Johan Perjus &
Freshteh Piltan
Nationality: Swedish

Interview

When you got the brief from O’Neill challenging you to participate in an experiment to define the future of the surf film, what were your first thoughts? To define the future of surf films is quite a big sentence. I think we felt it was an exciting experiment and chance to take surf films further beyond it´s normal form. And also, us not being surf film makers made it exciting for us to enter a new genre.

What’s you relationship with O’Neill – do you share any previous history or was it a new acquaintance when you first heard from us with this project? Do you share any previous history or was it a new acquaintance when you first heard from us with this project? Of course as surfers we both knew of O´Neill and it´s heritage, which also made it all more exciting. Jack is a legend and inspiration. And we had also heard about the O´Neill Sea Odyssey a while back which is an amazing organization.

What is the meaning of ‘Unreasonable’ to you? Unreasonable links with evolution. A favorite quote from Krishnamurti sums it up. "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." To be unreasonable can be a healthy approach to life. To question. And not just take the boundaries your given. If any scientists back in the days would have been reasonable the earth might still have been considered flat.

Was your vision for the short film clear from the beginning or did you search for inspiration somewhere specific? If yes, what were your primary sources? We came up with a few different ideas but we tapped into our idea during our first or second meeting together and from there it formed it self. So the process of creating the idea came fairly quick.

How do you see the current surf film genre as a whole? Freshteh - When I started out surfing a few years back I was lucky enough to meet people who were surf film collectors who showed me all the old films, Pacific Vibrations, Children of the sun, Crystal Voyager and so on. I love those old films, they have an absolute different tone and feel to them. Some of the new films can be to much "surf porn", faster, harder, higher aerials etc, same things "the search" over and over. It´s a tranquilizer although the footage is amazing. But, guess it´s as personal as any other film genre what you like etc. And it´s obviously amazing what technology does. From the days of Greenough, paving way for new shots and angles deep in the barrel with his own built camera house on his shoulder & heavy equipment to these days of anyone being able to put a go pro on and getting interesting footage. There is a lot of fun short "films" coming out, obviously the internet has created just that, a lot of short films which I think is a great thing for the genre.

Please tell us about the creative process you went through to come up with the concept for your film? Well, as previously mentioned we worked on it together and during one of our first meetings together the idea just sprung. We had an idea of wanting to create something unthinkable. And we´re both concerned with environmental issues and had been in LA quite a bit and so the water shortage in California somehow inspired as a backbone to the film. And as the brief gave such creative freedom we tapped into a form and concept that isnt the usual one when it comes to surf films.

What were your personal highlights during/from this project? Well, firstly to be selected to be a part of the O´Neill Unreasonable Festival was a thrill. Also the enviroments where we got to shoot. We headed to Bali for the water shots and New Mexico for the rest, so quite amazing to work in those two environments. And also, to come across so many amazing people wanting to be part of this without the budget it really requires for them to be on board.

Did you experience any setbacks during filming? With both our busy schedules it´s been difficult to sync this film time wise. Also, our vision costs more than the budget allowed really, so we´ve had to bring along people who love the idea and want to take part as a passion project.

What were the biggest differences in creating this film compared to your other projects? We haven't made surf films before so it is a new field for both of us. Although our idea is very much derived from our world of film making. And also the fact that the surf shots had to have a whole other way of being filmed than in a normal surf film we needed to think differently. As little water in the shots as possible. Having a surf film without any water is quite a different take.

Please share a bit of your background – what led you to be a filmmaker and what’s the story behind it? Freshteh - I knew when I was 9 that I wanted to be a director. My mom told me about a film that got me really influenced that I noticed that films have a power of shifting your stance and creating a change. Which I guess is what I want to do. Create visual worlds that mesmorize and encourage to see things beyond your normal field of vision, hypothetically speaking. Johan - I discovered film when I first saw “The Battleship Potemkin” in high school. Being rooted in all kinds of art and inspired from my early childhood by my grandparents I starting my way with graffiti, graphic design and photography.

 


Episode 3: "Beyond the Waters"
Directed by Johan Perjus & Freshteh Piltan

The O’Neill UNREASONABLE Film Festival continues with the third film. In Antonym - Beyond the Waters, Johan Perjus and Fresteh Piltan take surfing to the most unexpected of regions on our planet, the desert. By taking the action of surfing and changing the context, Johan and Freshteh present a film that explores creativity but also our dependency on our oceans. Johan Perjus and Freshteh Piltan (both from Sweden), directors at B-Reel Sweden, have created commercial spots for H&M, Target, and a number of other global clients.