Harry Bryant's Milk-Drinking, Camel-Riding Fever Dream Is About To See The Light Of Day - Stab Mag

Watch: The Electric Acid Surfboard Test, Starring Shaun Manners


Harry Bryant’s Milk-Drinking, Camel-Riding Fever Dream Is About To See The Light Of Day

‘Motel Hell’ is a three year lovechild of slabs, lactose, and live music.

cinema // Oct 27, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“None of it means anything, we’re not trying to tell a story, we just want to inject a bit of character and a bit of soul back into surf films,” Harry Bryant tells me, after heartily chuckling about my name. “Everything is so instantaneous now, and I’m not negging out on it, I just have a different view. I’m lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work on a surf movie, and this is how I wanted to do it. Vans and Monster gave us full creative freedom, they trusted us, and this is the product of that.”

After three years, Harry Bryant and filmmaker Dave Fox’s lovechild — ‘Motel Hell’ — is ready for the public eye. As you’ll see from the above trailer, it looks to quite possibly lodge itself in the collective library of unforgettable surf cinema. 

“We’ve been chipping away at this for a while — and the first part of the film is based in Australia through the lockdowns. When everything opened back up, we wanted to go places aside from the same surf camps where you’re guaranteed waves.”

“To this day, I find myself sitting on the couch watching videos like Loose Change, Doped Youth, all of these clips with skit elements to them,” Harry says. “We gained a lot of inspiration from Jack McCoy, and those corny skit-type things that don’t necessarily mean anything. The storyline of the film is just ridiculous, the whole aim of it is to confuse people. When we weren’t surfing, everyone who was involved was running around towns in overalls, shooting skits with an old 16mm wind-up film camera. That was the most fun part of the trips — like trying to find a guy on the beach who has a camel we can rent for half an hour.”

The narrative, as Harry tells me, seems to swirl around a dark lactose wormhole, the likes of which Ralph Steadman and Jim Morrison could only dream of. 

“Basically, I wake up stranded in the desert and see the mirage of a pub in the distance. The bartender serves me up a glass of milk, and I’m looking around the pub. Everyone seems to be drinking milk, and it’s sending them flat-out insane, but there’s nothing else to drink, so I pound it. That’s basically a time portal, and I wake-up on a riverbank in Indonesia, where Dion and Shaun Manners pick me up.”

Not for the faint of lactose tolerance.

Though they began shooting during the COVID lockdowns, the film evolved and grew as borders opened and surf travel became possible again. Rather than jet to Deserts, however, Harry and the fellas ventured to a handful of less trodden coastlines — hoping to immerse the viewer into different cultures.

“We wanted to go places aside from the same surf camps where you’re guaranteed waves. Immersing into culture, and giving people the feeling of each place. Hopefully people watch it and want to pack their board bags to go somewhere random.”

“We also had the whole soundtrack scored by some local artists around Wollongong,” Harry adds, proudly. “It was a really cool process, we rented a music studio, projected a timeline of footage up on the wall, had five or six bands come in over the space of three days, and jammed out to the footage until we were like ‘yep, that works.’”

“With music licensing now, it’s insane. If you want a video to live on the internet, the loopholes you’ve gotta jump through are ridiculous. We just wanted to create something new. It’s original sound to footage that noone has seen before. I thought that was pretty cool.”

“The collection of crew who gave us their time for this was huge. Especially Big Dav, the editor. He’s got a one-year old daughter, and he’s been darting around the world filming me surfing, and now he’s living at home manically editing a full length film. He’s got such a creative mind, and having that work ethic in someone who backs me has been insane.”

Here’s where you can watch the film in the coming months.

Full Stab Interview with Haz coming upon digi release.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Full Frame: Tosh Tudor’s Black’s Beach Excavation

Jimmicane explains a water-angled San Diego gem.

Dec 6, 2023

Unlocked: ‘Growing Normal On The Phone’ — A Visual Epitaph To Shaun Manners’ Adolescence

"I was accelerating so fast in a certain direction that I kinda ricocheted off into…

Dec 6, 2023

Tahitian Government “Pauses” Construction Of Teahupo’o Tower After Mass Backlash

A positive case of "Stick-it-to-the-man-eosis".

Dec 6, 2023

Russia’s Best Surfer Won A National Title In A Lake Before Posting Up In Indo 

Nikita Avdeev plans to shed light on Russia's begrudging surf scene.

Dec 6, 2023

Surfing And Cricket: Sports Of Lords

The only things worse than watching paint dry.

Dec 5, 2023

Watch Now: We Scored Mainland Italy With Leonardo Fioravanti 

Bet you didn't know the Mediterranean Sea could look like this.

Dec 4, 2023

World #4 Joao Chianca Hospitalised After Multiple-Wave Hold Down At Pipe

“His board was tombstoning and when they got to it, he was stuck at the…

Dec 3, 2023

Why Is The WSL (Really) Not Going To J-Bay In 2024?

An analysis of politics, exchange rates and sponsorship dollars at South Africa's premier point.

Dec 3, 2023

Teahupo’o Reef “Massacred” By Olympic Barge

Should surfers boycott the IOC?

Dec 3, 2023

Two Percent’s “Smooch” Starts With Kanye, Ends With Crosby, Lives Up To The Hype

A visual representation of California's world-class surf renaissance.

Dec 2, 2023

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test Starring Shaun Manners, Episode Two

Solitude at last.

Dec 1, 2023

“It’s A Huge Cash Prize And We Never Make Money Anymore — We’re All Only Thinking About Winning”

Nine young talents respond and reflect on their 2023 Vans Pipe Masters invites.

Dec 1, 2023

The Floater: Relevant Roof Ride Or Unflushable Turd?

Careful what you wish for, floater haters. Because in a surf world without them, Kelly…

Nov 30, 2023

Full Frame: Portuguese Serendipity 

Torrey Meister by Joao Bracourt, somewhere in southern Portugal.

Nov 28, 2023

Red Bull No Contest Drops Anchor In Tahiti, Gets Treated To Region’s Deadly/Non-Deadly Waves + Address Tower Controversy

Featuring the first man to surf Teahupo’o, the Spartan, and two (likely) future Olympic medallists. 

Nov 28, 2023

Russell Bierke’s SEOTY ‘Snapped’ Noa Deane + Conjured Demonic Screams At The Opening Prem In Milton

‘Not many people treat big, solid waves like a fucking play pen,” explains Noz.

Nov 28, 2023

The 10th SEOTY Entry Features The Odd 13-Second Cathedral

Watch ISA World Junior Champ Grayson Hinrichs in 'Surfish'.

Nov 26, 2023

Jai Glindeman Samples Parko’s ‘Golden Child’ Board, Unlocks New Facets Of Already-Stellar Surfing

Come bask in the ascension.

Nov 25, 2023