Stefan Nadelman
Nationality: American


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? I did a proverbial double take. 99.99% of the animation work I produce doesn't integrate live action in any way. But that's the reason why Doug wanted my take on the surf video 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? . Your CMO. Doug Perkul and I have collaborated over the years, namely with his Schatzi project. But the origin story begins when we became friends in middle school. So, I've been following Doug for quite a long time.

What is the meaning of ‘Unreasonable’ to you? 'Unreasonable' is something my parents would not go along with. 4. At the outset, my vision was nothing like it was months later. I had to let the idea marinate for a while before I settled on a specific concept.

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? At the outset, my vision was nothing like it was months later. I had to let the idea marinate for a while before I settled on a specific concept.

How do you see the current surf film genre as a whole? From what I've seen, I'd say the surf video genre is undergoing a sea change. With the advent of GoPro and quadcopters/drones, we're now starting to experience surfing from a whole new vantage point, and doing so is becoming more and more accessible. As surfing evolves I'm excited to see it captured in new ways.

Please tell us about the creative process you went through to come up with the concept for your film? I'm fascinated by the science of waveforms and how all of matter, light, sound exists as vibrations and frequencies. So naturally, I thought it would be interesting to not only show how the birth of an ocean wave starts with the sun's light waves (heat), but also to visualize the wave patterns created by the movement of a surfer. There are waves everywhere, you just have to play around with the footage until the patterns emerge.

What were your personal highlights during/from this project? I've never experimented with surfing footage, so it's exciting to apply my knowledge of compositing and see what happens. I could spend a whole day setting up an idea, and since surfing is one of the most photogenic sports out there, it's just way more exhilarating when it works.

Did you experience any setbacks during filming? No, I was not part of the filming process.

What were the biggest differences in creating this film compared to your other projects? The biggest difference would be that I'm working with live action assets, since I primarily work with still images and other motion graphics.

Please share a bit of your background – what led you to be a filmmaker and what’s the story behind it? I've always wanted to be an animator, but during my high school and college years, animation was still traditional and there wasn't software available, so I pursued graphic design and fine art. It wasn't until the late 1990s when Macromedia released Flash, which I quickly picked up and started making short films until a few years later I finally quit my job and became a fulltime freelance director and animator.


Episode 4: "Waveform" Directed by Stefan Nadelman

The O’Neill UNREASONABLE film festival continues with film no. 4: Waveform from award-winning artist Stefan Nadelman from Portland, USA. Immerse yourself in fast-paced surfing sequences full of action, color, and fluid motion that expose waveforms in a new light. Stefan Nadelman (USA) is a Sundance Award-winning filmmaker who specializes in animation. Stefan recently received acclaim for his animation work on the Sundance-premiered Kurt Cobain film, Montage of Heck.