Longboarding may be suffering competitively, but cinematically, it's thriving. Two new flicks are about to hit the market, and both are drawing rave reviews and driving anticipation levels up the wall, as they prepare for their respective world premieres. Thomas Campbell's "The Present" and Mikey DeTemple's "Picaresque" differ in reputation, but share a common bond in approach.
Though an independent filmmaker, Campbell is pretty big-time as it goes in the world of surf movies. Both of his previous works, "The Seedling" and "Sprout" are considered some of the finest films in the last while for surfing and helped establish Campbell as a talent in the industry. "The Present" walks the same road as his previous projects, unveiling an array of surf styles and characters (Rasta, Al Knost, Dan Malloy, etc.), in prime destinations around the world. Sure, that sounds like a recipe for your standard surf movie, but he also documents the individuals interactions with the cultures they visit and their views on the experiences. Plus, he always tends to throw in some bizarre humorous segment (i.e. the various versions of "shaka") for good measure. It's not all shred and boosting, it's bringing surfing down to a human level, slowing down the music and offering some depth to the people he follows.
While Campbell is a known name surf film-wise, Mikey DeTemple is a newcomer. A longtime standout on the longboard competitive circuit, especially on the East Coast, "Picaresque" is Mikey's first step into film making. Working alongside Dustin Miller, the duo took the typical world-travel approach with a number of under-the-radar loggers, who also happen to excel on a range of boards. While Campbell's work slows down the tempo, the soundtrack for "Picaresque" taps into the techno-influenced beats of the current generation. Longboarding has long been viewed as an old man's pursuit, meant for cruising on a weekend morning, woodies and floral print. This film breaks the hip of that old man notion. "Picaresque" is all about the youth influence on the sport of longboarding, and surfing in general.
While neither film is entirely devoted to longboarding, it plays a valuable role. Both films adopt the ride-everything credo that seems to be overrunning the next generation of surfers. If you're a fan of good surfing and fine film making, do yourself a favor and find out when the tours will be coming to your town.