part II
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