When you know no boundaries, there’s nothing to stop you from thinking, doing and creating things that fire up your imagination. John John Florence has made a name for himself by reinventing surfing with his inhuman ability on a wave. So it’s only normal he takes that same boundary defying attitude to create his new film View From a Blue Moon.
Most recent surf films were made in a home video style, mimicking the unscripted, a montage of high performance surf and lifestyle footage that seemed abruptly tacked together to express an artistic quality. But today, with the exception of great surfing, they seem repetitive and monotonous.
View From a Blue Moon shatters our expectations of a typical surf film. It has a non-scripted charm of a home video, recording friends going surfing. But it also has a cinematographic style that begs for an IMAX environment. There’s a personable charm to it. There’s a hypnotic haze about it. And some heavy duty production technology chops that elevate some insane surfing to a larger than life arena.
Here’s an attempt at breaking down the magic formula:
Director Blake Kueny has been on an adventure with JJF for a few years now. Last year, their film Enjoy combined radical surfing with off beat elements like music from a 1940s star, Josephine Baker and the lullaby-esque lilt of silent films. With View from a Blue Moon, the talented director pushes his distinct cinematography up a few notches. He drops us into reflective, inward moments and swoops us up into panoramic shots to create a surreal feeling of traveling both inward and outward at the same time. The patch work of hollow, echoing sound bites give it a break taking dimension. And through it all, he captures JJ doing what he does best. It’s an immersive color saturated adventure through tropics, deserts and the ocean, one that lingers on for long after it has been seen.
These guys know a thing or two when it comes to turning unachievable visions into reality. They’ve been utilizing cutting-edge production technologies to produce content for brands like Red Bull Media House and National Geographic. They’ve helped make some of JJF’s favorite sport films like Art of Flight and That’s It, That’s All. So, it’s no wonder this match is one that’s made in heaven. View from a Blue Moon is the first surf film that’s ever been shot in 4K, an immersive, emotional entertainment experience that film experts strongly believe in. They say it brings pin sharpness and cinematic quality to their work, bursting with life-like detail and rich, vivid color. To achieve the visionary cinematography, the team worked with Red Dragon and Phantom 4k cameras supported by stabilizing platforms like Movi and Shotover. What that really boils down is the use of state of the art equipment, helicopters, jet skis and big camera gear that allowed for high velocity cinematography in the most flexible, daring ways.
JOHN JOHN FLORENCE
This freak has single-handedly changed the sport of surfing with his radical gravity defying moves that no one will ever get tired of watching. He carries that same attitude to film making along with co-conspirators like Keuny. In addition to JJF’s 540 airs, sound-enhanced razor sharp cut backs and his goofy, mellow attitude, the film also promises footage from Florence brothers, Bruce Irons, Albee Layer, Matt Meola, Jordy Smith, Filipe Toledo and more. What may have started out as a surf documentary quickly became something else. There were teams hovering on the beach, jet skis racing in the water and helicopters circling in the air to get that perfect shot. JJF tells Men’s Journal, there was a point where he thought, “Oh, I don’t want to be this guy, doing stuff like this.” But he persevered with his vision of showing surfing in a different light, and the results speak for itself.
Perhaps it would’ve never been possible if JJF’s faithful sponsors didn’t believe in the dream itself. Hurley, Monster, Nixon, Flexfit, Stance and Spy came together to fund the movie. They are giving concrete shape to John John’s dream, knowing that it will eventually help them receive accolades as well. It’s a win-win formula and one more example of subtle brand partnerships that are received well by a no nonsense audience.
Either way, the next generation of surf films has arrived and are taking both surfers and non-surfers by storm. For surfers, this epic film features surf skills we all dream of in the most spectacular places on the planet. But its intimate quality also reminds us that surfing is a personal experience and an attitude to life itself. And for non-surfers? This Hollywood style cinematic experience is bound to be an inspiring invitation into our world of stoke.
View From A Blue Moon will be releasing this winter. Until then, we can go back to our lives and start counting it down in anticipation.