A Documentary Film about Big-Wave Surfer Sarah Gerhardt

Found this when I was prepping for class tomorrow … on The Kitchen Sisters (audio producers) website.   They’ve included the trailer and some explanatory text as part of their Hidden World of Girls series … although I can’t find an audio piece on this that they’ve produced.

Kitchen Sisters: “We were recently turned onto the film, One Winter Story, by filmmakers Sally Lundberg and Elizabeth Pepin about the big-wave surfer Sarah Gerhardt.”   I can see why – the imagery in this enchanting clip is breathtaking – it was shot in b&w 8 & 16mm film, which gives these shots of big waves and surfing a poignancy that might be missing otherwise.   A surfing movie without blue water?  Or the sound of waves?   I don’t miss either in this trailer.

More about the film & filmmakers: on the Water Front website

Looks like they’ve made quite a few girl surfer movies … or maybe they just sell what’s out there on their website.   I thought about my surfer-girl niece – the one who’s a senior in high school and who’s trying to figure out which college will offer her the closest or best place to surf.

Home Page for The Hidden World of Girls: Girls and the Women They Become


film on water

I finished a video called Film on Water Thursday, just in time to priority mail it to Vermont for a submissions call at Great River Arts.

film still from Film on Water

I haven’t worked much with shooting and editing video since my days as video producer at Cox Cable Tidewater and Virginia Power in the late ’80’s. I used to study television and films then – a friend used to say, “you watch television the way most men watch football.” I even spent a year in VCU’s film / photography MFA program making super-8 films that have since been lost in the great basement flood of Tropical Storm Gaston.

As I edited, I noticed that I was picking up smaller details as I went. For example – how the patterns on the back of the girl’s sweater dissolved into the grasses in the marsh in the following shot. I started the project with linear ideas – the stuff of essay or documentary – but as I went along I became more fascinated with imagery and sound. The ideas about baptism and amphibious theories of human evolution are still floating around in the piece, but not in an overt way.

I decided to make the only sound in Film on Water wild sound I picked up while shooting. It includes a child’s unplanned humming and singing – some slight dialogue, but mostly there’s the sound of water and waves.

I will eventually post the video on my website and put a link on this blog, but I don’t want to hurt my chances for gallery exhibition by showing it here first. As soon as I know I can post it – I will. Stay tuned!

varda’s gleaners and I

Just finished watching both the 2000 documentary by French filmmaker Agnes Varda called The Gleaners and I and her followup film The Gleaners and I Two Years Later. I’ve seen the first one before … it’s not just about gleaning in the fields, but about urban gleaning and about making art from found things. Mostly, though, her film loves the people in it. Even her filming of rotting potatoes has a compelling visual beauty.

It’s definitely a poetic film essay … exactly the sort of video essay we’d like to find to publish in Blackbird … which is why I needed to watch it again. It’s a film I may eventually have to own. Maybe it’s also the sort of film I should try making.

It’s got a social justice thread too – about consumerism and waste and poverty and respect. Reminds me of the new non-profit in Richmond called Stuff: a clearinghouse for creative resource reuse.

Here are two links with more re: Agnes Varda:
Senses of Cinema article on Agnes Varda
Harvard film archives on Varda