My Canvas wins Best Short Film!

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18 May
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THIS JUST IN: Alan Stokes and Mr. B won the 'Best Short Film' award at this weekend's Approaching Lines festival for 'My Canvas'. Before we release the full length feature, we thought we'd catch up with the boys on their experience at this epic Surf Film Festival.

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Approaching Lines has been going for a couple of years now and you won an award last year with Seeking Ombak. Was it any different heading into it with your solo project?

S: Yeah I didn’t really think about it to be honest until the time came to show it, and I suddenly got pretty nervous. The whole film was a focus on me and my thoughts on why we, or at least I, surf, done from quite a spiritual standpoint, so in a way it's quite an outspoken piece.

It’s a different environment to be screening something for the first time , when you launch something online you can kind of hit enter and just sit back and hide behind your laptop come what may. But in a cinema you’re completely switched on to people’s reactions and emotions as the film unfolds, and that’s a pretty rad experience. Luckily the film went down really well and we received plenty of (cheerful) hooting so it felt amazing to stoke the place out like that.

B that was your first showing at the festival, how did you handle the pressure?

S: I've had films in the London Surf Film Festival, Cornwall Film Festival and others before but think that's the first one to show at Approaching Lines. It's the first screening of one of my films I've been able to get to for quite a while too. The experience was great, but wasn't expecting to be called on stage!

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How was ‘My Canvas’ received among surf fans? Did they get it?

S: Nah no one had a clue what I was banging on about, I think one guy even shouted “BLOODY HIPPY!” haha.

No, I think it resonated well with some people. I hope at least that it switched a few people on to that trail of thinking. I was finding it quite hard to articulate what I was thinking and at the same time keep it simple and on point. Trying to describe the almost indescribable feeling you have whilst riding waves is quite a challenging task. Some of the audio we recorded for the voice overs is hilarious, I really do sound like I’m on another planet at times, just trying to work out how to translate feelings into words. Looking back, it was great fun exploring that.

B: I hope they got it; it certainly seemed to go down well but always hard to know. The 'talky' audio bits were recorded by just sitting and chatting and getting Stoker's thoughts on how different boards help you reach the feeling you try to get through surfing. So when I watch the film back it doesn't sound like a bunch of pre-written sound bites trying to be hipster, it sounds like Stoker genuinely considering what surfing means to him, and how different boards come into that, and I hope that comes across to everyone who watch it.

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Surf film festivals are always a good source of stoke. How was the vibe this year?

S: Ah man the Surf Film Fest has the raddest vibe. Just a bunch of like-minded surf nutters all under one roof cheering and laughing at some unfortunate guy going over the falls, young or old. It’s so cool. Surfing really has no barriers these days; you can ride anything and everyone is part of this crazy tribe, it’s nice to see. That’s just what surfing is all about. I think for a while there seemed to be these little facets of wave riding, and groups would really stick to themselves: the body boarders, the longboarders, ect… But now that’s all gone, it’s how it should be.

B: Yeah I was worried it would be quiet as it was such a nice evening, but it was pretty much full and everyone was into it.

What was your favourite entry in this year’s festival?

S: I really enjoyed watching the Wayne Lynch bio ‘Uncharted Waters’, I’ve spent some time traveling down The Great Ocean Road where Wayne fled to when he got drafted, so I could really appreciate what he was talking about and how the environment he was living in at the time moulded him into the type of surfer he became.

B: I did enjoy the Iceland trip comedy 'Freezing', heard good things beforehand and it didn't disappoint. Enjoyed the Wayne Lynch film too, was good to see a proper documentary again instead of just shorts.

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Photo Matt Arney/Approaching Lines

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Photo John Isaac/Approaching Lines

Any particular highlights from the event?

S: Well a rad surprise for me was when Nick the froth-master pulled out the Stoker Cannon after our film finished haha. The Stoker Cannon fired prizes to the loudest hooters in the crowd. Nick is such a beaut and I know he would have been biting at the bit to get that thing out and fire it. Another highlight was to have musician and good friend Ruarri Joseph with us there to watch it, his music is featured in the film and it’s my favourite track on the film.

B: When I caught one of the bouncy light balls which I exchanged for a free beer, and for me just seeing our own film on big screen after all that work.

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