SFA x Headland at Noosa

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

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.


Panman's picture
Panman's picture
Panman Friday, 10 Feb 2023 at 10:24pm

Looks bloody fantastic and hope it comes south

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez Saturday, 11 Feb 2023 at 9:50am

Ha... read the header and thought this had something to do with crowds at Noosa

julioadler's picture
julioadler's picture
julioadler Saturday, 11 Feb 2023 at 9:49pm

Just wanna add a fabulous experience that was Miles Davis (live)soundtrack for Louis Malle's 1958 film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud. The album, and the story behind it is fantastic.

From Mojo Magazine,
[It's hard to imagine a cooler combination: Miles Davis and French new wave noir. Louis Malle's 1958 film Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud (aka Lift To The Scaffold) tells the tale of two sets of lovers caught up in a crime. One couple's fate disintegrates into betrayed anguish, the other in flight from the pursuing police. Encouraged by his assistant Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Malle approached Davis at a performance at Club St-Germain in Paris in November 1957. With Barney Willen, René Urtreger, Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke in tow, Davis rolled up to the Le Poste Parisien studio on December 4. With minimal prep, barring a truncated preview for Davis and a short outline of the film's plotline for the band, the quintet improvised the entire soundtrack live as they watched the film unfold before them.

Over the next two years, Davis would issue an astonishing run of albums: Milestones; Porgy & Bess; Kind of Blue; Sketches Of Spain. Standing just as successfully alone as any of those better-known classics, Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud is something beyond a movie accompaniment; it's a story told in sound. The somnambulist stroll of Nuit Sur Les Champs-Élysées conjures Jeanne Moreau, moodily skulking the dark streets of Paris, the cry of Davis's trumpet arousing the pain of her heartbreak every time it sounds. Then listen, rapt, to Sur L'Autoroute - and be forgiven for casting a glance over your shoulder for les flics. Just to check.

Mary Caulfield]