Kai Neville Announces Action Finalists For Reelers 2017
It’s that time again, time to celebrate surfing’s most inspired filmmakers, as the sweatbags at Surfing World and their esteemed panel of judges unveil the nominees for Corona presents REELERS 2017, The Surfing World Short Film Competition! Without further adieu here are...
Kai Neville's ACTION Category Finalists
- ZOOLOO by Nate Foster
- LISSA by Nick Jones
- KNEELERS by Mad Dogue
- SELAMAT PAGI by Spencer Frost
- WEST IS BEST by Isaac Jones
Who will win is anyone’s guess, but two weeks out from the REELERS Awards Night, screening at Moonlight Cinema in Sydney's Centennial Park, we pulled focus with Kai Neville for some choice snippets…
ZOOLOO by Nate Foster
Tell us Kai, who inspired you to make surf films?
Taylor Steele was always a huge inspiration for me. Growing up my friends and I used to sit on the couch and devour his films. I loved everything about them. The use of soundtrack, the raw footage and action got us so psyched to surf!
And today? Where do you draw inspiration from now?
I like seeing filmmakers who don’t have much to work off, who really get creative and turn it into something unique. When those people want to take their films to the next level, and already know how make something out of nothing, you wonder what they're capable of with a little more help? That’s exciting for me. It’s tricky, but I feel like filmers should always try different songs, try rearranging the edit and just keep moulding their work 'til it feels right. Someone could be doing backflips but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right formula.
LISSA by Nick Jones
How do you know when you’ve found an amazing surf film?
A good surf clip has a little more depth beyond the surfing. It’s something special, and timeless. It grows on you, and compels you to watch the film again. I’ve always found those slow burners grab hold in the edit, rather than in an obvious clip with someone ripping to a good track. I always look for the unexpected moments. As a Reelers judge, I look for the filming, the action, the music and the vibe to click... it’s all got to click.
What intrigued you about the Action finalists this year?
First off, all the Reelers veterans having a dig! Nick’s film Previous won the Action Category last year, Spencer and Nate have both made the finals before, and every year these guys push their creative skills to a whole new level! They are hands down some of the most dedicated filmmakers shooting today. Then there's a new face in the finals this year, Mad Dogue. This is someone who's brought a stack of personality and humour to the competition. It's a tough one to call, you’ll have to wait for the awards night to find out.
KNEELERS by Mad Dogue
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to young filmmakers right now?
Focus on good content first. If you’re going to show, strive for excellence. You don’t have to do ten clips in a week, just make one that will blow people’s minds. Don’t drop a clip everyday; drop one clip a month. Make something that little bit more special, and people will share it around. Make a film that will elevate both the surfer and the filmmaker.
What is the number one mistake you see young filmmakers make?
Simply laziness. I’m not sure if some guys think it comes easy, but it’s not like ‘one clip, and you destined for greatness.’ Like anything, it’s hard work which pays off. I’ve done my apprenticeship, as have Taylor and Jack. Every filmer learns from the bottom up how to use cameras, teaches themselves to edit, they’ve slaved away on boats for days on end. If you go on a surf trip definitely don’t complain about that – enjoy it! Have fun, get your footage and have a beer at the end of the day. Be prepared for a few hard yards but it’s meant to be fun. Don’t be lazy, get out there and go wild.
SELAMAT PAGI by Spencer Frost
Do you see other opportunities in the industry beyond REELERS?
There’s no shortage of work that’s for sure, especially in media these days. With companies, that may not mean making your own films, but people want content, more now than ever.
This is your third year as Action judge, what do you make of REELERS as platform for independent filmmakers?
I truly believe that if it is good, people will come. You should always curate yourself, but if you really want to showcase your work, Reelers is an awesome platform. Some of the guys who have won in previous years are killing it, working for companies, producing their own clips, and creating all kinds of different projects. I'm excited for the winners, they get to show their films at Moonlight to a live audience, and that's a massive opportunity in itself.
WEST IS BEST by Isaac Jones
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