Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ben Marcus Chats With Save The Waves Film Festival

Turns out that Save The Waves Film Festival is this Friday at the Victoria Theatre, somewhere in San Francisco. Josh Berry (the event producer for STW) offered a free ticket and no margaritas or poki, but he did add: “Hell, the bar sponsors are Ocean Vodka, Jim Beam, some rum, 21st Amendment Brewery, Peligroso Tequila, Zola Acai.”

That all sounded good but I still had reservations. First of all I worked at Surfer Magazine for 10 years and one of my claims to fame was starting the Surfer Magazine Surf Video Awards. This is a really big show now but when I did it the first four years, it was me and a guy named Fran Battaglia suffering the “one yard stare” sitting in an editing booth looking at hour after hour after hour after hour after hour after hour after hour of endless surf videos. Most of them numbingly the same. The Surfer Video Awards shows were great but I swore I would never watch another surf video again.

I come from a time a long time ago in a decade far far away, a time called the 1970s, when surf movies were actually movies, and shot on film. They were expensive to make and so they were rare, and it was a very big deal when a traveling surf movie would roll into town. Surf movies like Five Summer Stories and Free Ride were a big deal then - they were hard to make and special, in the times before the instant gratification of the Internet.

So I avoid surf videos but could be missing out, because sometimes I’ll see an impressive, interesting effort like the Kelly Slater documentary, and wonder what else I am missing.

I expressed that to Josh and he fouled it off: “We've got a short film called THE SURF MAGAZINES DON'T TALK ABOUT LAPSED CATHOLICS that you absolutely must see. Then we screen a short film collection that's 20 mins long, followed by a quick intro chat to the Mavericks short film CHASING THE SWELL (15 mins short), followed by a solid intermission with live music, and ended with 87 minutes of 180 SOUTH to finish the night. So you can sneak out at various opportunities but I recommend you see CHASING THE SWELL. And the short films that start the night are fricken good, no surf porn waste of space. I also passionately hate surf films, and this will be different if I've done my job.”

So that sounded promising. My other claim to fame at Surfer was writing the first story about Mavericks. My dad lived on Airport Road about a mile from the place and so I had been riding motorcycles up to the north of the spot since the 1970s, and used to see it break all the time. That led to me contacting Jeff Clark when I worked at Surfer and opening Pandora’s Bowl.

So the movies sounded good but I also told Josh I was allergic to hipsters. I said that one of the disadvantages of age is seeing endless generations of 20-somethings reinvent the wheel. When I was a kid, tattoos were low class and bad taste. Now that tattoos are hip, they’re truly vulgar. I said hipsters made me start sneezing and I didn’t want to disrupt the show.

I attended the premiere showing of 180 South in Santa Barbara last winter, and there were so many bearded 20-somethings in puffy Patagonia jackets, they had to haul me out of there on a crash cart. Josh Berry commiserated. He said that he, too, was allergic to hipsters, and he said that he, too, didn’t like surf movies. He apologized again for the lack of margaritas and/or poki, but hoped I would attend anyway.

Maybe I will and maybe I won’t but I am old and jaded. If you are young and fresh, it sounds pretty good: Save The Waves Film Festival is on Friday, Nov 12 at 7pm at the Victoria Theatre. Located at 2961 16th Street, San Francisco. Advance tickets sold here:

- by Ben Marcus

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