Surf Film Archive x Headland Band

“Surf movies on the big screen are back, baby!” – Dick Hoole

For the last three years THE SURF FILM ARCHIVE has been digging into the dusty cupboards of our original surf filmmakers to find and restore Australia and New Zealand’s lost surf films. At this very special event, salty legends HEADLAND bring this never-before-seen footage to life in full seven-piece band mode.

Featuring remastered lost Paul Witzig reels, Dick Hoole footage from the earliest days of surf exploration in Indonesia, classic moments from the Bob Evans archive and excerpts from many more rarely seen classic surf films. Don’t miss it!

If you’ve watched any of Torren Martyn and Ishka Folkwell’s ‘Lost Track’ films then you’ve heard Headland’s work. Keen listeners will be aware that Murray Paterson’s work with Headland stretches back even further and very often  on the same artistic trip: bespoke atmospheric rock inspired by projected visuals.
Improvised music set to imagery isn’t totally new: think of Neil Young’s spontaneous soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, or more recently, the Richard Thompson collaboration with Werner Herzog for Grizzly Man. Murray builds on this heritage by bringing together a collective of musicians to respond intuitively to film. Instrumentalists for the show at The J include Kenny Gormly from The Cruel Sea and one of the Sunny Coast’s favourite characters, drummer, Brock Fitzgerald.

Fifteen years ago, Jolyon made the documentary Searching for Michael Peterson and was astounded at the amount of unseen footage he came across: whole rolls lost to the cutting room floor, or footage unused because of a slight flaw, stored away as the march of technology made old formats redundant. Come the pandemic and Jolyon acted on an old desire, creating the Surf Film Archive to save all that lost and forgotten footage—not just of MP, but any surf footage—before it turned to dust. However, rather than just open an image bank, the filmmaker within saw potential in all that footage.
“I love seeing the towns and places that I know very well,” says Jolyon, “they have changed so dramatically, Byron, Noosa, many of those coastal towns. I love seeing the old fashion and the cars and the roads that have changed so dramatically.”
“And, of course, I enjoy the fact that the waves are exactly the same! Everything has changed, but the ocean itself, the waves, they’re the same as they always were.”

Between sourcing, saving, and digitising said footage—now well over a hundred hours’ worth—Jolyon has been whittling down the very best sections, arranging it into a running order, and collaborating with old mate Murray on how best to present it. The end result is,  a film with no narration or dialogue, which turns on a mix of Jolyon’s sequencing and Murray’s music. One pre-programmed, the other played live.
“I’ve always considered cinema to be a live experience,” says Dave Horsley of the Screen Wave International Film Festival, “It’s that shared moment where the lights go down, you’re in a crowd, and you have this ephemeral reaction to this thing that’s been created.”
The only difference now is that one element—the music—is being created in real-time.

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