Justin McMillan and Chris Nelius Storm Surfers Interview Cast
: Tom Carroll, Ross Clark-Jones, Ben Matson Co Directors
: Justin McMillan and Chris Nelius Genre
: PG Running Time
: 95 minutes Synopsis
: Meet two-time world surfing champion Tom Carroll and big wave pioneer Ross Clarke-Jones.
Both in their 40s, these two larger-than-life 'brothers', born out of the 1980s generation of prosurfing, live to ride waves the size of buildings.
Based in Sydney, they enlist the help of surf-forecasting guru and meteorologist Ben Matson to track the giant oceanic storms that create massive swells. The hunt takes Tom, Ross and the crew to the most exotic and remote reaches of the planet, in a race against the clock to ride and claim these monsters of the deep. On this all-new mission they focused on winter Down Under, travelling over 17,000 kms on seven missions over four months - determined to conquer as many giant swells as they could in Australia.
The first part of their journey takes them to the bottom of Tasmania where Ross wrestles one of the most deadly waves in the world at Shipsterns Bluff. But when Ben sends the team on a disastrous mission to Western Australia, Tom nearly kills Ross and himself in a misjudged moment - and the cracks begin to show in Tom's confidence.
Over the course of the season, Ross and Tom are forced to come to terms with the fact their bodies don't always keep up with their minds when making snap decisions in the face of danger, as they encounter potentially lethal waves on the south coast, in Sydney and Hawaii, where Tom surfs the infamous Pipeline with 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.
As winter draws to a close, nature embraces Ross and Tom's dream to surf a maiden big wave break. A fellow big wave surfer from Western Australia reveals the location of a mythical wave seventy-five kilometres out to sea. Named Turtle Dove Shoal, this legendary breaker has never been surfed and could possibly hold the biggest, most dangerous wave in Australia.
Their final mission of the season becomes the most perilous of their lives. As they uncover the mystery of Turtle Dove, Tom faces a career-ending moment in the worst wipe-out of his life. He must now decide whether to push the boundaries of life and luck in this quest to triumph over one of the last remaining unsurfed waves in Australia.
In Storm Surfers 3D the tone of the journey is light but the stakes are deadly serious. It is a film conceived to stand amongst the great surf films, but also be accessible to an audience outside of surfing, creating an overall inspiring cinematic experience. The stunning visual and emotional journey, which embraces the universal themes of mateship, courage and 'pursuing the dream', is intertwined with intimate interviews as each main character shares their story, taking the audience along on their epic adventure..Storm Surfers 3D Screening Dates
Tuesday 14 August: Australian Premiere - Hoyts EQ, Sydney
Wednesday 15 August: Victorian Premiere - Village Cinemas, Geelong
Thursday 16 August: Queensland Premiere - Event Cinemas, Robina - Gold Coast
Friday 17 August: Special Event Screening - Dendy Cinemas, Byron Bay
Saturday 18 August: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas Indooroopilly
Sunday 19 August: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas, Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore
Tuesday 21 August: Special Event Screening - United Cinemas, Warriewood
Wednesday 22 August: Special Event Screening - Hoyts Cinema, Warringah Mall
Thursday 23 August: Special Event Screening - Cronulla Cinemas, Cronulla
Friday 24 August: Special Event Screening - The Ritz, Randwick
Saturday 25 August: Special Event Screening - The Orpheum, Cremorne
Tuesday 28 August: Special Event Screening - Village Cinemas, Karingal
Tuesday 28 August: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas, Wollongong **
Wednesday 29 August: Special Event Screening - Village Cinemas, Crown Casino
Wednesday 29 August: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas, Shell Harbour **
Thursday 30 August: Special Event Screening - Village Cinemas, Southland
Thursday 30 August: Special Event Screening - Arcadia Cinemas, Ulladulla **
Friday 31 August: Special Event Screening - Village Cinemas, Jam Factory, South Yarra
Tuesday 4 September: Special Event Screening - Orana Cinemas, Busselton
Tuesday 4 September: Special Event Screening - Dendy Cinemas, Canberra**
Wednesday 5 September: Special Event Screening - Ace Cinemas, Subiaco
Thursday 6 September: Special Event Screening - Ace Cinemas, Rockingham
Friday 7 September: Special Event Screening - Orana Cinemas, Geraldton
Tuesday 11 September: Special Event Screening - Village Cinemas, Hobart
Wednesday 12 September: Special Event Screening - Village Cinemas, Launceston
Monday 17 September: Special Event Screening - Hoyts Cinema, Erina
Tuesday 18 September: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas, Newcastle
Wednesday 19 September: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas, Marion, SA *
Wednesday 19 September: Special Event Screening - Majestic Cinemas, Port Macquarie
Wednesday 19 September: Special Event Screening - Majestic Cinemas, Nambucca Heads
Thursday 20 September: Special Event Screening - Event Cinemas, Coffs Harbour
Please note that Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones will make guest appearances at the Premieres and Special Event Screenings around the country (with the exclusion of the following which will attended by:
