No matter where you’re from or what you do, the people you meet have some of the most impactful influences on how you live your life.
Surfing has a way of bringing together incredible folks to create and achieve incredible things. Filmmaker, surfer, and family-man (among a million and a half other things) Chris Malloy is a collector of these relationships. From them he is able to facilitate communities that can work together to create something they’re all passionate about: making a difference in the world.
Chris’s latest film, ‘The Fisherman’s Son”, follows environmentalist and surfer Ramon Navarro as he tells his story and illustrates the life he’s come to live through his friends and family.
We interviewed Chris to learn a little more about his relationships and process behind the film. Read on for more.
There’s a lot of variety in the work you direct. How do you choose to dive into such a large cause vs. simply telling the story of one individual?
The audience is always changing; people’s attention spans are different than they used to be.
It came out to 26 mins, and I guess thats a big ask to sit there for that long. The original cut was an hour, but there’s no attention span for that so you really only have room for compelling interesting footage. It really forces you to trim down. Which is good really, brings it down to the stuff that is gonna make the story better and that the people are really going to appreciate. I enjoy that process really.
Which came first- your focus Ramon’s story or Punta Lobos? How did the story evolve?
It was all very simultaneous. I had watched Ramon evolve as a person and surfer as I had watched Punta Lobos evolve as a place. As things changed there, Ramon also developed his outlook on conservation and his voice became stronger. All the while just as a friend, I was inspired by what he was doing and where he was from.
Just like most of our projects, I thought “I’m sure inspired by this, and I think it’s at a place that other people would dig as well.”
I think when you’re telling a story that has an environmental [aspect], you’re either gonna bore, piss off, or inspire people. It’s always reassuring knowing that. I said as we started, if this isn’t a compelling film it won’t be Ramon’s fault. We set out to make this a 25 minute film, then wished we could make it an hour and a half. I really wish we had another year to put into this but sometimes you have to go with the time you have, which ended up working out well because of the time we had.
With passion projects like this, it really comes down to working on it a few days at a time. Everyone involved is doing it for the love of it, you really don’t have the luxury of committing to it entirely; especially when it comes down to what you’re asking of the people involved working on such limited resources.
One of my favorite things about a lot of your work is the consistency behind who you work with on projects like this. How does the team affect the outcome of the film?
It really just happens naturally. I’ve known Hannigan for 20-25 years and Soens for 15. You sort of just end up gravitating to the people that have similar aesthetic and similar interests. People that you can hang out with really. We all have a lot of different things going on, but when these projects come along where you can do your best, something you care about, everyone is just a phone call away and really seem to come together somehow. We never know if this is going to be the last one we’re going to be able to do together, so we gotta rally!
There really is no-one better than Homesy or Soens or Tim Lynch, from the water or from Land. These guys know every crack of land and -pound for pound- you give them a little water and throw them into the jungle [and] they’re gonna come back with gold. They all put in the blood, the sweat, and tears. They’re hard working, fun loving guys. And from the start we were all just fans of surf films, we looked up to these legends making classic films, and we’re just lucky enough to be able to take our shot at making some films.
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