For the last two years Santa Cruz freesurfer Noah Wegrich and San Francisco-based filmmaker Perry Gershkow have been diligently working on their film project "Elude."
Like a classic beatnik out of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights book store, the concept of the project was based around a poem that Gershkow wrote. In the end, after trips to Scotland, Ireland, Indo, Hawaii and more, the complete composition has come together in the form of a 30-minute prosaic edit. The surfing is mind blowing and the cinematography's stunning.
We caught up with Gershkow to get the behind-the-scenes scoop:
What's your filmmaking background?
I started as a filmmaker about 12 years ago when I was 19. Because of my pops, being a documentary editor, and my mom, being a producer, I had an infatuation with cameras and editing. When I bought my first camera, I started filming my buds skating and surfing in college.
That was the moment I knew I wanted to make a career out of filmmaking. I got an internship working on Surfing magazine right around the age of 21, and that's what got me hooked on filming surfing.
From then on, I worked with different surf brands and surfers traveling and creating edits, while at the same making films for non surf brands and getting called onto commercial gigs. I started investing in equipment, as well as my own brand, which helped kickstart my career outside of surf filmmaking.
Now I make surf films as a passion and hobby, where as my job now is directing and filming projects for a variety of outdoor brands, as well as documentaries.
How did you meet Noah?
Oh man, I met Waggy on a trip to Baja we did about six years ago or so. I got called onto a trip with a few of my good buddies from Santa Cruz, and Noah was just a grom at the time.
We ended up having an epic trip, which included some real fun waves, and sharing a few beers over sunset. Right off the bat you could tell how rad of a human he was. Just as positive and easy going as they come, while at the same time was extremely motivated to progress his surfing and stand out amongst the rest.
From then on, we pretty much became best of friends and have traveled all over the world together, it's been one hell of a ride!
What was the goal of "Elude"?
I wanted to show people new angles and different ways to approach certain shots utilizing all of the elements. My favorite times to shoot are sunrise and sunset, so I pretty much only shoot during those times unless it's pumping mid day.
I wanted the film to seem more like a visual odyssey than a fast paced, action packed surf film. A lot of the shots at sunrise and sunset are shot in slow motion, giving it that dreamy, nostalgic feeling. It's rad when all different sorts of audiences can relate or enjoy the film, not just surfers.
When you can appeal to the masses, it makes it that much more satisfying.
And what about the poem you wrote for the film?
From the beginning I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of voice that would lend itself to the flow of the film. I always like to push the envelope and challenge myself when it comes down to my work, especially with surf cinema.
I had explored with new angles and new waves, but had never explored adding my own words to a film. One day, I wrote out a few lines for the intro, thinking that would be the only part of the film where I incorporate dialogue, and after adding it to the film, I immediately got psyched and started writing more. I decided that I wanted to connect the visuals with the story by telling the story through my own words.
I had never written any poetry before, but I have always enjoyed reading poetry. I'm just stoked people enjoyed that aspect of the film, because I was pretty anxious to see if people would like it or think it's lame.