Tom Jennings' Reel Proves That West Australia Is Heaven - Stab Mag
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Tom Jennings’ Reel Proves That West Australia Is Heaven

With visuals from Head Noise, Cult of Freedom and David Attenborough docs, this West Australian savant packages up his latest goods for your viewing pleasure.

cinema // Feb 9, 2021
Words by Taylor Paul
Reading Time: 2 minutes

I first met Tom Jennings during a trip to West Australia for Surfing Magazine in 2016. I was cross eyed having just traveled 40 hours and finding out  that I had another 7 ahead of me for the nighttime drive to Kalbarri.

We had a dozen-plus people and three cars — two jam packed vans and Jenno’s station wagon, which he rolled in solo. I felt bad that nobody was riding with him, but I’d just traveled across the world and didn’t have it in me to make a new friend. 

We fixed that over the next two weeks. To call him quirky is almost too perfect a word. He was hilarious without realizing it, delivering deadpan hot takes on everything from swell forecasts, girls on the beach to modern day surfing. We had a trip-of-a-lifetime, and the entire crew still stays in touch through an Instagram message thread. Jenno is the most active. Guy can find a meme.

A couple of years after that trip, this article came out on Stab, an interview with Jenno where he talks about managing his filmmaking career while living with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. The article was so good that, when we started discussing highlighting his 2017/18 reel on Stab Premium, I suggested we re-run the interview alongside it. Give it a second life. 

“Hmm,” he wrote. “A lot has changed for me over the last few years and although it all still applies to me, I really want to branch out so that it’s only just a part of me. Does that make sense?”

It did. Nobody wants to be pigeon-holed, we’ve all got layers. And Jenno should be known as “that crazy-talented filmmaker from WA,” without any qualifiers preceding it. 

So with that in mind, have a look at the reel above. It’s from a time when Jenno wasn’t traveling much (“kinda like Covid practice” he said) and was picking eyes out of swell charts for projects like Head Noise, Blastoid, Home Body, Cult of Freedom and even a BBC Attenborough doc, which featured a few of his shots from Cyclops. 

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