Now in its 5th year, the London Surf / Film Festival celebrates the talent of the UK’s best surfers and filmmakers, as well as showcasing the hottest international surf movie premieres. The festival also brings together like-minded individuals to celebrate surf culture and to share the stoke and we were lucky enough to be invited to this years festival, where we attended the Saturday night’s screenings at the Genesis Cinema.
The setting was absolutely perfect with a relaxed and friendly buzz, and the team greeted everyone with a warm welcome as they handed out passes and goodie bags to those in attendance. The Genesis offers a well stocked bar and delightful fresh food upstairs at The Kitchen with plenty of comfy chairs in secluded corners to relax between films.
The evening got underway with the showing of Headache and Get Miles Away, two very different films with the common theme of cold-water surfing. Headache is the work of Felix Gänsicke who follows the BINSURFEN crew on a frigid journey of exploration through Germany, Denmark, Scotland and Iceland. Get Miles Away is a delightful documentary from filmmaker Ben Gulliver and photographer Jeremy Koreski, who have spent a lifetime discovering and exploring waves along the coastline of Canada.
After a short interval and the opportunity to refuel at The Kitchen and grab a drink at Bar Paragon, the crowd were introduced to the big wave surfer and Mavericks Invitational winner Chris Bertish, who was at the LS/FF to premiere his movie Ocean Driven. Ocean Driven is the true story of Chris’ unfaltering determination to become one of the best big wave surfers in the world and the journey and hard work it took for him to realise his dream. The film was engrossing and empowering and there was the opportunity for the crowd, who were completely absorbed by his story, to pitch questions to Chris, who left the whole theatre inspired.
During the closing session, we got to see the World Premiere of Matungou, the feature film of the Fourth Team’s recent trip to the Mentawais, which is a fantastic British movie without any unnecessary bullshit or pretence. Featuring some of the UK’s best surfers, including Gearoid McDaid, Oli Adams and Alan Stokes, the film is buoyant, amusing and graced with some incredible surfing, accompanied by a diverse soundtrack. Adam “Bearman” Griffiths deserves a special mention for his deftness on his longboard on the unforgiving Indonesian walls.
The night closed with the UK premiere of the highly acclaimed Attractive Distractions, which was really as good as the hype has made it out to be. Albee layer, John John Florence and Matt Meola dazzle with their aerial skills whilst the Jaws section of the film is simply gripping with some classy camera work and intimidating barrels.
All in all a splendid evening out in the Big Smoke, where the LS/FF team have created a relaxed, intimate and easy going occasion, that was both welcoming and informal. The London Surf Film Festival continues next weekend on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th of October at the Regent Street Cinema with tickets still available for both nights. What could be a better way of spending a Friday or Saturday night than at the flicks watching surf movies on the big screen, bathed with Dolby surround sound and with a laid back and enthusiastic audience? Thank you London Surf Film Festival, see you in 2016!