SFA x Headland at Noosa
OK, I'm gonna assume you already know about the Surf Film Archive - who they are and what they do - so I'll skip the intros and cut to the chase.
On Saturday the 11th March, which is the closing weekend of the Noosa Festival of Surfing, the Surf Film Archive will be screening never-before-seen surf footage as the band HEADLAND play a live improv soundtrack. Click for a short taste of what to expect.
Prior to this rolling experiement, Ishka Folkwell and Torren Martyn - who should also need no introduction - will be playing their short film 'Distant Shore'.
And prior to that, there'll be a giveaway with prizes including a year's worth of needessentials wetstuits, plus a number of Swellnet subscriptions.
Where: The J, Noosa
Why: Need you ask?
When: 8.00pm, Saturday 11th March 2023
Cost: $35.00 Adults, $25.00 Concession, $60.00 Admission plus donation to help keep the Surf Film Archive alive!
Duration: Two hours, no interval
Improvised music set to imagery isn’t totally new: think of Neil Young's spontaneous soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, or more recently, the Richard Thompson collaboration with Werner Herzog for Grizzly Man. Murray builds on this heritage by bringing together a collective of musicians to respond intuitively to film. Instrumentalists for the show at The J include Kenny Gormly from The Cruel Sea and one of the Sunny Coast’s favourite characters, drummer, Brock Fitzgerald.
Fifteen years ago, Jolyon made the documentary Searching for Michael Peterson and was astounded at the amount of unseen footage he came across: whole rolls lost to the cutting room floor, or footage unused because of a slight flaw, stored away as the march of technology made old formats redundant. Come the pandemic and Jolyon acted on an old desire, creating the Surf Film Archive to save all that lost and forgotten footage—not just of MP, but any surf footage—before it turned to dust. However, rather than just open an image bank, the filmmaker within saw potential in all that footage.
“I love seeing the towns and places that I know very well,” says Jolyon, “they have changed so dramatically, Byron, Noosa, many of those coastal towns. I love seeing the old fashion and the cars and the roads that have changed so dramatically.”
“And, of course, I enjoy the fact that the waves are exactly the same! Everything has changed, but the ocean itself, the waves, they’re the same as they always were."
Between sourcing, saving, and digitising said footage—now well over a hundred hours’ worth—Jolyon has been whittling down the very best sections, arranging it into a running order, and collaborating with old mate Murray on how best to present it. The end result is, a film with no narration or dialogue, which turns on a mix of Jolyon’s sequencing and Murray’s music. One pre-programmed, the other played live.
“I’ve always considered cinema to be a live experience,” says Dave Horsley of the Screen Wave International Film Festival, “It’s that shared moment where the lights go down, you’re in a crowd, and you have this ephemeral reaction to this thing that’s been created.”
The only difference now is that one element—the music—is being created in real time.