Picture-perfect surf sessions
POSTED: Sunday, April 11, 2010
Those who "live surf" include more than just the folks who ride the waves. This is especially true at the pro level, where the sport has become a particularly marketable commodity.
And that's thanks in large part to the men who put their cameras in waterproof housing, don a pair of fins and get up close and personal with the surfers.
While there's always been a long line of photographers and cinematographers on shore during the dramatic winter season on the North Shore, there's just as long a line of photographers jockeying for position in the water to capture the right moment that could result in a lucrative magazine cover or print ad for their corporate clients.
It's their work that is depicted in "Fiberglass and Megapixels," the documentary made by local brothers Derek and Craig Hoffmann. The film is one of 30 films to be shown at this year's Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Showcase starting Friday (see accompanying schedule).
HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2010 SPRING SHOWCASE
» Where: Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 & IMAX
» When: Friday through April 22
» Tickets: $12; $10 seniors, military and students; $8 HIFF members
» Call: 792-1577 or www.hiff.org
"Fiberglass and Megapixels" will screen at 4:15 p.m. next Sunday. It will also be shown at 3:10 p.m. April 25 at the Honolulu Film Festival at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
» Web site: www.hoffmannfilms.com
The film has already done well in previous festival screenings—winning Best Surf Film at the Byron Bay International Film Festival in Australia and Best Editing at the X-Dance Film Festival in Salt Lake City—but, according to Derek, "it's always been our goal to premiere in Hawaii at HIFF, since my brother and I are born and raised here; plus, it'll be great to have our friends and family finally see it."
The brothers have both logged substantial credits in the TV and film industries. Derek is a camera operator on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice" and just finished his 10th season on Spike TV's mixed-martial-arts reality series "The Ultimate Fighter." Craig did four seasons of work on "Lost" and is working on the George Clooney/Alexander Payne movie adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel "The Descendants," which is filming here.
It helped that the Hoffmanns were already friends with many of the surfers and photographers interviewed in their film. The duo, operating under the aegis of Sandy Beach Productions, hopes that "Fiberglass and Megapixels" will serve as a "calling card" that enables them to take part in future projects that accurately reflect the island experience.
Derek said "one of the goals is to license (the 48-minute film) to either a cable or major network for it to air."
The documentary was filmed over a two-year period but works as a seamless whole in capturing the relationship between the surfers and photographers.
"I think we tell a unique and interesting story, and we try to portray how these guys get these great photographs," said Derek.
"It would've been easy to do a movie to just appeal to the surfer and action sports crowd, but it was our intention to make a film a general audience could get into and enjoy."
"The movie is ultimately about enjoying what you do and not settling for any old job," added Craig. "What the photographers do in the water can be risky at times, but what they're going after is the best shot possible."
Top films at the festival
Synopses for some of the most critically acclaimed movies screening at HIFF:
» "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (9 p.m. Saturday): Based on a popular Swedish crime novel, a disgraced journalist and a troubled computer hacker are hired to investigate the disappearance of a young woman from a wealthy family.
» "I Am Love" (6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. April 21): A standout at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Tilda Swinton stars in this sensuous Italian melodrama about the love between the wife of a wealthy textile merchant and a gifted but humble chef who wants to open a restaurant with her son.
» "Mao's Last Dancer" (6:30 p.m. Friday): Veteran Australian director Bruce Beresford tells the story of a Chinese boy's grueling apprenticeship to become a classical dancer, leading to his celebrity status in America. Starring Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen and Hawaii-born Amanda Schull.
» "Micmacs" (6:15 p.m. April 22): "Amelie" director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's satire on the arms trade has an eccentric group coming up with an intricate plan to wreak havoc on weapons manufacturers.
» "The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones" (noon Saturday and 2:30 p.m. April 18): In 1907 a renowned surveyor and his crew are recruited by the Japanese military to scale the most treacherous mountain in the county, Mount Tsurugidake.
» "Waking Sleeping Beauty" (8 p.m. April 21): Don Hahn's documentary on the comeback of Disney studio animation after hard times in the 1980s, resulting in hits "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King."
More film festival highlights
The film lineup:
» "About Elly" (7 p.m. April 20 and 1 p.m. April 22): In this Iranian drama, a lively woman, brought along by her father to a weekend outing with old college pals in hopes of setting her up with one of them, mysteriously disappears.
» "Ajami" (3 p.m. Saturday and 3:15 p.m. April 19): A crime drama set in the street of the titular Israeli neighborhood, which holds a volatile mixture of Jews, Muslims and Christians.
» "Beautiful Islands" (1:30 p.m. April 18): The everyday lives of islanders who live in Tuvalu in the South Pacific; Venice, Italy, and Shishmaref, Alaska, are also documented.
» "Blood Into Wine" (6 p.m. April 22): Maynard James Keenan, the front man for the rock band Tool, attempts to grow a wine vineyard in the harsh Arizona terrain.
