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 was very happy to have the opportunity to pitch for this O'Neill Project. Being at the forefront and trying new directions is rarely asked to filmmakers. Most of the time you have to experiment on your own first, then people ask you to do it again. Here it was the other way around and it felt like a great opportunity to try new things.
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 never really decided, it all just kind of happened.
What is the meaning of ‘Unreasonable’ to you? Do something that nobody believes in, that has never been done before, but in which you know there is a potential. Unreasonable is scary, and scary is good for creativity. It makes you find solution on problems you are not used to.
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? Inspiration is a tricky thing, there are just a lot of ideas, and you do your best to find a spine that can hold them together as much as possible. Then you go on the set, and nothing happens as planned (which is a natural part of the process) and now you have to adapt, to keep going with your idea and at the same time feed the film with the unpredicted. It's a very organic process.
How do you see the current surf film genre as a whole? I don't know much about it, I think that's why I've been asked to pitch something. To bring a fresh eye I guess. Hope it worked!
Please tell us about the creative process you went through to come up with the concept for your film? As I said, it is very organic. I don't have a method. I watched a lot of surf films, but also listened to a lot of music. Most of the time my ideas come with a music that inspires me. In that case, it was Aten Rays, young artist, super talented.
What were your personal highlights during/from this project? Flying to Australia! It was the first time Ive been there, and I definitely hope to go there again. It's beautiful, people were very nice and helpful, and nature is everywhere. I really enjoyed the vibe.
Did you experience any setbacks during filming? Shooting a film is dealing with setbacks. You just have to adapt, stay confident in your vision and do your best to deliver a film that is worth watching. In the end, that is the only thing that matters.
What were the biggest differences in creating this film compared to your other projects? I entered a world I was not at all familiar with: surfing. In that way it was a great experience because the energy was very positive and simple. Compared to my day to day life in Paris, that was quite appreciable.
Please share a bit of your background – what led you to be a filmmaker and what’s the story behind it? Ive always wanted to make films, but when I was a kid I couldn't offer a camera so I drew to tell stories. I entered an art school in order to do animation, and Ensad Paris (the school) showed me that animation was not only hand drawn that I could mix techniques. So I started to mix live action with stop motion, which let me to work in advertising, both in live action and stop motion, depending on the project. So now I shoot both. I keep drawing and I make films, like I wished in the first place. Hope that will continue and lead to other good surprises!
Episode 1: "Aloha Nalu" starring Malia Manuel
The first film of O’Neill’s UNREASONABLE Film Festival, Aloha Nalu by Steven Briand is now live. To create his film Aloha Nalu, Steven worked with Team O’Neill surfer and professional athlete Malia Manuel to capture a lofty perspective on a single day’s surf session in Western Australia. By manipulating drones for the majority of the videography, Steven plays a great deal with perspective and takes the viewer into, above, and beyond the waves.