Reviving a Tradition
Converse helps artist Thomas Campbell tour America’s coastal towns this summer to premiere his new 16mm Indy film documentary-Sprout-and restores a surfing heritage in the process.
“Barnstorming” surf films began in the late 1950s with surfer/cinematographers like Bud and Bruce Brown and continued through the ’60s and early ’70s. They showed their independent documentary films on one-screen theaters and in high school auditoriums and down the West and East Coast. Within a few years surf film screenings became a time-honored tradition-a gathering of the tribes. Having limited communication, these movie premiers became the only functional way for surfers to exchange thoughts and ideas on equipment, music and the culture itself. But with rising film costs in the late ’70s and the advent of video in the early ’80s this cultural happening literally vanished from existence as the four-wall viewing experience moved the most living rooms.
In recent years however, surf filmmakers like California’s Thomas Campbell have re-kindled the spirit of touring an independent surf flick and are helping resurrect this surfing tradition in the process.
Campbell’s new feature length film (approx. 70 minutes) Sprout, shot entirely on 16mm stock, documents a new movement in surfing: The longstanding divided wall between longboarders and shortboarders is breaking down fast, and amongst the rubble open-minded surfers are discovering that it’s OK to embrace all forms of waveriding.
Join Thomas Campbell as he travels the world with his 16mm Bolex camera capturing some of the world’s best surfers like Joel Tudor, Dan Malloy, David Rastovich, Ozzie Wright, Skip Frye, Alex Knost, Rob Machado, Ozzie Wright, CJ. Nelson, Kassia Meador, Belinda Baggs and Jimmy Gamboa among others. See them riding world-class breaks on logs, eggs, mats, fishes, shorties, single-fin guns and more. With Campbell’s artful perspective on the diverse mix of surfers, locations and equipment being ridden, Sprout promises to deliver one of the most unique and unforgettable viewing experiences in surfing to date.
Campbell asked Converse to join his efforts in making Sprout possible. Since the Jack Purcells kicks have been part of the surfing culture since the 1930s, and with the Chuck Taylor All Star being embraced by the early ’60s, and the One Star in the ’70s, Converse seemed a perfect fit for Sprout. Converse has always been connected with the surfing arena, and much like Campbell the brand is returning to its roots by supporting such a project as Sprout. With people like Campbell dedicating their lives to making surfing films, and a brand like Converse to support it, this crucial aspect of surfing’s heritage and culture will live on.
With more than half of the East Coast tour already finished there are still a number of stops left on the Right Coast. Several of the film’s featured surfers have been present for each stop like Dan Malloy, Alex Knost, and Devon Howard. Every venue has had one of the bands present from the film’s soundtrack to treat the audience to some jazzy tunes while getting seated. Viewers also have a chance at winning some free kicks and Ts from Converse with their winning raffle ticket. If you are in one of the tour stop locations this coming week be sure to check out Sprout at any of the following cities:
8/23-24 Orlando, FL (Waterford Lake Theater)
8/25 St. Petersberg, FL (Bch Theater)
8/26 Jupiter,FL (TBA)
8/28 Ft. Laderdale,FL (Cinema Paradiso)
8/31 Pensacola, FL (Gulf Breeze Cinema)
Starting in early September, Sprout will make its West Coast run in beginning in San Diego and do a full lap up to San Francisco. For the one-minute Sprout trailer and more info on the film see www.trimyourlifeaway.com or check out www.converse.com for info on their new surf team. Thiss film is also made possible by The Moonshine Conspiracy, the makers of Thicker Than Water, Shelter, and September Sessions. Click Here for more about The Moonshine Conspiracy.