How To: Make Independent Films In The Social Media Age
An interview with Andrew Kaineder about ‘Beyond The Noise’ featuring Harrison Roach and Noah Lane.
We’ve been re-infected with a love for making full length surf films of late. They’re a tough slog and a dying form today (remember when they used to come enclosed in every second surf mag?) but it’s worth it.
Fortunately, we’re not the only people with a passion for making surf films long again. The ease, accessibility and insatiable updates are great, but it’s a different form to the surf footage which shaped most of our formative years.
Andrew Kaineder, a young independent filmmaker from NSW’s south coast is someone who’s re-igniting the light.
He’s shot and released clips like ‘Bezerke’, ‘The Man & The Sea’, and ‘A Lunar Cycle’ before – all of which have received accolades from Best Cinematography to Vimeo Staff Picks and SURFER poll nominations – now his latest, ‘Beyond The Noise’ is extending into that attention intensive full length range. And judging from the accolades alone it’s his best yet: winning best cinematography at both the London Surf Film Fest and Bells Beach Surf Film fest.
Beyond The Noise was shot over a three month span predominantly in Ireland. Harrison Roach and Noah lane are the main subjects, and the entire film was shot in front of the lenses of both Andrew Kaineder and Todd Barnes.
Considering this film project was almost entirely self-funded (Andrew didn’t work for 10 months to get it done), we lined up a little interview with him about the process. That interview sits below.
“The good thing about Riley’s is it’s just as perfect at 2-foot as it is at 8.” Although it’s a lot less threatening at the size as Harrison Roach gut slides through a small one.
Stab: So Andrew, looking back, how did this all come to be? Completely independent, particularly solo films are a rarity in surfing now.
I kinda pre-planned it all. When I moved home from Berlin a couple years ago, I was keen to get back into surfing, especially surf photography. I was listening to a Godspeed You, Black Emperor song and I thought ‘I want to create something like this in surfing’. Something deeper, a deeper meaning, but something that isn’t preachy. You know, I didn’t want to preach about pollution or saying the world is fucked the whole time.
I wanted to create something which could be watched and enjoyed for good filming, a good soundtrack, but had a deeper meaning if people were interested.
I didn’t know I was going to shoot it with Harry until last minute, but Noah I always kinda thought would be the perfect fit. I thought Harry would complement NoaH, he was keen, and then it went from there.
How did you get them in Ireland together?
Well Noah lives in Ireland, and we chose Ireland cause the whole joint is incredible. Another reason for choosing there was cause it was going to be cheaper making an independent film in Ireland. I stayed with Noah over there, he knows the area, and we already had a car etcetera. It reduced cost a tonne.
Harry came for a bit over two weeks, whereas Noah and I shot together for over three months.
They actually never surf together, well at least in the film anyway. It’s a shame we didn’t get both of them together but we just kind of made it work.
Twin’s aren’t just useful on NSW’s right hand points, they’re also Harry’s craft of choice in chilly Irish waters.
In what way does their surfing complement one another? Did you have a sort of role in the way they surfed, or what you shot of them?
Harry rides longboards, twins, shortboards and then Noah does the same. They’re both just surfing whatever boards fit the conditions at the time. They’re not obsessed with one sort of craft. Surfing wise I didn’t instruct them on what to do or say I wanted to capture a particular moment. It was quite natural. I just shot the surfing that they wanted to do in the conditions. I let them dictate what they wanted to surf, and then directed what I wanted to shoot based on that.
There’s everything from riding 8-10ft slabs, punchy smaller waves, longboarding and even Harry bodysurfing Riley’s.
It has all the different aspects of surfing in it. It’s not trying to be an ‘alternate’ surf film filled with logging and twin fins.
Was it hard to reconcile these different aspects of surfing? I guess a lot of films focus around the craft the surfers are riding as that’s what surfers, the audience, are interested in.
Continuity was a bit hard at times [laughs], but I think we made it work. The way I structured the film made it easier to have all these different aspects. It’s not like it’s set-up like a surf-trip all happening in chronological order.
All of it had my and Todd Barnes shooting, so we had two angles.
How did you go self-funding this thing?
Went into heaps of debt [laughs]. The film was somewhat supported by Canon though which helped.
They were running this competition called ‘show us what’s possible’ which was essentially an open brief to professionals in film making and photography. I submitted a three-page treatment and they ended up supporting the film. I didn’t get any monetary support, but they helped me out with a tonne of equipment.
That helped a lot, but I paid for everything else. I paid for Harry’s flights to go over and stuff. That’s not coming out of their own or sponsor’s money. Just mine.
It’s not like I pitched to their sponsors either. I didn’t want anyone else to try and direct the film or have too much input, so I kept it separate from sponsors and what not.
A good spot to check it from, not such a good spot if you actually want to surf it.
How long did you not work for?
I shot for three months and the previous marketing guy at Canon said I needed to have it out within a year. I didn’t end up working for like 10 months total. I did a few small jobs here and there, but at the same time it was a long period to not have solid work.
In hindsight it would’ve been smart to shoot, come back and work, build up the bank account then start editing. But oh well, I’m here now.
How were the premieres?
It was in the London surf film festival, that was the world premiere. There were some other films like momentum generation which played their too.
Noah’s sponsor helped us put on events in the UK, then we premiered in Ireland which was sick, then we did a tour in France. Then just did the one screening in Sydney.
People have been really supportive of what we did though. People were happy to come and pay to see the film too. Especially people in Australia, I feel like everyone was happy to pay the price of a beer to come and see a film which I’d put a year into making. It felt great getting good turns out and support.
I thought a lot of people would expect everything for free because brand’s are paying the expenses and releasing them online for example, but people were more than willing to pay their way. It’s not like brands can even afford to do that anymore, it’s not quite Kelly and Dane in the Quikky days anymore.
Social media and online viewing like Youtube and Vimeo would’ve definitely hurt that too.
For sure, I think things are changing back a bit though, or maybe I’m just deluded. I’ve stopped watching short effortless content. I’d rather pay for something longer, a full length or decent length film project and feel invested in it.
The mindset is different watching those things too. You’re focused and prepared to sit down and engage in the film. Whereas if you’re scrolling past something has to really grab your attention, and even then you’re not going to actually absorb what you’re watching.
I did buy Stab in the Dark!
If you would like to buy or rent and inevitably watch, Beyond The Noise, then you can so do by heading to this hyperlinked site. It is very good!
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