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Stab x Cola Bros’ “DNA” Wins Best Surf Movie

Full Florida Film Festival winners list inside.

elsewhere // Nov 24, 2022
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last weekend, the Florida Surf Film Festival went off at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, in sunny New Smyrna Florida, just after Hurricane Nicole almost flattened the East Coast small wave mecca.

“One of the biggest rewards of hosting the festival is our ability to host filmmakers and surfers from around the world and this year did not disappoint,” says FSFF’s John Brooks. “We kicked off the year with the world premiere of Ben Gravy’s, For the Dream, an amazing night with an overflowing packed house. Ben’s inspirational story is highly recommended.

“We also hosted Peter Hamblin and the El Salvador crew as they premiered Sweet Adventure and took home the coveted Viewer’s Choice Feature Award – Feature. One of our favorite singer/songwriters Matt Costa dipped his toe into the filmmaking world and came out to the festival to show off his short film, Donde Los Terremotos, earning Best Soundtrack – Short and treating our fans to a private concert following the premiere. The two Bens — Weiland and Gulliver — came over in August and took home some hardware for their efforts, with Weiland’s Island X earning Best Surf Film – Feature and Gulliver taking Best Soundtrack – Feature for his Documentary Hail Mary, featuring the life of fearless east coaster, Balaram Stack. Floridian filmmakers Lauren Hill, Drew Miller, and Luke Khotera showed their work respectively and attended the August event.

“November closed out the year with a truly unbelievable weekend with Hurricane Nicole making landfall one day before the event. Western Australia’s pride and joy, Kerby and Cortney Brown, holed up with Kevin and John in New Smyrna Beach, riding out the storm. We also hosted Argentinian filmmaker/adventurer, Jaoquin Azulay and presented his latest work African Territory (Part One).

Facing Monsters, directed by Bentley Dean, took home the Best Documentary – Feature and Best Cinematography – Feature, shot by Rick Rifici, and if we gave an award for most vocal responses to a movie it surely would have taken that as well with audible gasps in abundance as Kerby charges era-defining, heavy water slabs.”

Here are all the winners for the festival year 2022:
Best Documentary – Short: Beyond Sunset by Keith Malloy
Best Surf Movie – Short: DNA by Jacob Vanderwork/Kyle Buthman/Stab
Best Cinematography – Short: Water III by Morgan Maassen
Best Soundtrack – Short: Donde Los Terremotos by Matt Costa
Viewers’ Choice – Short: The Color of Winter by Pat Stacy
Best Documentary – Feature: Facing Monsters by Bentley Dean/Rick Rifici
Best Surf Movie – Feature: Island X by Ben Weiland
Best Cinematography – Feature: Facing Monsters by Bentley Dean/Rick Rifici
Best Soundtrack – Feature: Hail Mary by Ben Gulliver
Viewers’ Choice – Feature: Sweet Adventure by Peter Hamblin

As if it wasn’t obvious — from the dozens and dozens of live events, premieres, and watch parties we throw or get involved in throughout the year — Stab loves projects that bring people together, especially in some of our favorite surf scenes around the US, Oz, and around the world. (And our readers, admittedly, love a party gallery.)

Last weekend was the fourth and final event of the year for the Florida Surf Film Festival, presented by Monster Energy, and included showings of Mason Ho and Joe Alani’s Through the Doggy Door, about Sheldon Paishon, Facing Monsters by director Bentley Dean, starring Kerby Brown — who was in attendance with brother Cortney, as was Jack Coleman, showing his new and excellent Natural High, as well as the Gauchos Del Mar, Joaquin and Julian Azulay, who showed their documentary traveling from Spain to South Africa, African Territory.

The November event includes the annual awards, with all films that have shown or premiered throughout the year in contention, and our very own “DNA” took home Best Surf Video, an award that filmmakers Jacob Vanderwork and Kyle Buthman very well deserved.

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