** Producers / Directors in attendance.
* Surf Forecaster Ben Matson in attendance. Website
Interview with Justin McMillan and Chris NeliusQuestion:
How does it actually work, being co-directors?Chris Nelius
: It's not so much about sharing a job - It's actually a two person job. It's so complicated being out in the middle of nowhere in the ocean with eight or nine camera running at once. You literally couldn't do it as a single directing job. Luckily enough, over the years Justin and I have been doing this, it's naturally slipped into the right place where Justin does a lot of the water angle side of things and then I'm either in a helicopter or on a boat filming all the other stuff around the surfing.Justin McMillan
: It's a collaborative effort running up to thirty man crew at any one time and trying to manage a story and trying to keep everybody upbeat, safe, intact, and ready to go day after day after day throughout a winter season. I don't think one person could ever do it. I think one director would never pull it off so it's kind of why there's two of us.Question:
So how did the film evolve?Justin McMillan
: We map out a rough overview of what we want to cover in the film - but the ocean and Mother Nature never stick to the original plan, so it actually becomes a really crazy scenario during the course of the winter season when we're trying to shoot. Our story and all of our original motives keep getting shifted and changed. Chris is really good at monitoring how all of these new changes affect what we originally set out to do and I basically get down out into the thick of it and make sure that we're creating content to fulfil the story. Over the years, we've learned to cast our net a little bit wider - the sheer nature of surfing big waves is that you need to have about five or six different locations and the ability to change the story
: This year we were really lucky. We went on eight missions all around Australia, chasing and surfing and filming big waves. We ended up with too much footage I guess - 1500 hours I think - and it was really difficult to work out which missions to put into the film, but certainly the ones that are in there are visually really spectacular. But there are some things that happen in those missions
Tom comes close to death twice and that's the kind of stuff you're obviously going to go with, but it's an uneasy feeling knowing how much fantastic stuff we shot that hasn't even made it into the final film.Question:
What are the stakes for Ross and Tom?Chris Nelius
: Ross and Tom aren't just any surfers. They aren't just any people. They are two in one million. They're unique - forged in the crucible of surfing in the 1980s, they're close to 50 years old and they're still out there doing this stuff. One of the things we really wanted to concentrate on with this movie was to make sure that when one of them is riding a 20-foot wave, you're riding it with them. It's not just an anonymous person or a name that comes up as a super on the screen and you go, 'Wow isn't that incredible,' and then you know, you move on to the next thing. In Storm Surfers 3D you really get to know Ross and Tom and how special they are, their fantastic lust for life, so when you see them riding a death-defying wave or you see one of them come close to death, then you're right in there, emotionally invested with them, as it happens.Question:
What was it like shooting in the middle of the ocean in 3D?Justin McMillan
: It's really difficult to have a 3D crew out in a really extreme environment - to have all of the crazy bits and pieces on a camera that you've designed from the ground up, with your stereographer and assistants, to work in a really remote location. That was the craziest thing for us - realising that we couldn't just go and buy these cameras off the shelf. They didn't exist. You have to work with knowledgeable people to build the cameras from scratch and then put that together with our expertise in filming in the ocean and hope that the camera is rolling when your surfer is risking his life for a wave.
I guess the scary thing, the nature of our shooting, is that we never know when anything is going to happen so we've got to have many different angles, all rolling on the action at one time. And if something breaks down on one camera, then hopefully another camera has caught it - that's just the nature of Storm Surfers and the nature of the ocean. There is no 'Action', there is no 'Cut', and there is no 'Take two'. It's just 'Please be really, really ready camera men', because if we do miss it, then there is no reason why we came all this way and there's no reason why that guy just risked his life if we're not ready to cover it.Chris Nelius
: It's not easy. The shooting is not easy. I will not lie
It's hard enough in 2D! When you're 75 kilometres offshore and it's taking you 6 hours on a cray-fishing boat to get out there, we don't even get a chance to worry about Ross and Tom and whether they're okay and doing their job right. We're just so preoccupied with trying to get these cameras to work and have everything line up properly for when that moment happens because you can miss it in a matter of seconds.Question:
This is the third Storm Surfers season - what drives you all to keep going?Justin McMillan
: We've been working with [Ross, Tom and Ben] for awhile now and we do find them interesting and exciting - and chasing big waves is what we love doing - but there's something about this particular project which ignited these guys. Telling them we're going to a place that's never been surfed, we know nothing about and we don't know what's going to happen - all of a sudden the entire crew, everyone, the cast, is just like 'right'. This is what we're about and it isn't until you get those cards on the table that these guys get excited. As soon as you put all the danger, fear of missing out, losing, the chance it might not be a great wave, it might be this, it might be that, you might not come back, than they're on. You've got their attention 100%.Chris Nelius
: It's the lure of the unknown. Ross and Tom have surfed everywhere you can possibly surf in the world twice, so taking them to a place they've been before, even if it's perfect, for them isn't as attractive as going somewhere that they've never been. They hear stories from fishermen and from local surfers and that's what catches their interest these days, because they're like mariners of 300, 400 years ago. They just can't help not going to explore the places they haven't been to before.Question:
What will the 3D experience be like for the audience?Chris Nelius
: Films like Avatar and so on have opened the door, but documentary is where 3D is really going to establish itself because rather than trying to create a fantasy world, we're taking people out on these trips with us - where they feel like they're actually there. It's incredible the impact that the 3D has when you watch it for an hour and you remember they're all real images and it's all real stuff going on, nothing is staged, nothing is in a studio, there's no computer graphics or anything like that. You're actually there and we managed to even get a camera inside a giant 15 foot barrel, so you'll ride behind Ross Clarke-Jones in a death defying wave in 3D and it's incredible. It's like nothing I've ever seen before - you know, I think we were healthy sceptics about 3D before we went into this project but we're coming out the other side and championing it, because you get an experience here that was never seen before in a cinema and that's rare these days.Justin McMillan
: There's certain situations where you get positioned in this film that you're never going to be - It's amazing that we've got a 3D camera in that position and if nothing else, people will walk away from the cinemas and say 'Wow, I actually rode a barrel and I probably am never going to ride a barrel'. It's the closest thing to riding a big wave without actually getting wet. That's what you'll get watching the movie.
For more information see:
Ross Clarke-Jones Storm Surfers Interview: www.femail.com.au/ross-clarke-jones-storm-surfers-interview
Production Information: www.femail.com.au/storm-surfers