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Bird’s Surf Shed, Bay Park

Mark Bromley Photo Surf Film Festival

Hoots and Shakas Give Birth to San Diego


or the past five decades, hoots and shakas have echoed throughout theaters in celebra- tion of the art of surf cinema. Tis gather-

ing of the tribes made its debut in 1953 when Bud Browne introduced Hawaiian Surfing Movie, the first commercial surf film that was shown any- where. John Severson and Bruce Brown followed suit by creating the standard style of modern surf films, complete with slapstick comedy routines. Add Jim Freeman, Walt Phillips, Greg MacGil-

livray, Hal Jepsen, Bill Delaney, Greg Weaver, Spy- der Wills, and Steve Soderberg (to name a few) and you have a dynamic collection of surf films that have taken us on a salt water journey around the globe and back. Today’s surf filmmakers

are tenfold. Te progression of technology and surfing has made the sport even that more exciting to cap- ture on film. Many of these independent filmmakers, however, have a


time promoting their films and spreading the stoke. It’s something that La Jolla native, bodysurfer

and filmmaker Pierce Kavanagh wants to change. Tat’s why he, his wife Petra, and friend and artist Ed Lewis came up with the San Diego Surf Film Festival: Te inaugural festival, scheduled for May 11-13, 2012 at Bird‘s Surf SHED in San Diego, will be a plat- form for independent filmmakers from around the world

is all about promoting and congratulating the in- dividuals who create surf cinema simply out of passion. “What we started to witness was that more

and more filmmakers started to turn to corporate sponsorship to make the film of their dreams,” says Pierce, who, along with Petra and their misfit


pictures team, produced and released the criti- cally acclaimed documentary about sustainability in the surf industry Manufacturing Stoke in 2011. “However, in doing that their freedom was lost. Instead of putting into the movie the best of the best it was limited to who was aligned with their sponsor. Te motivation of the film festival is to help support the independent filmmaker, give them promotional opportunities, help place them into distribution deals and get the public behind them. Doing this will allow them to get their free- dom back and ultimately we will have better films because of it.”

To Pierce, having the

film festival (which is cur- rently accepting submis- sions from around the world) in San Diego is a no-brainer. Aſter all, he says, the San Diego surf- ing community has had a major influence on the history and development of surfing through its unique surfoard design-

ers and remarkable surfers. In giving these talented filmmakers the spot-

light, Pierce and his lineup hope to recreate the pure stoke of past surf film congregations. “Some of my fondest grom memories revolve

to showcase their talents. Tis festival

around going to the local theaters and watching surf films from the late 70s on,” he says. “As soon as the lights dimmed, the music came on and the obligatory Pipeline barrel came to life right in front of your eyes. Next came the hoots, shakas, and stowaway beer bottle clanking. Who knows, you might have been sitting next to legends Chris O’Rourke, Skip Frye or Carl Ekstrom. It was truly an amazing experience that I love to revisit every chance I get, so we will work really hard on try- ing to recreate that feeling of stoke for everyone to share.”

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