Thursday, January 30, 2014

kona surf film festival

Hangs Upon Nothing is screening tonight on the Big Island of Hawaii during the opening reception of the Kona Surf Film Festival.  A big thanks to fest director Chad Campbell for making this happen. Looks like a really awesome fest he has going out on the Big Island:

The journey of making this film in a way started on the Big Island.  It's hard to really pick a spot where it formally started, but it was there that I really dedicated my energy into making this film.  I went out there to join Chuck Corbett as crew on his boat, the Tuaraoi(Tuaraoi means to share or trade in Kiribati).  He told me I'd better get out there quick, as he was leaving for Kiribati in two weeks.  I was to help out finishing getting the boat ready, he was fixing it up he said.  He was cool with me filming him as long as I pitched in as crew.  I was interested in just filming a bit of what his life as like.  I was mostly interested in getting down to Kiribati and filming him there, where he'd spent about 30 years.

I landed in Hilo and straight away was a bit in shock as to what I walked into.  Chuck showed up at the airport barefoot, covered in grease and dirt, this weathered pirate stare out of one eye, and a light footed wander to his walk.  He was friendly though.  The boat, a 60 foot steel cutter, was a project if I've ever seen one.

Two weeks turned into four months of hard work before we set sail.  We lived on the boat, and worked on the boat six days a week.  Sundays were for relaxing and surfing.  I tried to surf just about every day, riding a beat up rusty old cruiser bike to Honoli'i at days end, and riding back in the dark.  I remember riding back in the pouring rain at night many times.

During month four we dry docked the boat in Kona for two weeks.  That was hard work, dirty work, sanding the entire boat down.  You don't want to breathe that dust in.  Boat paint is nasty stuff.  I almost threw the towel in during this time, wondering what on earth I was doing.  I felt about a million miles from making a surf film at that point.  I was so close to quitting, I remember it clearly.  I had a talk one night with Chuck and crewmate Eddie, a surfer from Texas, about quitting on the boat project, and quitting on the notion of filming Chuck to include him in this film, and just going home to Indiana.

I was able to explore the Big Island quite a bit, and filmed whenever I could.  It is one of the most majestic places on earth.  Some shots of the Big Island are in the intro of the movie, including one of a humpback whale who just happened to breach right in front of my camera.  The coolest thing about that moment was there were little baby whale calves breaching too, they looked so happy, and looked like they were copying the older whales.