BlueGreen Surf Film Explores the Connection Between Humans and the Ocean
As The Present prepares to head east, we'd like to share news about a different kind of surf film. Ben Keller of Dubious Honor Productions, and friend of Patagonia's El Pescador, is about to take his award-winning film BlueGreen on a 14-show west-coast tour starting this Friday, April 10, in Seattle, Washington. A new surfboard will be raffled off at each screening and proceeds will benefit local Surfrider chapters.
I say "different" because BlueGreen isn't about the gnarliest waves or the latest boat trip to Indo. It's a film that explores the connection between human beings and the ocean through stories from various ambassadors of surfing. In Ben's own words:
Blue green is a surf film, yes. But it is more than that. It is an exploration of our ties to the ocean – beyond the obvious. The film talks with [Patagonia ambassadors] Keith Malloy and Liz Clark, who have two very unique takes on the subject, as well as 11 others, and looks at the subject from different points of view: from the scientific to the evolutionary, the philosophical to the religious, the technological to the blue-collar. Of course, if you are going to expound upon the human connection to the ocean, you can't really avoid an environmental message. You bump right up against it. So the film explores that as well, from how the surf industry affects it to what we as people need to consider.
Hit the jump for some pictures and stories from the making of the film, the full tour schedule and information on purchasing the BlueGreen DVD.
More from Ben Keller, director and producer of BlueGreen:
Liz [Clark] and Keith [Malloy] are both inspirational. Keith says in the film, "I would rather see somebody try to make a difference in some tiny way, than to just say, 'screw it,' because I think we can [make a difference]." Both see the ocean as connecting the human race and thus see the need to try to nurture that connection and protect it. That's a super strong message. I had made a film previous to this one called 'Ishmael' which is a documentary about winter surfing in New England, and what makes these folks surf huge, freezing cold breaks. I picked up on a stream of thought while making that one: maybe there was something more to the attraction than just the best wave riding season in New England; maybe there was something deeper, something that really attracted people to the ocean or drew them to it in some way. So I decided to try to flush that out further in BlueGreen.
[Film still courtesy of Dubious Honor Productions]
I found that the connection is everywhere. It's intensely personal, it manifests itself in many different ways, and has for millennia. But one of the most important things to come through in the film, besides that we all have the connection in one way or another, is the idea of trying to protect the ocean in order to maintain the connections. If the connection is broken, it could have consequences, for us and the world. Both Keith and Liz make this point. So while we are conflicted, participating in an industry that generally is damaging in order to maintain and nurture our connections, there are people out there trying to figure it out – trying to make it better while still doing what they love, and feel the need to do: surf, or whatever ocean-oriented activity or school of thought they pursue.
[Keith Malloy relaxes with the sound man after his longboard segment. Photo: Dubious Honor Productions]
Keith was funny. We interviewed him on possibly the tiniest day Ventura has ever seen so we drove around for about an hour and settled on the point near the pier. We spent an hour filming him riding knee- to thigh-high rollers on a 10-foot board. It was great because it shows his versatility as a waverider. It was an incredibly hot day so we took him out to breakfast and then interviewed him on his patio. Poor guy was sweating. But we talked to him about his path as a surfer and what brought him to Patagonia actually. He had some very lucid points to make about the industry, and how he had to balance how he connected to the ocean with the damage that that industry does environmentally. We use his interview to segue into the interview with the chairman of the Surfrider Foundation and the environmental portion of the film.
[Liz Clark and Anna Santoro prepare for their scene. Photo: Dubious Honor Productions]
Liz was actually a last minute add on to the film and turned out to be one of the best interviews of all! I initially started out with her at the beginning of the film but then moved her more to the middle because I wanted to strengthen that part of the film. She is an amazing human. We met her early one morning at Black's and hoofed it down to the beach for a beautiful but small morning session – where Liz performed incredibly in marginal waves – and then up to Torrey Pines for the interview. I have never met anyone who was so driven to pursue their connection to the natural world. Most of us just give it lip service. But Liz, she is living it. And in so doing is reaching an understanding about our inextricable attachments to the ocean. Every day she lives her connection, she understands the dangers of abusing it, taking it for granted as much as she revels in its beauty and its power. It has had an obvious affect on her and it really comes through in the film.
BlueGreen West Coast Film Tour
"We are all connected."
April 10 - Seattle WA, The Rendezvous Theater - 6 pm, show at 7 (Special Guest Speakers: Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen to talk about the Northwest Gyre)
April 11 - Bellingham WA, PAC Theater at WWUC - 7 pm
April 13 - Olympia WA, Capitol Theater - 6 pm, show at 7 pm (Special Guest Speakers: Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen to talk about the Northwest Gyre)
April 14 - Portland OR, Clinton Street Theater - 7 pm
April 15 - Newport OR, Newport Visual Arts Center - 7:30 pm
April 16 - Arcata CA, True North Climbing Gym - 7 pm
April 17 - Garberville CA, TBD
April 18 - San Francisco CA, The Sports Basement (Presidio - as part of Earth Day Celebration) Reception at 6 pm, show at 7 pm
April 19 - Santa Cruz CA, Rio Theater - 7 pm
April 20 - San Luis Bay (Shell Beach) CA, La Perla Del Mar - 7 pm
April 21 - Ventura CA, Zoey's Loft (2 shows!) - 6:30 pm & 8:30 pm
April 22 - Isla Vista (UCSB), IV Theater at UCSB - 8 pm
April 23 - Encinitas CA, La Paloma - 7:30 pm
April 24 - Los Angeles CA, Electric Lodge (Venice) - 7:30 pm
For those who can't make the film tour, BlueGreen is available now on DVD, which includes a soundtrack CD with music by Last Town Chorus, Scrawl, Seekonk, Harpswell Sound and more. DVDs are subtitled in French and Spanish. BlueGreen updates are available through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the good old fashion Web site, bluegreenconnection.com.
[Handbill for the April 21st screening at Zoey's in Ventura]