Dissecting the 2011 SURFER Poll “Best Documentary” category

The 2011 Surfer Poll Awards will take place December 6th at the Turtle Bay resort and the nominees for Video Awards categories have been posted. This year may be the most competitive awards yet as the quality of filmmaking continues to reach new heights.

We take a stab at dissecting the “Best Documentary” category. By definition a documentary film is a broad category of moving pictures intended to document some aspect of Reality. In this case the reality being Surfing.

The 2011 Surfer Poll Best Documentary, and the nominees are…


Synopsis– In the 1980s an intrepid Australian pilot left behind a surfboard in the seaside village of Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. Twenty years later, surfing is not only a pillar of village life but also a means to prestige. With no access to economic or educational advancement, let alone running water and power, village life is hermetic.A spot on the Papua New Guinea national surfing team is the way to see the wider world; the only way.

Directed and Shot by Adam Pesce

GrindTV Breakdown- It’s hard to imagine a surfboard changing an entire culture of a village but with Splinters director Pesce managed to illustrate the massive impact it had on Papua New Guinea. The raw emotion and passion from the people in this film truly make this documentary a must watch. The film has been successful at film festival’s this season including winning “Best Documentary” at the 2011 London Surf Film Festival and the “Audience Award” at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Splinters has an above average chance of adding SURFER Poll “Best Documentary” to the list of accolades.

Chances of Winning-***(3 out of 4)

Lost and Found
Synopsis- The film begins in 2007, when Doug Walker found roughly 30,000 missing film negatives from the Surfing Magazine archive at a Pasadena swap meet. After spending 1 year organizing the collection Doug decided to reunite them with their original sources and subjects. He figured there just may be a story there. For the last 3+ years Doug has been capturing stories that if not told will be lost.

Directed by Doug Walker

GrindTV Breakdown- The movie highlights the deep connections these guys have with the lost pictures but more importantly the deep connection to surfing. Given the opportunity to sort through the lost negatives sparked memories of stories that happened 30 years ago for these photographers. If your a fan of surfing, especially a fan of the history of Surfing this is a must watch. The Film made its debut to a delighted audience at the New York Film Festival earlier this year.

Chances of Winning-**(2 out of 4)

White Wash
Synopsis- The film explores the complexity of race in America through the eyes of the ocean. Examining the history of “black consciousness” as it triumphs and evolves into the minds of black surfers, we learn the power of transcending race as a constructive phenomenon. The story is narrated by the legendary Ben Harper along with Tariq “Blackthought” Trotter of The Roots whom also originally scored the film.

Directed by Ted Woods

GrindTV Breakdown- Black culture and surfing culture are two seemingly different circles, that was until the film proves otherwise. It was a long time coming for a film to focus on the complexity of race as it exist in the sport of surfing. The film uses a different approach towards examining Surf culture rather than the typical surf film we’ve seen in the past. The film’s debut at the New York Film Festival left a lasting impact on those lucky enough to be there for the screening.

Chances of Winning-***(3 out of 4)

Minds In The Water
Synopsis- The film follows the quest of professional surfer Dave Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Through Dave’s journey–a five-year adventure spanning the globe from Australia to the Galapagos, Tonga, California, Alaska and Japan. We see one surfer’s quest to activate his community to help protect the ocean and its inhabitants.

Directed by Justin Krumb

GrindTV Breakdown- The message of the film is two fold: The power of one individual to inspire people to take action and make a difference and if ocean minded people are to pass on a sustainable culture, then they must become responsible stewards of their coastal environment. It’s difficult to walk away from this film without a deep feeling towards wanting to do your part to help in anyway possible. This film is more than deserving of the award.

Chances of Winning-***(3 out of 4)

All of these films are deserving of the award but in the end the film that leaves the biggest impact on us is SPLINTERS…

Who would you pick? Head to Surfer Magazine and let them know how you feel.

Watch the live stream at surferpoll.com beginning at 7 pm Hawaii time (9 pm PST) and will air live on Time Warner Cable west region in Southern California at approximately 10 pm to 2 am PST and replay on a future Sunday (TBD).