Jack Coleman certainly has his groove on. As a generation of filmmakers skip merrily down the path of towards a RED and Canon digital utopia, Jack inhabits a world where a compact format from a long gone analogue age rules supreme. Super 8 is a dinosaur of the movie world – a grainy, fuzzy medium prone to solar flares and stray hairs. And yet, its inherent flaws are its charms. In his latest feature Groove Move, Coleman’s fourth, he shows that there’s an art to capturing waveriding culture.
Jack Coleman’s ‘Groove Move’ has its European Premiere at The Approaching Lines Festival, Newquay, Thursday 24th April. For tickets click HERE.
Chris Nelson caught up with Jack to find out how his distinctive style of portraying surfing had developed and why he felt an affinity with shooting on this celluloid format? “This style developed in me from the time period I grew up in,” he explains. “In the mid to late 70s Super 8 was the format to make family or home movies, my family was no exception. We used to put the projector up in the house and watch our family vacation to Sea World, or a camping trip to Santa Barbara. This is where I got my love of shooting on celluloid, from a very young age it stuck with me, and I enjoyed the feeling it gave me when we watched it.”
In his latest offering there’s big screen regulars like Rasta, Ozzie Wright and Machado but there’s also the likes of Derek Hynd, Alex Knost, Joel Tudor, Ryan Burch, Ford Archibald and Gavin Beschen.
However, this digital age we live in allows the filmmaker benefits that weren’t available previously – for example checking footage from a session as it is actually happening. Knowing you’ve got the shot in the bag. How does it feel having to wait and develop the footage to know if you’ve got nailed it? “Well, its always a catch 22,” says Coleman, “cause I'd love to see the footage, but it makes it more intimate when you have to wait it out. It allows me to just enjoy the trip that I'm on a lot more than if I was uploading digital clips and watching them. I look at it like this, digital exploits a moment, and film makes a memory.”
Another thing Jack’s films are known for is the eclectic cast of surfers he assembles. In his latest offering there’s big screen regulars like Rasta, Ozzie Wright and Machado but there’s also the likes of Derek Hynd, Alex Knost, Joel Tudor, Ryan Burch, Ford Archibald and Gavin Beschen. “My choice in surfers is easy,” he explains. “I like the guys who are interesting on land, that have more going on than just being a surf jock. I like the surfers who have range outside the lineup. Like guys who do art, play music, paint. My choice in surfers also comes from the way they approach the wave. They let the wave dictate how they draw their lines, not them chop hopping around trying to do airs for the camera. I let the surfer choose the type of wave he will thrive in as well. Its all about them having a good time surfing, sometimes it can get to serious for some of the top guys. I just want to have a nice flowing style where they can draw their unique lines.”
The big screen gives you way more of an authentic feel. With the sounds and visuals it can take you away to another place, an escape from reality. A theatre allows you to let go and feel the film and music completely.
In a time when most people get their surf film fix via a small screen, I ask Jack what it’s like for him seeing his work in a cinematic environment. “The big screen gives you way more of an authentic feel. With the sounds and visuals it can take you away to another place, an escape from reality. A theatre allows you to let go and feel the film and music completely. As opposed to the Internet, where you are watching a lo-quality version of the surfing set to a smaller screen where you are making your emails. So there is a difference to the experience that sticks with you – sometimes it lasts forever if you have a good theatrical experience.
And what of the future. Does he have another project already lined up? “I think I’m ready to start shooting as soon as I get the Groove Move out there. This next film will feature a lot of the same guys, maybe with a few new cast members. I’m into showcasing "REAL" surfers now. Not guys who have big contracts and have help from major corporations. Guys like Ari Browne, Justin Adams, Rangi Ormond, Bryce Young – these are the guys that interest me. I do have some big names in my films though like Knost, Ozzie and Machado - and am grateful to be able to shoot with them as well. But for my next project, look for these guys to be showcased as much as the big names. The soul of surfing is being pulled from underneath us by the consumer attitude that portrays the mainstream. I just want to project "pure surfing" at its core.”
Jack Coleman interviewed by Chris Nelson