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? Definitely a challenge and a creative journey worth to embrace. Overall it was just excitement.
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? I haven’t shared a history with O’Neill before this project. It was definitely a new acquaintance. I’ve always wanted to realize a project for such a well known and unique brand - especially in the world of surfing. Being interested in sports in general I was psyched about the film from the first second on.
What is the meaning of ‘Unreasonable’ to you? Unreasonable stands for the attitude, the piece of mind of an athlete or an individual. Their are no borders. You can make it happen. You just have to go out there and believe in yourself. The passion gives you the certain energy to achieve your goals and to be unreasonable.
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? When I heard the brief for the first time I thought it’s definitely a challenge to create a surf film which should feel different. For my point of view surfers live every second of their lifes for the sport. It’s the ultimate passion - you might say love. That was the hook. I had this analogy in my mind what if a surfer tells us about his great love which at first seems to be a woman but in the end is the ocean - his daily playground.
How do you see the current surf film genre as a whole? There are a lot of well made and highly produced films out there. Most of them don’t have a real story unfortunately. We always see the same moves and tricks over and over again. Those films who really bring something new are pretty rare.
Please tell us about the creative process you went through to come up with the concept for your film? At first I had a rough outline in my head. The first structure was more one of a love letter. If I get the chance I try to work together with friends and creatives. In this case I played the concept back and forth with Sergio Penzo from Panthalassa. We already worked on some prior projects. He helped me working on the core of the idea and the voice over.
What were your personal highlights during/from this project? The initial idea was to shoot the film in California close to LA. Pretty spontanious we had to change our plans and fly to Sydney. We met Mark Matthews who was the best guy to work with. We had a tough shooting schedule and he was willing to push things really far. So I would say going to Australia and working with an professional athlete like Mark and our female cast (Chloe Coles) was a highlight in itself.
Did you experience any setbacks during filming? Waiting for the perfect swell and wave was the biggest issue. I learned a lot about surfing during the shoot … it’s definitely about patience and I’m not a big fan of patience to be honest.
What were the biggest differences in creating this film compared to your other projects? We shot this film pretty "guerrilla style“. The whole crew was just my DP (Roland Stuprich), myself and a freelance producer from Sydney. A lot of the shots were planned but in the end we had to find alternatives or different ways to tell the story. In advertising you plan everything to a certain extend - sometimes there’s no room for any creative freedom. This project was totally different.
Please share a bit of your background – what led you to be a filmmaker and what’s the story behind it? As a young boy I dreamed of becoming a tennis pro, but that‘s simply not where life took me. After high school I pursued a career in film production. Within one year, and after tagging along various film shoots, the advertising universe got me. I did a couple of internships. After that I studied four and half years at the film academy Baden-Württemberg. Since August I’m living in Los Angeles - working around the world.
Episode 2: "A Perfect Storm" starring Mark Mathews
The second film in O’Neill’s UNREASONABLE Film Festival is now live! Featuring O'Neill's big wave surfer Mark Mathews, A Perfect Storm by Andreas Roth utilises the construct of an open letter to the ocean to describe the emotions and the mindset of a surfer. The adrenaline rush, the concentration required, the frustration and ultimately, the relationship between the surfer and his/her environment. Andy Roth (Germany) directed a viral film for the Dirt Devil vacuum in 2011, which accumulated over 30 million views on Vimeo and officially was titled the fifth most viewed online film of 2011.