Posts Tagged ‘ Surfer Mag ’

Castles Premier by Casey Butler

By Casey Butler

Castles In The Sky New York Premiere
by Casey Butler

The first showing was at 8:00 p.m. but the doors of the Tribeca Cinema opened at 7, allowing entry into a curious microcosm. Stick thin models draped in über-cool camisas towered near the 7-foot mark in their fashionable heels. Perhaps aided by the free beverages courtesy of Absolut, Barefoot, and Pabst, the high heels mingled effortlessly with a crowd of flip-flops and skate sneakers, including those of Dan Malloy. Professional surfers joined hip New Yorkers and martini-sipping Europeans in downtown Manhattan for the world premiere of Taylor Steele’s new movie, Castles In The Sky.

Eschewing conventional surf movie-premiere wisdom, Steele and his executive producer Sandrine Lima of Reel Sessions decided to premiere Castles in the city that never sleeps with the help of VAS Entertainment and the New York Surf Film Festival. New York has never been a go-to locale for surf film premieres, but the NYSFF is helping to change that. Steele’s The Drifter made its U.S. debut at the NYSFF last September, and he says that he likes New York because it seems like people migrate there for the right reasons. “It feels organic,” he smiles.

The original pair of show times sold out almost immediately. A third, late-night screening was added, which also sold out. The house was packed, and the charged-up crowd perused colorful prints adorning the perimeter of the Cinema Lounge as they waited for the film to begin. The photos of indigenous peoples and fantastic panoramas the Castles crew encountered in their travels were part of a silent auction to benefit Waves of Health.

Castles In The Sky is about exploration. Steele said they used the Google Earth to scout out new locations, and during the last three years the crew shot in in Iceland, Vietnam, Africa, Peru, and India. Each section begins with the line, “There once was a man who became unstuck…” Each speaker finishes it in his own way.

The Prologue (behind the scenes) is an essential part of the film. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and shows what the crew had to endure to make Castles happen. At some point, key numbers start popping up on the screen. The ones that stand out are: 16 pro surfers, $8,000 plus in excess baggage fees, three car accidents, one film.

Castles is an interesting specimen of a surf film because its audience could be so diverse. Without subtitles spelling out who is doing what, and where, it leaves viewers to figure it out based on cultural clues. It felt like it was made for people who know the sport inside and out, and therefore don’t need to be told these things. On the other hand, the lack of inscribed clutter frees the viewer to focus on the beauty of the landscapes, people, and surfing. In other words, people who know nothing of the industry, and don’t care what the surfers’ names are, can still appreciate the film for is visual elegance.

The crew was one of the very first to use a RED camera to shoot a surf film, and though they had some issues traveling with the RED (it was detained in Morocco), they estimated that sixty-percent of the surfing segments were shot with it, and the results are completely captivating—Rob Machado carving up an insanely steep face in Peru, Rasta shredding in India, and the stunning locales practically daring you not to visit them. The shots of local color blend seamlessly with the push-the-limits surfing for which Steele’s movies are known.

During the Q&A session after the movie, Director of Photography Todd Heater said, “I think the people are what makes the film for me. We’re all the same, and we’re all beautiful, but look at how different we are.” The more you travel, he and Steele explained, the more your love of humanity grows.

Alex DePhillipo w/ Surfer Mag

DePhillipo previews footage from his soon to be released film “Dark Fall.” Photo: Butler


A Conversation with Up and Coming New Jersey Film Maker
by Casey Butler
March 2, 2010


A Conversation with Up and Coming New Jersey Film Maker
by Casey Butler
March 2, 2010

On a February afternoon when everyone else in New Jersey is pale and winter-trodden, Alex DePhillipo is tan from a recent trip to Hawaii, where he wrapped up filming Dark Fall. He’s excessively laid-back, even by surfer standards, so it’s funny that the first thing you see when entering his Margate, N.J. home office is a fridge fully stocked with energy drinks beside his hard drive-cluttered desk. Here, DePhillipo elaborates on his new film about a tight-knit group of New Jersey surfers, which his amigo Andrew Gesler says “is going to be unbelievable.”

How would you describe yourself?

All over the place. I can’t be in one spot for too long. I like all kinds of music, all kinds of foods, and I‘ll drink pretty much any beer.

What’s the status of Dark Fall?

I’m expecting it to be put together and edited in two months. We’re shooting to have it out by Memorial Day weekend.

How much footage do you have?

We’ve got about two years worth of film, but we’ve been putting it together as we’ve been moving along, which sort of makes the process easier.

Where did the idea for Dark Fall come from?

I was in Hawaii filming and stuff, working with some big names, and I wanted to get back to my roots. I wanted to do a film about my friends- they charge just as hard as anyone else; they deserve it. I approached my buddy Andrew Gesler, and we just started trying to get everyone together piece by piece.

Tell us a little bit about the movie.

The film takes place here, in Hawaii, and Tahiti. It takes you through the seasons- it starts with winter in New Jersey. A lot of the guys who surf from around here travel and go to Hawaii, as most people do- if you want to get noticed, you go out there and charge Pipeline. Teahupo’o is another heavy wave and Tahiti is really beautiful, so that was more of an artistic thing as well. We had the chance to hook up with Kelly Slater while we were there- he really is a good dude.

Where do you see Jersey surf films heading?

I don’t know, because that’s not really what I’m about. I’m not trying to make a [specifically] New Jersey surf film. I think there’s a misconception that it’s a Jersey surf film and it’s a brand or something. Dark Fall is just a film about traveling and it’s based here.

You’re not trying to make a political statement.


What’s unique about New Jersey surfers?

We’re a small, tight-knit group and we all help each other.

What was your favorite part of filming?

That’s tough because each section is special in a way. I really enjoy wintertime clips because it’s extra hard to get shit done here in the winter. There’s no lighting, it’s freezing cold, with that big camera… sitting out in the cold and constantly trying to focus and get the shot, that was hard. Afterwards, you feel like, Wow, I just did work.

How do you feel about Jersey Shore?

This is for the record: that girl Snookie? I would put a bounty on her. I will never watch it. I think that show has single-handedly destroyed our reputation. Hopefully people know that’s not the real New Jersey.