Apres ma rencontre avec Jess Laing, surfeuse et actrice principale du film First Love… Je vous fais aujourd‘hui partager ma rencontre avec Claire Gorman, réalisatrice et directrice de First Love. Claire Gorman est une jeune femme « busy » qui travaille actuellement sur un autre projet mais elle a bien voulu répondre à mes questions…
Age : 24
Years of surfing : about 10
Home spot : phillip island
Favorite stick : I only have 1! it’s a 5’11 fish
Favorite break : Tiger Tracks, Indonesia
Favorite surfer : Steph Gilmore
TripSurfeuse : You’re the director, cinematographer and editor of First Love surf movie. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the movie yet but I checked the trailer which shows a very nice quality of footages, well done! Which kind of camera did you use ?
Claire Gorman : I used a Panasonic P2 out of the water and a little Canon HV10 inside a Dave Kelly water housing in the water.
Is it difficult to film while being in the water ?
Yes, it’s harder than it looks, because you have to be in the right spot in the wave to capture the best turn and you’re usually battling rips and currents. It’s also very cold in winter; I think I got hypothermia a few times. Clare Plueckhahn also helped out with some of the water filming.
What is the most exciting thing and the worst that could happen when filming/editing ?
There’s endless possibilities of things that could happen, but personally, the best thing that I get out of both filming and editing is the connection’s you make with the people you are filming. It’s a privilege to have someone put so much trust in you, and then to be able to put their stories together through editing and share that with a lot of people is really special. The worst thing that’s happened to me… well, I nearly drowned my camera in Hawaii because I forgot to tighten the screws… and that was bad enough!
But you didn’t, thanks for that because First Love concept is very new and I’ve never seen a girl surf movie mixing true story and surf footages starring free surfer girls as well as you do… ! What gave you the idea of this movie and when did you decide to create it ?
For that exact reason, there aren’t really any other girls surf films out there. I was inspired by Steph Gilmore, and they way that she has taken women’s surfing to a new level. I started filming Nikki van-Dijk in early 2009 and the rest is history I suppose.
What was your budget for First Love ? Did you find sponsors ?
We (Clare,Fran and I) managed to complete the first edit of the film for about $11,000, and then we got distribution and re-edited and the budget jumped quite a bit. Part of that was self funded, and we had some local sponsors help us out (The Pyramid Rock Festival, OutThere Outdoors, and Fringz). Rip Curl came on board as out presenting sponsor just before we finished the first edit, and have been an amazing support. It was hard finding sponsorship, because none of us had ever made a film before, so at times it was hard getting people to believe in us.
You had been filming for more than one year… in Phillip Island most of the time (a shame I wasn’t here by then ! ) Did you get support from people in Phillip Island while filming ?
Most of the time, I was just doing my own thing, filming on the beach. The girls’ parents were really supportive and always willing to drive the girls where they needed to be, which was mostly in the waves. The school, Newhaven College, were also really helpful and allowed me to come in a few times to the girls’ classes etc… Which was a bit distracting for everyone!
Then, you went to Hawaii (how lucky you are !)… which is known to be very male surfer dominant place… Was it easy for the girls to catch waves ?
The surf is a lot more powerful in Hawaii, but the girls (jess didn’t go) handled themselves really well in the water. They said they everyone was pretty nice, I think that locals expect a lot of tourist at that time of year with the Triple Crown on.
Did you get a chance to surf there ?
I only got to surf twice on that trip! But I’ve been there about 7 times now altogether, so I’ve surfed a fair bit there when it’s small.
Is Hawaii a good place to film ?
The North Shore is great for filming, a lot of the breaks are really close and there’s always amazing talent out in the water. Plus, it’s warm all the time.
In Hawaii, you met great surfer girls such as world champion Stephanie Gilmore and amazing Bethany Hamilton… What is it like to talk to these girls ?
All the pro girls we met were really welcoming and supportive of what we were doing. We were stoked to be able to meet them all, and after hanging out with them a bit, they were really comfortable having me follow them around shopping etc. We also met Alana Blanchard, Coco Ho and Carissa Moore.
What’s your best memory ?
When Steph (Gilmore ndlr) won her third world title, she threw a pretty fun party.
Is the Hawaiian surf culture much different from the Australian surf culture ?
Not really, I think in the end, once you take out all the localism and aggression that you see at certain breaks, everyone is there for the same reason.
There are more and more girls surfing while most of people still keep “surfer chicks stereotypes” in mind… what do people (and specially men) think about your movie ?
I think that ‘you surf like a girl’ stereotype is starting to change now that the girls are surfing so well. I was actually surprised at how many guys liked the film and were amped to go for a surf after watching it.
So, do you think people are more interested about free surfer girls nowadays ?
Off the top of my head, Keala Kennely is the only free surfer I can think of. I hope that as the level of girls surfing continues to rise, brands will see the value they have in the industry and will put more money into the women’s events
How do you see future for free surfer girls, then ?
I can’t see it happening a lot in the near future, hopefully though!
First Love just won best documentary at X-Dance as well as you won the emerging filmmaker award… Congratulations! Do you think you are going to change the way girls surf movies are directed ?
Thanks! I’m not sure about girls surf movies specifically, just because there aren’t many to compare to. But for surf films in general, a lot of them are starting to steer away from the ‘surf porn’ genre and looking more at characters and stories.
What do you like best about First Love and if you had to do anything different, what would it be ?
That’s a hard one. I think my favourite part is when Nikki’s brother Joe explains how he ‘had to stay in house full of girls’ and then it cuts to him with the grumpiest expression standing next to Nikki and her two friends…makes me laugh every time. And if I could change anything, I would take out the animated love hearts! I don’t care what everyone else says, I never liked them! haha.
You are a young film-maker but First love is not the first movie you directed…when did you enter film industry ?
I got a job as a camera assistant with David Parer, an amazing wildlife cinematographer. He was shooting for 360 Degree Films on a doco on the Little Penguin.
Is it something you studied in high school or picked up at a later date ?
I was basically self-taught. Mum and Dad got me a video camera when I was about 14, and I used to go and film my brother and his friends surf, then we’d all come back to our house and watch it on TV… but I always missed the best wave (of course!), the law of filming surfing.
What other movies have you directed, filmed or helped to produce ?
I made a short film ‘Eddie’ on the 2009 Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay which has been selected for a number of film festivals. And a lot of short clips.
Is there any surfer girl or film-maker who inspires you ?
I am inspired by Mickey Smith’s ‘The Dark Side Of The Lens’, it’s awesome!
Jess Laing told me you’re working on a new documentary about women’s big wave surfing …?
I’ve done a few months filming in Hawaii, but it’s still in the early stages at the moment. It’s an exciting project to be working, I’ve been on the back of jet-ski’s in 20 ft waves (> 6m, ndlr), seen a guy drown and then be re-vived, there’s been tears, joy, passion and just about every emotion you can think of. I’m off to the Billabong XXL Awards (for big wave surfers) in LA in a few weeks.
Awesome ! But for now, I can’t wait to watch First Love ! Where could French people find First Love and your others movies ?
We are planning a Europe release sometime this year! Just look at www.firstlovethefilm.com. A lot of my work can be found through my website www.liquidpictures.com.au and my vimeo http://vimeo.com/clairegorman/videos
Is there anything else that you would like to say to French female surfers or French people ?
I’d love to come and visit you sometime soon! Let me know if you have a spare couch
Thank you very much for your time and answering my questions Claire ! I wish you all the best for your new project !
Thanks Delia! No worries! Hopefully catch up soon. We’ll have to all get together for a surf soon