There was a pretty decent-sized crowd at the Fremont last night for Thomas Campbell’s “The Present,” a new surf film that affirms my belief that Campbell is the best active surf movie maker out there.
Though not as mellow as his previous flicks, “Seedling” and “Sprout,” “The Present’s” variety and visual imagery surpass most others in the genre.
The best scene was a spoof contest where surfers do crazy things like hit a golf ball, excersize on a Nordi Track, water flowers and climb a ladder — all while surfing. (As Dave Barry would say — I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.) Ojai’s Dan Malloy also does a fun stunt as Count Trimula, where he rises out of a coffin — again, while surfing.
There’s also a cool segment where surfers ride wooden, finless boards modeled after ancient Hawaiian equipment.
The screening started with great jazzy surf music from Mattson 2. (And, yes, they are brothers — twins, in fact.) I was a bit disappointed that Campbell wasn’t present, though. This is supposed to represent an old school surf movie tour, yet a key element of that is having the film maker actually tour with the movie. Campbell has appeared with the movie in other towns,but for some reason he slighted SLO.
Also, the sound at the Fremont was pretty dreadful. I know it’s a terrific theater, but come on — it sounded like the speakers in my old 1983 Mazda GLC.
Local company VAS Entertainment handled the distribution of the film. They also distributed “The Bra Boys,” another popular surf movie.
In other surf stuff, check out this great story of the Stoke from the Orange County Register. The story details how a teenaged double-amputee from Afghanistan has gotten crazy about surf.
Mohammad Malek was just 16 when he stepped on two separate land mines in his country. With both legs blown off, he was sent to America for treatment. (The Loma Linda University Medical Center provided the charity.) There he took up surfing. And he quickly amazed others with his acrobatic headstands. (That’s him on the right in a photo taken by the Register.)
The LA Times has also been following his progress.
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