Wavescape Surf Film Festival heads to Cape Town

Words: Gwen Sparks ǀ Jonx Pillemer & various photographers

Anyone even remotely connected to surfing will know of the seminal surf movie The Endless Summer, by Californian director Bruce Brown. The film chronicles the adventures of two young American surfers, Robert August and Mike Hynson, as they escape the congestion of the US West Coast to search the world for the perfect wave. This movie is said to have opened up a whole new realm of surfing experiences and put surfing at St Francis firmly on the map.

But many may not know that the film has just been released, again. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, The Endless Summer has been digitally remastered with surround sound, and those who have seen it are saying that it hasn’t looked this gorgeous since its original theatrical release in 1964. South African fans can look forward to seeing the film - with richer colours and all blemishes from the original 16 mm film removed - at the Wavescape Film Festival, which runs from 26 November to 17 December 2013, in Cape Town.

The festival, presented by Pick n Pay and supported by the Save Our Seas Foundation, SA Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and Jack Black Beer, features 16 screenings of surf, adventure, and ocean awareness films. Scott Mansfield, managing partner of The Endless Summer production house, Monterey Media, said, "Balancing the color and painstakingly removing over 80% of the film dirt was truly a labor of love.”

"Audiences in Cape Town will be able to see a timeless masterpiece that continues to capture the imagination of every new generation, even if the formal language, '60s slang, preppie haircuts, and smart suits become increasingly quaint as the years roll by, like a set wave at Rincon in California," added Monterey.

In addition to the special 50th anniversary screening, exclusive to South Africa, Wavescape will also host an outdoor screening on Clifton's 4th Beach, the most beautiful cinema on Earth, on 7 December. Families can chill out on the beach while they enjoy the show. The Clifton screening will be preceded by the annual Wavescape Art Board Project, which will showcase top artists such as Brett Murray, Manuela Gray, and Roger Ballen. At a special charity auction on 4 December, funny-man Rob van Vuuren will open the bids for Murray, Gray and Ballen's surfboards, each decorated with a unique design.

After the outdoor screening at Clifton, the film will go to the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay and then on to Labia in Cape Town. Wavescape will, among others, screen Now Now, the new Jordy Smith film; The Salt Trail, produced by a South African-born film-maker; and Alaska Sessions, about surfing in, you guessed it, Alaska.

Sustainable seas and ocean activism have been trademark themes at the Wavescape Film Festival for some years. Surfers, after all, float at the forefront of shifts in the ecosystem of the ocean and understand the critical importance of keeping our seas alive and well. This year, the film Revolution deals with these issues.

In Revolution, the maker of the hit shark documentary, Shark Water, Rob Stewart, widens his mandate to save not just sharks, but all the oceans of planet Earth. He has travelled to 15 countries in over four years, and realises that not only sharks face extinction - we do. From ruin in Papua New Guinea and Madagascar, to destruction in Canada, Stewart reveals that the Earth's ability to house humans is diminishing due to species loss, ocean acidification, and pollution. Revolution inspires change as we fight our most important war - against ourselves.

Other events to look out for include the Wavescape Fish Fry, a new event that has been added to this year's action-packed programme. The partnership between Wavescape and SASSI brings the surfing community together on 30 November in the spiritual and historic home of surfing in South Africa - Muizenberg. The event combines a surfboard market (the 'Fish' is an old surfboard shape) and sustainable seafood awareness event, where season one and two winners of the Ultimate Braai Master will 'face off' against each other in a fish braai. Steve Pike, of wavescape.co.za and festival co-founder, said, "The event merges sustainable seas and surfing lifestyle in a unique and powerful way."

After a successful premiere last year, Wavescape Slide Night moves to the Cape Town Aquarium on 12 December for an evening of 10-minute presentations by 10 esteemed ocean thought leaders, who have an intimate connection to the ocean. This informal, fun gathering was a hit last year and this year promises to be just as captivating, with Juliette Ball from the Ocean Love project, shark scientist Alison Kock, Mike Markovina from Who Moved my Sushi, and veteran white shark expedition leader and photographer Chris Fallows, to name a few.

It's a film fest not too be missed and we hope to see you there.

Wavescape Festival programme at a glance

Art Board Exhibition
27 November - 4 December 2013
The Superette, 66 Albert Road, Woodstock Exchange
Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily
Entrance: Free

Art Board Auction
4 December 2013
The Superette, 66 Albert Road, Woodstock Exchange
Time: 6 p.m.
Entrance: Free

Outdoor screening
7 December 2013
Clifton 4th Beach
Time: 7 p.m.
Entrance: Free

Brass Bell
8 - 11 December 2013
Kalk Bay
Time: 9 p.m. daily
Entrance: R35 (at the door)

Slide Night
Venue TBC
12 December 2013
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Entrance: R80 (buy ticket online)

Labia on Orange
Cape Town
12 - 16 December 2013
Time: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily
Entrance: Free

For more information, please go to www.WavescapeFilmFestival.co.za