|Alex DiPhillipo filming Thomas Petriken
A handful of South Jersey friends surf together each winter. The water is empty. The ocean is cold. It's a lonely scene just a few people crazy enough to go the distance for some great waves.
saw a story.
Margate native DiPhillipo decided to document the unique experience of Jersey surfers, many of whom are his friends. Originally, DiPhillipo, who moved to Hawaii after college and shot footage for various surf companies, thought his first independent film would be small and wrap quickly. But as more people took interest, it became clear the project was growing. The film doesn't just feature Jersey local hotshots such as Zack Humphreys
and Andrew Gesler
. Surfing pro Kelly Slater
and NJ native Dean Randazzo
appear in the film. But the famous names don't mean as much as the local ones. DiPhillipo's film, Dark Fall
, is about what it's like to be a New Jersey surfer, with none of the glory, but all of the guts.
What's the concept of the film?
It takes you through the seasons and what it's like to be a New Jersey surfer. It shows the hardships of being a surfer from New Jersey, a professional trying to make a living. There really aren't many contests here, there isn't that much recognition. We surf in the snow it's pretty hardcore
. The film also takes you to Hawaii. We meet up with a bunch of big name guys in Hawaii to show everyone we can surf pipeline, some of the world's biggest waves. We come back to New Jersey in the summer, show you how it's a crazy tourist attraction, how the Jersey Shore goes from a ghost town in the winter to a crazy party scene in the summer. Then we take another break from Jersey and go to Tahiti. It ends in the fall. That's the basis of film: coming back to Jersey to surf the fall, with nobody around but your friends.
Most of the subjects were your friends. Did that make the project any easier?
Andrew Gesler, who takes you through the film with his voice and surfs a lot in it too he's co-producer of the film and wrote the film with me. Basically, when I came home and said I wanted to do a film, he gathered guys I didn't know for me. That was a big help. If it weren't for him, a lot of the guys in there wouldn't be in there. I knew most of the guys. But [Gessler] wrote to the pros and said, "Hey, you gotta hop on this.
" It took some awhile to believe in it for a couple of months but when we started producing stuff, like little trailers, people saw what we had.
Obviously, there are some great surf movies out there, and you just made your own which is a huge undertaking. But what are your three favorite surfing movies of all time?
I don't have three but I have one. I definitely liked Endless Summer
. I grew up on that film. I'm a big fan of story telling; the reason I made this film was to tell a stor
y. There's a lot of quote on quote "surf porn" out there which is just like surfing and techno music. Anyone can go to a beach and film the best surfers in the world doing crazy shit
. But that movie was really one of the first movies I watched when I was younger and I watched it over and over again, because of the story, you know?
Dark Fall, Fri. July 16, $20 House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-236-2583, darkfallthemovie.com