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London Surf Film Festival

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Filmmaker Focus: Matt Crocker / The Endless Winter

The Endless Winter: A Very British Surf Movie Directed by James Dean and Matt Crocker scooped Best British Film at this year’s London Surf / Film Festival. As their DVD hits the stores, we caught up with Director Matt Crocker to find out a little bit more about their project to chart British surfing.

The first thing to get out of the way is that James and I aren’t surfers, we’re film-makers that have become slightly obsessed with surfing over the past few years, so very much came at the subject from an outsiders point of view. We met Mitch Corbett back in 2009 and that led onto a growing interest in the British surf scene and in particular how and why surfing started here. The very notion of people surfing in Britain is pretty bizarre to most non-surfers and the idea of a Hawaiian/Californian beach culture being embraced by costal British kids in the 1960s is just a massive hook.

After our initial meeting with Mitch we went away, read all we could about British surfing, it’s history, it characters and set out to make a teaser. We did this in summer 2009 and then spent two long years trying to convince people with money that the film was worth backing. After a lot of tear filled pints we landed a meeting with Ford Motors who conveniently loved the idea. By autumn everything was in place and so we hit the road with an 8-man crew of filmmakers and surfers.

I think we interviewed about 40 people in the film and they were some of the most interesting and, well, cool people we’ve ever met! Hard to name anyone in particular but Wales was a pretty memorable leg of the trip for characters. PJ, Linda Sharp, Guts Griffiths, The Gill, Nate Phillips, it was just really fun and incredibly insightful. It didn’t make the final cut but PJ’s recollection of meeting Prince Charles was hilarious, it will be a DVD extra for sure.

A very talented guy called Simon Ball created the animations. We’d seen some of his work online and had a mutual friend so we teamed up with him very early on to make the original teaser. The stories that we chose to animate are so far fetched that we thought this tongue in cheek style would suit them perfectly and leave people wondering how true they were. Amazingly nearly every word in the Mad Jack tale is true, and we only actually managed to scratch the surface with him!

I think what we’ve taken away from making the film is a real sense of admiration for British surfers. They’re a pretty humble bunch that just love surfing and make the most of what they have to work with. It’s not the best or most consistent surf in the world and it’s far from the best weather, but the passion and heritage here is incredibly strong and very unique. We’re hoping that surfers and non-surfers alike get a sense of that passion, joy and eccentricity. Ultimately we just hope people enjoy watching it.

The Endless Winter is out now on DVD. Get your copy HERE