Filmmaker Feature: Thomas Contarino

Most surf films main theme is about surfing…which is great. That is what we love to watch. Progressive maneuvers, classic style, big tubes, and beautiful waves. But young filmmaker Thomas Contarino is focusing on a different aspect, the surfers, in his upcoming project “Another Short Surf Film.” Let’s face it, there are some interesting characters participating in our sport. They do a variety of things in life other then just ride waves, especially in a place like New Jersey, where Thomas’s film is focused. So why not take a look at those individuals and appreciate their place in the world outside of the ocean.

How did you get into filmmaking? What projects have you worked on in that past?

I was always interested at a young age, playing with cameras and making little videos with friends, but I didn’t get serious until about a year and a half ago when I decided to go to film school. I’ve worked on some small productions and produced some of my own content. Short surf edits, some experimental and narrative work, but this is the first time I’ve actually shot surfing and done interviews or done a documentary type piece at all actually.

What is it that drew you to filmmaking in the first place?

Visuals and creativity. Film is such an expansive medium it’s just awesome to see it all come together.

Tell us a little bit about your film. How is it different from other surf films?

The film is about surfers, not just surfing. Brian Wynn is a dedicated local shaper and Tim Daley and Dave Werner are two stand up guys I hooked up with through Long Beach Island based company Jetty. I wanted the film to give some insight into Jersey surf culture and the types of people who make it possible by showing three guys who have made a life around what they love to do and these guys definitely fit the bill.

What is the message you are trying to convey with your film?

That surfing is made up of individuals and that each individual contributes back to the community in their own way.

How do you think diversity affects our sport?

Diversity is what helps our sport progress, it’s what keeps people interested and creates culture. There’s always new and interesting content whether it’s a new film or blog, a trick or wave, a new superstar or artist there’s always something new going on and so many people contribute from all around the world.

What makes Jersey a special spot for surfing? And for living?

Theres nothing like paddling out to overhead barrels and an empty line up on a cold winter day. Not many places left in the world where you can do that, but beyond that we have some beautiful beaches, great surf and awesome people.

After completing your formal education, how will you continue your education to become better at what you do?

By continuing to make films, asking questions and assisting on other projects.

When can we expect to see the full film and what can we expect from you in the future?

The film should be released relatively soon.. just need a couple more shots and some final editing. As far as the future who knows. I’d like to develop the idea into a series of short films or a longer feature or maybe I’ll move onto a new idea. Gotta find an internship, finish school and continue working too so I have plenty on my plate, but I’ll definitely be producing more content in the near future so stay tuned.

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