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Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: September 4, 7:09 PM ET
NYSFF highlights international entries

Promised Land
"Promised Land" about surfing in Israel, plays at the New York Surf Film Festival.

There was a time, not so long ago, that Southern California dictated what surf culture was. And it was up to everyone else to follow suit. Our vocabulary, gear, music, style, and collective identity as surfers all came directly from few miles of coast just north of the Mexican border. That's where the mags came from, and later, the surf flicks.

As far as surfing, there are more figurative "channels" now. This isn't an East Coast rant. That breadbasket gave us Dora, fish tacos, Vans, Bad Religion, Matt Archbold and Taylor Steele's Momentum. There are plenty of closed out, windy, and just plain ol' flat days that I would kill for just three waves at Lowers. But surfing has far more flavor these days and that's very apparent in the 2012 lineup of the New York Surf Film Festival presented by Barbados that was just released.

Of course, you will always have your big name filmmakers like Kai Neville ("Modern Collective," "Lost Atlas") shooting around the globe. His most recent ""Dear Suburbia"," features the most progressive surfers on the planet in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the Caribbean. In addition to your notable locations like Hawaii and Australia, this year, you have films that focus on specific topics coming from Israel, Africa, the Pacific Northwest, Florida, the American Pacific, and Scotland. There are films like "European Surf Journal" that document everywhere from Morocco to Germany, and the "The Find," which tells the story of claiming Nelscott Reef in Oregon. The simple fact that this high profile fest has done so well in New York City is testment to different perspectives in surfing today.

This year's film fest of 13 feature films and 17 shorts will take place atNiteHawk Cinema, September 19-20 in Brooklyn. 2012 New York Surf Film Festival Official Features Program:

NYSFF 2011
Filmmakers Keith Malloy and Scott Soens with an inquisitive fan at the Q&A for "Come Hell or High Water" at the NYSFF in 2011.

"Dear Suburbia" by Kai Neville: Filmed on location in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the Caribbean, "Dear Suburbia" is the latest release from Kai Neville and is the follow up to his previous films "Modern Collective" and "Lost Atlas." It is a high-performance, location-based surf film set against exotic landscapes, objects and personalities juxtaposed with the traditions of suburban life. Spontaneity versus routine. The unknown versus the familiar. An interpretation of our lifestyle, culture, riding waves, traveling the world -- a pirouette into the absurdity of it all. The result is a graceful, often schizophrenic glimpse at modern life with a surfboard and a passport. NYC PREMIERE

"European Surf Journal" by Peter Sterling -- Sterling, a photographer and now filmmaker -- travelled intensively for two years throughout Europe. From the barren cold North to the hot desert of Morocco, in countries like Iceland, Scotland and Ireland, even surfing on rivers in Germany and Switzerland. This film includes 11 destinations, and it iis not your average surf film. It does not only show you surf pros but also the guy down the block. It shows serious big waves in Spain and Madeira. An open film made from the heart that will give you joy, history and showcase people that you meet along the way. This film also contains some older footage of young surfers that still rule the European waves today. Hopefully you are inspired by this historical journey through space and time. US PREMIERE

"Gauchos Del Mar" by Julian and Joaquin Azulay: "One Dream, Two Brothers , One continent" Two brothers follow their dream of surfing the American Pacific showing the continent as a whole, through its different cultures, villages, food, people, animals and landscapes while camping and surfing on their way back home to Argentina. NYC PREMIERE

"Here and Now: An Innersection Film" "Here & Now" was shot in one day. More than 25 filmmakers and surfers worked in unison to document the world of surfing in a single 24-hour period: May 2, 2012. From world champs like Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore to free spirits like Dave Rastovich, Ozzy Wright and Alex Knost, this project brings together shapers, photographers, legends, beginners, third world, first world and surf world. Some scored big. Others couldn't find a ripple. It's all part of the surfing experience. From contests to camping, hanging at home or hitting the road, veteran surf filmmaker Taylor Steele pulls together an epic, international cast to prove the best place to be is here and now.

Jaws "Changing the Game" by Wangdu Hovey: Jaws "Changing the Game" is a feature length documentary focusing on a small group of big wave surfers at the famous surfing spot Jaws, also known as Pe'ahi, on the north shore of Maui. Between 2007 and 2012 a few dedicated individuals achieved what was previously deemed impossible, surfing huge Jaws without the use of a Jet Ski. Follow DK and Shaun Walsh, Marcio Freire, Danilo Couto Jeff Rowley, Albee Layer, Matt Meola, and Ian Walsh, and many others through the historic winter of 2011-2012. NYC PREMIERE

"Promised Land" by Todd Morehead: Israel is a country that is loved, hated, and often misunderstood by much of the world. Who really belongs there? Why is Jerusalem so important? Why do some believe in a messiah who will put things right? Amidst this seemingly endless battle over land and religion, surfing has emerged as an escape from the controversy. "Promised Land" is a unique look at this ancient place through the lives of two friends from different faiths, brought together by their love of the oceans that separate them. NYC PREMIERE

"Raw the Movie" by Cohan Banfield and Mark Brightwell: "Raw the Movie" is a new vision in surf film making, combining surfing, the art of cinematography, and a mindful use of editing that synchronizes vision and audio. The film showcases a diverse range of the world's best surfers. "Raw the Movie" will inspire, motivate and just amaze surfers, enthusiasts and non-believers alike. US PREMIERE

"Sebastian Beach One Fine Day" by Billy Yeager is a nostalgic look into the "love of surfing," featuring the surreal uncrowded beach and famous surf break of Sebastian Beach Florida. WORLD PREMIERE

"Surfing and Sharks" by Julian Watson: "Surfing and Sharks" is a documentary about the constant threat South African surfers face every time they paddle out into the ocean, home to one of the largest concentrations of sharks in the world. Against the beautiful backdrop of South Africa's East Coast, the viewer is introduced to three local surfers as they share their personal experiences with these animals while surfing their favorite spots. Throughout the film researchers, ecologists, and shark attack victims offer an objective and unique insight on one of South Africa's most feared predators. The film touches on subjects as to why sharks attack, attack prevention, the myths, the media and the future that sharks are facing today, if any at all. US PREMIERE

"The Africa Project" by Jason Hearn: "The Africa Project" documents the beauty, rich culture, lifestyle, surfers, people, incredible waves and potential of the African coastline. It's a visual journey through Morrocco, Senegal, Namibia, a new discovery on the diamond coast, the giant waves off the Western Cape, the west coast of Africa, the south coast of Natal and touches on the life of Jordy Smith. It's a true African surfing experience. US PREMIERE

"The Find Claiming Nelscott Reef" by Erich Lyttle: In the hostile, sharky, cold-water surf of Oregon, a grassroots tow-in surf contest takes place at a newly found surf break, Nelscott Reef, where giant waves up to 50-feet challenge the best big-wave surfers in the world, exposing surfing's struggle to find new territories, the ugly rise of localism, and the potential loss of its soul. EAST COAST US PREMIERE

"This Time Tomorrow" by Taylor Steele: This film documents an epic Pacific swell chase over 8 days and 18,000 miles traveled. Two surfers, Dave Rastovich and Craig Anderson, tracked waves generated from this single storm in an exhausting attempt to surf the same wave twice as they pulsed eastward through the Pacific. As these waves thundered across the legendary reef of Teahupo'o, reeled down the endless point breaks of Mexico and onwards towards a frosty Arctic conclusion, the pair gathered friends Kelly Slater, Chris Del Moro, Alex Grey and Dan Malloy for this cinematic and cosmic experience of a lifetime. WORLD PREMIERE

"Through the Whisky Barrel" by Allyn Harper: "Through The Whisky Barrel" is the much anticipated debut film by Allyn Harper. An innovate film providing an insight into the history and the culture that surrounds surfing in Scotland. The film showcases an array of epic waves which are unleashed onto the undulating Scottish coastline, whilst telling the stories of Scottish surfing's pioneers and the waves, which form their coldwater playground. The film aims bring the surfing community in Scotland together and raise funds for the Scottish Surf Federation. Soundtrack by the incredible 65 Days of Static. EAST COAST US PREMIERE