It was the whole creative process that was quite challenging for me.
Is there a story you can share about any moments, challenges or obstacles that presented themselves?
The week in Mexico with Corky Carroll, Mike Doyle, Mickey Munoz, and all of the six guys from New Jersey, was just such an amazing group of people to bring together...These guys are just great at what they do and hysterical to be around, and it felt like a once in a life time experience, and on top of that we were filming it.
I noticed a lack of female surfers in the film. Any particular reason why?
Well, you know, the story is about these six men. It’s not gender specific. It’s really about these six guys.
There’s certainly some legendary female surfers but they just did not cross my path. It really was trying to tie in these legendary surfers. They weren’t just in there because they’re great surfers and they had great stories. They really intersected with these guys. I mean, they came to New Jersey and surfed. Shaun Tomson surfed in the Pro Contest at Seaside Heights that Gregg and a couple of other guys sponsored. So there was a reason for them to be in. I never crossed a path of any woman surfer who had come and surfed in the pro contest back then.
"A Life Outside", what is the title referring to?
You’re the first person to ask me that (laughs). The word “outside” in surfing means something. There’s a lot of layers to it and that’s why I thought it was a perfect title. So when you’re surfing you’re either inside the break or outside the break, and you certainly don’t ever want to be caught inside because that’s where waves tumble upon you. Also, the way these guys grew up [surfing] they were a counter-culture. They were outside of what was considered the norm.
So the word “outside” just really struck a chord with me with surfing, with who these guys were. Back then they were, you know, kind of looked down upon.
There will be people that will say "ah this documentary is just like every other surfer documentary I have seen." How is this film different than anything we have previously seen?
I don’t know how much has been done regarding east coast surfing. I know that there’s certainly films that come from the east coast, but not necessarily from that era, or from guys at this age that started way back then.
I knew early on, in starting the production, that the town, the place where they’re from, was a character in the story as much as they are...That they were from this kind of strange place. I think it’s unique to focus on the place and the history of the place. Casino Pier, is to me, a character in its own as well. It was where the waves were.
I think it’s more personal than the other stories I’ve seen. These are every day guys. They weren’t pro surfers. This is like the real every day man.
Without revealing the ending, why did you decide to end your film the way you did?
It became very clear to me that things are gonna go on, life goes on, these guys are going on, the town is going on. New Jersey is going to continue going…I was working on the ending and it became very clear...how amazing it would be to have a ceremony to honor the loss of the pier. For the film, but also for them in real life, it was a time to honor, in a beautiful way, what they had lost...kind of looking forward.
How does it feel having completed your first feature film and being accepted into the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival?
It’s just the most wonderful feeling. I was jumping up and down when I got the news. It’s very validating to get accepted into a festival like this. You’re in your bubble for a couple of years of just focusing and getting the film finished. So when you finally send it out and getting a really great response, it’s just, I can’t tell you, there’s no better feeling than that really.
Catherine thank you so much for taking the time to speak with NewsChannel 3 and giving us an in depth look into your film.
Sure. My pleasure.
A Life Outside will play at the 29th Santa Barbara International on Saturday, February 1 at 11 a.m. and Monday, February 3 at 2 p.m. Both screenings will be at the Metro 4 Theater.
For ticket information and movie schedules visit www.sbiff.org