The Kona Surf Film Festival is about to enter its 10th year on the Big Island. That’s a pretty epic accomplishment so we caught up with creator Chad Campbell to commemorate the occasion with a run down on their humble beginnings and details on what to expect from this year. The festival takes place January 31-Feb 1 and they’re accepting film submissions until December 10.
This is the 10th anniversary year. Congrats! What prompted you to start the festival in the first place?
Well, we had done a movie or two and organized the premieres for those so it was kind of a natural progression. I just thought, well, I know how to get the premieres set up, I love surf movies, why don’t I try to screen a few more over a couple of days…so yeah…we just charged it and it has grown each year.
So things have changed since you began in 2003?
We have grown a ton. I think the first couple years we had maybe 100 people per night, and last year we had a bit over 600 people per night. It’s been awesome. We’ve also taken it outdoors which is really cool…and incorporated live music and art…and two screens. This year we are having our main venue on the beach in Kona, and we have two more spots that we are going to utilize for morning and matinee stuff…so yeah…steady growth!
What can we expect from this year’s film fest?
I think a focus more on the films. Sounds funny, but the last couple of years the films were still the centerpiece but there was a lot of other stuff going on and it was almost a little too ambitious…so this year we are really bringing the vibe back to really enjoying the films. And like I said, we have multiple venues (three total), and we are really working on getting some filmmakers out. Greg Browning and Alex Gray are a good possibility. I’ve been trying to get Blake Keueny out for a bit too…hopefully Cyrus can come out! But yeah overall — awesome films, live music, surf art, a few surprise guests for the talks, etc etc.
How long have you been planning the festival?
Jeez! It’s crazy…I started in…let’s see May? It’s a ton of work but I like it. What’s really crazy is how fast it approaches.
What is the selection process like? What do you look for in the films you select?
I try to get a really good mix of documentary, action, art…just a wide variety. It’s really good to have brand new films as well…with equipment being what it is nowadays it’s cool because a lot more people can actually make a flick. So…we get sent a lot of films, and I search the Internet a lot too. There are quite a lot of random films out there that you wouldn’t run into unless you were looking.
What makes a great surf film?
In my opinion it’s a feeling it gives you. A great great surf film will give you a feeling in your stomach that makes you want to travel, or get tubed, or ride certain equipment. Just that stoked feeling deep in your core. There are the obvious factors that help – good camera work, good surfing, and story…but it’s sort of that unknown element that pushes it into the realm of greatness…
Find more details on the fest here: http://www.konasurffilmfestival.org/
To help offset some of the costs, they’ve got an Indiegogo campaign going, which you can check out here [link http://igg.me/at/konasurffilmfestival/x/5095095]