Outside of surf, a film is only considered “foreign” by the folks that hold the measuring stick. Those very folks speak English and that measuring stick stays in Hollywood, California. Subtitles?…that’s foreign. Which is kinda weird since English definitely isn’t the widest spoken language in the world. It’s the third, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Because there isn’t really a Hollywood in the surf world where all the studios produce the films that cost over $100M bucks to make…there’s no such thing as “foreign surf film.”
‘The fuck’s my point?
Point is, a young director down in Brazil by the name of Gabriel Novis just premiered a film called Sorria with an all-Brazilian cast (Yago Dora, Filipe Toledo, Caio Ibelli and many more…) that might be the first surf film to rival the likes of Steele’s, Neville’s or Joe G.’s. In terms of high performance surfing with, well…a point. Sorria actually screened during the US Open in HB, but in case you missed that (because we know you did), it will screen again soon and sell Friday. Director Gabriel Novis tells us about this lovely new moving picture… –Beau Flemister
SURFING: What does “Sorria” mean and what is this film about?
Gabriel Novis: Sorria means smile in Portuguese and the movie is a crazy attempt to inspire people and let them know that they should always smile no matter what and enjoy life because everything happens really fast. So don’t take yourself so seriously…kinda cheesy, but whatever [laughs]. I wrote some stuff in the film with Cornelia Grimsmo [Norwegian model/actress] and we tried to explain that idea of smiling in a different way.
Right on, I like it. How long have you been filming for Sorria?
Me and a super crazy guy that shoots in the water named Erick Proost have been working on that thing for a year and a half.
Who are your influences in filmmaking surf-wise and who are your influences outside of surf?
My dad used to collect surf films so I have watched pretty much everything out there. When I was young my favorite films were the Volcom and the …Lost ones like: 156 Tricks by Ozzie Wright, Creepy Fingers, The Decline and Taylor Steele’s films (Campaign, etc.) Now I’ve been watching a lot of Kai Neville’s stuff but Joe G. is the man. Strange Rumblings in Shangri-la is my favorite surf film right now. Outside of surfing I love all of Wes Anderson’s films but I am also really interested in watching everything Tim Burton and Alejandro González Iñárritu create. My favorite film of all time, though, is probably Apocalypse Now.
So are you, like, the Kai Neville of Brazil?
I hope I am the Gabriel Novis from Brazil [laughs] but I will take this as a compliment because I love his work.
When filming super talented guys like Yago Dora and Filipe Toledo how do you bring their personalities out? That can be a challenge in a lot of surf movies.
Yago and Filipe are obviously two very different guys but they are also Brazilian and I think that this factor makes them kind of similar at the same time. Filipe is a super chill guy but since I have known Yago for longer — and we have traveled together a few times — I think it was easier for me to have access to him and create something. We also like the same kind of stuff, which makes it easier for him to understand what I mean when I am trying to come up with some weird idea.
Was it hard to film with a lot of the Brazilian surfers; they seem like they could be very busy with the CT and QS.
Yeah, that is one of the reasons why me and Erick Proost (who also shot with me) took so long to get the movie done. We had to wait for the guys to be available for the trips and they don’t stop traveling. There were lots of trips that didn’t happen because surfers wouldn’t have time to join us.
How long have you been making films? Is this your first one?
I have been working with surf films for a while, but most of them are short films and web clips. I think that this is the first time I came up with something that took this long.
How will you get the film exposure; will you do a tour with Sorria? What’s that look like in Brazil?
Carver Skateboards organized a super fun party during the US Open to premiere the film in California and all of the surfers came which was really cool. Now we will have a premiere in L.A. August 5th at store called Lone Wolfs in Venice and then we will do a few premieres in Brazil. After that, the movie will be sent to surf film festivals all over the world. I hope that I can make it to a few of those premieres and screenings.
Do you plan on working with non-Brazilians in the future? If so, who would you like to shoot with?
Yeah, I do. There are a few guys that would be fun to shoot with. I wanna make a new project with young surfers but it would be really fun to shoot a session together with Dane Reynolds, Yago, Noa Deane and Icaro Rodrigues. Icaro is insane!
Awesome. Are surf films profitable in Brazil?
Back in the day there were some really cool surf films happening in Brazil. Rafael Mellin, Pablo Aguiar, Loic Wirth and a few other guys were making the difference there, but I feel like now it’s kind of dead. I hope that Sorria will get the production of surf films in the country more active.
When and where can people see Sorria if they miss the live premieres?
Sorria is now available for pre-order on Vimeo On Demand. It will be out for people to purchase August 5th (this Friday) and you can choose to either rent it for a day or buy it online to watch as many times as you want. It would be cool if people buy it though so I can buy gluten free food and exotic drinks and start making my next project.
Watch the trailer to Gabriel’s new film “Sorria”, right here: