Reel Talk: Jeremy Rumas

At the start of July, we told you about the Honolulu Surf Film Fest, a month long series of surf films showing at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Tomorrow there’s a very special premiere we thought you should know about. 

Hangs Upon Nothing will be making its Hawaii debut, with filmmaker Jeremy Rumas in attendance, live-narrating the film, old school style (probably in honor of the fact that he shot the thing in 16mm). To stoke us out for this, he’s shared a few and answered a few of our questions below. 

If you’re in Honolulu, be sure to make it out for this showing and check the other ones you might want to see here.

If you’re not in Honolulu, start writing letters your congressperson to bring something like this to your city.

Are you nervous to see it shown to a live audience?

Yes I am. I’ve done a screening of the first 18 minutes of the movie already during a fundraiser for the project. That went over really well, so that helps ease the nerves a bit having done that. But yeah, I’m still a bit nervous about it all.

How long were you working on the film?

Way too long! I started filming this when I was 27. I’m 34 now. I’m almost embarrassed to admit I’ve been at one project for so long. Most of the really early footage I shot did not make it into the movie though, and was more of a primer for making this film. Working on this has been on and off for me. I’ve had to work a lot back home to make a living along the way, and I’ve also spent time while traveling to surf and experience things for myself.  

If you want to get really technical…there are two shots in this movie that I shot 10 years ago actually, two very quick time-lapse shots, less than a second each. I filmed those with my friend’s Bolex.  Every other shot in this movie I filmed with my Bolex Rx-5.

How come you decided to enter it into film fests?

Just want to get the film in front of some audiences to see how they’ll react to it. Hoping they dig it and that seeing the film on a big screen will help spread the word about the film.

How did it come about that you were invited to speak at the Honolulu film fest? 

I guess some people there have been on the lookout for my film for a while now. They reached out to me about featuring my film in their fest, and I was excited about the prospect. I wasn’t sure I’d finish the film in time. I actually just finished it up over the last week for this premiere. There are still a few incomplete aspects to it, such as the end credits are not fully fleshed out yet. But it’s pretty much done. As far as speaking there…I’m going to be narrating the film live with a mic. I did this at the fundraiser screening my friends threw for me at a bar in Chicago last year. It was completely improvised, and it was something I never planned on doing as I never intended for this movie to have any narration. I just got up there with a mic next to the screen because my friends asked me to! Everyone seemed to enjoy the narration quite a bit, and so I thought a bit about it and decided to add some sparing narration to the movie. So that’s what I’ll be doing at the premiere and also the following screening on July 31. I’m also doing this as a bit of a nod to surf films of old and how they were toured.  

Have you worked with 16mm before?

I took one filmmaking class at Columbia College in Chicago when I was 19, and we used 16mm Bolex cameras. After that I shot a few rolls of film for fun with a borrowed Bolex. That’s about it before I began shooting this.

Can you give a brief synopsis of Hangs Upon Nothing? 

It’s about taking a step away from the modern day grind, and heading off and experiencing something different. At it’s heart it’s just a film about experiencing life on earth. Surfing is the vehicle that connects it all. The film has three main stories to it that I look at as a representation of the past, present and future. We journey a bit with Chuck Corbett, a surfer who at the age of 19 headed off to remote atolls of the equatorial Pacific and stayed there for the majority of 30 years. The film transitions over to the Jones brothers and their travels to far off places in pursuit of waves. And there’s also the Padma Boys, a young group of Indonesian surfers from Bali. The film shows them growing up amongst a sea of mass tourism, development, night life, and waves.  

Where will it be showing after Honolulu?

Not sure yet! Will keep ya posted! Thanks for taking the time to feature my film project!

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