Filmmaker Feature: Alex DePhillipo

Alex DePhillipo is amidst the ever growing population of surf filmmakers. However, he seems to be headed in the right after his award winning film, Dark Fall, and one of our favorite clips of the 2011-2012 North Shore Season, Free Aloha. In this filmmaker feature, Alex shares his thoughts on East Coast surfing, how he hopes to change people view of New Jersey after it’s reputation has been decimated by recent Reality TV shows, and what we can expect to see in the future.

Tell us a little about growing up on the East coast. How did you get into surfing?

I grew up on the beach town in Southern NJ. I guess like any kid, I started surfing when I was a grom, the only thing that I’d say that is different being a kid growing up surfing in the northeast as opposed to being a kid growing up surfing on the west coast or Florida, is that we have to push through the winter seasons to keep doing it, which was not easy and sometimes not even fun.

Have you noticed any changes in the surf culture in the North East? In what ways has it evolved since you were a grom?

Yeah, I mean surfing is just blowing up in general and the wetsuits are becoming so advanced these days, it seems like everyone surfs back home now.

How did you get into filmmaking? What had you been up to prior to making a career out of it?

I started in high school, filming my friends do “Jackass” stuff around our town and shooting each other surfing. I later went to film school in Florida and then moved to Hawaii for a few years to make it happen.

With so many filmmakers in the industry, how do you distinguish yourself from the rest? Which aspects of surfing do you focus on capturing?

I mean the surf industry isn’t that big, especially if you make films. So I guess I try to stray away from what everyone else is doing, especially these surf porn movies that have no emotion in them. So I think I focus on more of the story telling and bringing out the emotion in anything that I shoot. I guess there is a thin line between a filmmaker and a someone’s “filmer” in the surf industry.

Can you talk a little about your film, Dark Fall? What’s the idea behind it?

Dark Fall is a movie about growing up in the northeast and showcases the lives of the surfers who live there, including former ASP tour member and cancer survivor Dean Randazzo.

What do you hope viewers take away after watching your film?

Well, in the past few years due to do the geniuses of reality television, our home has been stereotyped in the worst way possible. I just hope by watching this film that people would not be so quick to judge.

Did you come across any obstacles or difficulties along the way?

Yes, just like any independent film there are certainly financial difficulties, having the surfers fully committed, things like that. But it all worked out in the long run.

Are you currently working on any projects? Got any plans for the future?

Well, myself and Andrew Gesler, who is my partner in our production company (, are in the works of getting a really cool project green light, but its sorta hush right now until its finalized. All I can say that it is a surf adventure of cold. Cheers!

For more from Alex, check out

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