Innersection: A freesurfing flatform
Innersection: the platform for creating a surf movie, a short film festival for today’s hottest free surfers to show their latest work: a competition, in which, the viewers are the judge. The best section will win US$100,000. The dust has well and truly settled on the first Innersection film and it hasn’t won any surf film awards. In fact, Innersection’s already kicked-off […]
Innersection: the platform for creating a surf movie, a short film festival for today’s hottest free surfers to show their latest work: a competition, in which, the viewers are the judge. The best section will win US$100,000.
The dust has well and truly settled on the first Innersection film and it hasn’t won any surf film awards. In fact, Innersection’s already kicked-off for the second year running. There are many surf films made every year but only a handful win awards. We know who got the goods – Taylor Steele and Kai Neville sit at the top – and we expect no less than diamond-cut perfection. Work from these guys would usually, in effect, win Golden Globe-equivalent awards. More often than not, the super hype around Taylor’s work is satisfied in each of his productions; Innersection was different. We were left with an idea, two-dozen clips and a film that didn’t quite get everyone’s juices kicking.
It was great publicity for up-and-comers, but for the heavyweights on the CT? Or Jules Wilson, perhaps the Lost Atlas super-group? Dane Reynolds, Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino? Did they enter? None of em. Kelly entered and made the final 25, which of course we didn’t expect. Dion Agius, Modern Collective and Lost Atlas star, was left behind due to a lack of votes, due to the nature of the competition – majority votes rule, not flair and personal artistic ambience.
This production is, perhaps, the bane of the industry’s existence. The Internet allows for too much freedom – we can watch what we want, when we want, for a fraction of the price required to buy a movie from a surf shop. Matt Wilkinson hasn’t seen the movie, but watched most clips online. Noted particular performances were impressive, yet didn’t make the final cut. Owen Wright, again, hasn’t seen the movie and has only watched a few clips. Julian Wilson wasn’t into it, at all, even after trying to sit down and watch a couple of clips. Wilko, Owen and Jules each said Innersection wasn’t helping the surf film industry, because it makes it harder for filmmakers to survive. With the exception of Kai Neville: according to Jules, “Kai makes the best surf movies, and will be able to make money out of it even when others aren’t.” Neither Wilko, Owen nor Jules said it was Taylor’s best work, and these three guys are throwing it down hard as anyone in surfing. What went wrong?
“I wasn’t the biggest fan of that idea,” says Julian. “It felt like I would be put in a position where I would be doing all this work while Taylor would just sit there, raking in the benefit of my hard work with the filmer”.
Julian Wilson knows two things: surfing and surf films. He isn’t the sort of guy that will write people off or make statements on impulse. Unless he has a stance on the issue. When we spoke, he made two things very clear: One, he didn’t like Innersection, an internet-based multi-director production. Two, he wasn’t having any part of it, even for $100k.
“You would have to do the trips, get the footage and just hand it over to that website,” said Jules. “I wasn’t really down to do that. I didn’t have a filmer at the time either, so I would‘ve had to hire a filmer try to do a trip and have that stuff sorted. I just wasn’t going to be putting 100 percent into to it, and if you’re not, it isn’t worth it.”
The competition was designed to create a platform for creating a surf movie. The relationship between a surfer and their filmer would shine through three minutes of edited footage. Apparently. Imagine every surfer with a different edit! Variety! A wide range of music! And we get to vote! For once, these surfers need us: we can decide the fate of these guys. And I say guys in the observation not one girl entered. What’s the catch? Taylor Steele, Intersection’s conceptualist, had the final say. A surfer and their filmer produce their best work and bottom line is, if Taylor doesn’t like it, there’s nothing you can do but change it. Or be culled.
Was the movie going to have variety, or was everything being streamlined to one man’s vision? Was it an exhibition for many people, or a personalization of other’s hard work? Did Taylor have a vision? Did it stick? In an interview uploaded on Youtube, Taylor stated: “On paper it seemed great, that this was going to be a lot easier on me. But in the end, logistically, it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.”
It wasn’t exclusive, so many, many surfers entered. No prestige in that. The big boys that didn’t enter have a belief in their own marketing projects, like Jules and his choice in making Scratching the Surface. Innersection was a cleverly disguised talent quest for the public.
Taylor did cut down the influx of clips, though not enough; how can you, with that many entries? Twenty-five surfers were chosen for the movie, based on a voting system. Why bring that many surfers into a film? Baffling, I know, because that is nearly five times the amount of Mod Coll. And Jules praised the Modern Collective “the best surf movie ever”. To produce the best movies, you should have the best surfers as subject. Truthfully, there aren’t 25 surfers who are on par in that movie, for a talent show only produces so much. We have all seen talent shows. We can flick to mainstream TV for that – the viewers want something different. Even surfers want something different. We want art, flair, extremity in everything filmed – landed or not landed! Colour through music, each surfer and his style; these major productions should leave us awed through every wave, through every minute. And the Innersection voting system didn’t make that happen. – Ziggy Alberts
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