» "Bran Nue Dae" (Noon Saturday and 2:30 p.m. April 20): A successful film adaptation of a hit 1990 Australian musical about an Aboriginal youth who runs away from his boarding school and, with the help of his "uncle," cons a couple of hippies into taking them across the continent and back to the boy's port hometown.
» "A Brand New Life" (4:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. April 22): A 9-year-old Korean girl is abandoned by her father at an orphanage, where she learns to bond with the other girls there.
» "Cafe Seoul" (6:45 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. April 19): A Japanese journalist who travels to different countries to write about traditional desserts comes across a traditional Korean cafe run by three brothers of different personalities.
» "The Chef of South Polar" (8:45 p.m. April 21 and 3:30 p.m. April 22): A member of a Japanese research team stationed near the South Pole manages to concoct luxurious meals for his appreciative co-workers.
» "Fair Love" (6 p.m. April 19 and 3:15 p.m. April 20): In this Korean feature an unconventional romance blossoms between a taciturn man and his terminally ill friend's socially awkward daughter.
» "Fathers and Guns" (8:30 p.m. April 20 and 1 p.m. April 22): This French-Canadian box office hit is a buddy comedy about a pair of dysfunctional father-son cops who, to save the life of a fellow officer who has been kidnapped by a biker gang, are forced to go undercover at a touchy-feely bonding retreat.
» "Fiberglass and Megapixels" (4:15 p.m. April 18): See feature on Page 46.
» "A Good Rain Knows" (5:30 p.m. April 18 and 6 p.m. April 20): During a business trip in China, love is rekindled between a Korean man and a Chinese woman who originally met while in college in America.
» "The Last Train Home" (6 p.m. April 19 and 2 p.m. April 21): Another Sundance entry, this documentary is about the fractured lives of a Chinese migrant family when the daughter, feeling abandoned by her parents' decision to go to the city to do factory work, decides to become a migrant worker herself, thereby breaking her parents' hearts.
» "The Message" (9:30 p.m. Friday and 8:45 p.m. April 18): Taiwanese director Chen Kuo-fu directs this box-office hit, a mystery involving Chinese resistance agents and Japanese intelligence officers in a battle of wits during World War II.
» "Mid-August Lunch" (5 p.m. April 20 and 4:15 p.m. April 21): Director Gianni di Gregorio plays a middle-age man who, already living with his 93-year-old mother in an ancient Rome apartment, takes in four other "mamas" in need of lodging.
» "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" (2:15 p.m. Saturday and 3:45 p.m. April 19): The Oscar-nominated documentary about the high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist who concluded in 1971 that the war was based on decades of lies and leaked thousands of pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times.
» "One Piece Film: Strong World" (8:45 p.m. April 18 and 9:30 p.m. April 20): Based on the popular anime series, it's the latest adventure about a superpowered teenage pirate and his crew as they attempt to rescue his kidnapped navigator held on a flying island.
» "Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam" (11:30 a.m. April 18): This documentary takes a candid look at what happened to the adoptees and volunteers who were part of a mass evacuation of Vietnamese orphans to the U.S. and other countries that took place at the end of the Vietnam War.
» "Robogeisha" (10 p.m. Friday): Another one of those over-the-top Japanese action flicks, this time about two sisters who, vying for the affection of a handsome and wealthy steel baron, transform themselves into robot assassins.
» "Summer Wars" (8:15 p.m. April 19): An anime sci-fi film about a timid math geek who has been falsely implicated in the hacking of a virtual world and, with the help of an upperclassman's extensive family, must prevent the real and computer-simulated worlds from colliding.
» "Three Idiots" (11 a.m. April 18 and 5 p.m. April 21): A Bollywood comedy about two friends who embark on a quest for a lost buddy. On the way they grapple with a long-forgotten bet, crash a wedding and go to a funeral that goes impossibly out of control.
» "Today's Special" (8:30 p.m. April 22): A heartwarming movie about a chef who, after being passed over for promotion at the upscale Manhattan restaurant that he works at, resigns and heads back to his Jackson Heights home to try to make a success of his family's dilapidated Indian restaurant.
» "Typeface" (6:15 p.m. April 21): This documentary focuses on a rural Wisconsin museum and print shop where international graphic designers meet retired craftsmen and together navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique.
» "Villon's Wife" (6 p.m. April 18): A Japanese drama about a novelist's devoted wife who, despite his self-destructiveness, works at a bar as a self-professed "guarantee" for the money he stole from it.
» "Vincere" (8:45 p.m. April 19): The closely guarded story of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's secret lover and son is revealed in fittingly operatic proportions in this tour de force from veteran director Marco Bellocchio.
See our HiLife section on Friday for capsule reviews of the festival's top films. Also, see the Wednesday food section for an interview with Maynard James Keenan, the subject of the documentary "Blood Into Wine."