Hopefully, you read my story on surf film maker Bud Browne and Anna Trent Moore, the woman who now owns his collection of films, photos, posters and more. If not, consider this a promotional blog post.
That story began back in February after I posted a blog entry here about the short film “12 Miles North.” The film, about an African-American surfer named Nick Gabaldon, included two local connections: It included an interview with Tony Corley, a Paso Robles man who heads the Black Surfing Association, and it featured vintage clips of Buzzy Trent, a big wave surfer whose daughter, Anna Trent Moore, lives in the county.
After posting the blog, I got a nice email from Moore, who was happy with her father’s portrayal in the film. But what really drew my attention was her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Browne was honored at the SLO Film Festival a few years ago, I talked briefly with Moore, so I knew that she had brought Browne to SLO County and was close to him. But the email address piqued my curiousity. And when I learned that she had basically inherited all of Browne’s films, I instantly thought how could it would be just to look at that collection. (Browne wasn’t in very good health when we previewed his night at the Film Fest, so we couldn’t see it then.)
Of course, we journalists love to peg stories to events. So when I found out that Browne would have been 100 this month — July 25, technically — I figured we could wait a little bit to do the story. Moore was kind enough to invite photographer Joe Johnston and I to her house, where a closet was jam-packed with old films and outtakes. Then there were photo albums, posters, his editing table — definitely, as I mentioned in the story, a surf museum’s dream. But what was really interesting — the thing I hoped would appeal to even non-surfers — was Moore’s relationship with Browne.
Moore, whose father was a frequent subject of Browne’s films, was in constant contact with Browne throughout her life. And the two often took long and far away trips together. In fact, before Moore got married, Browne told her had had something important to tell her, making her nervous.
Does Bud have a terminal illness, she worried.
But just before walking her down the aisle, he leaned over and asked, “I was wondering if you could go to Europe next summer.” Since Moore was getting married, he was worried that their trips would come to an end.
Moore was on a vacation with her family when Browne passed away in his sleep at a home in San Luis Obispo. But he lives on through his work, which Moore has preserved. She has shown Browne’s films a few places, and portions have been licensed to other surf filmmakers. But let’s hope Moore continues to keep those films alive.
While some of the films in her closet were the actual features that Browne screened, many more represent raw footage the public has never seen before.
Tribune photo: Joe Johnston
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