A Weekend in the City


Surfing Magazine takes a field trip to the New York Surf Film Festival

By Travis Ferré

Tyler Breuer stands in front of a packed theater. It's Friday night and he's about to drop the hammer on the festival and shift it into high gear. He's introducing The Drifter, one of over 35 films screened at the 2009 New York Surf Film Festival this year. But this is a big one. Opening night and they're bringing a banger from Taylor Steele to kick it off. You can hear empty cans of Pabst Blue ribbon rolling on the floor amid hoots and hollers coming from the eclectic NYC surf scene. You can hear the tub-thumping bass of the party going on one room over. But it's the lonely Rob Machado we're here to see tonight. Tyler makes a James Lipton reference and the crowd laughs. Tyler is a stoked dude. He wears an oversized sport coat, jeans and sandals. He's a likeable guy (and has a mean forehand hack, I came to find out).

The director of Epic: A Savage Journey Michael Mallen and your host for the evening Tyler Breur   Photo: Tom Carey

The Drifter cinemetograher Todd Heater and Rob Machado himself.   Photo: Tom Carey

Rob and Todd’s New York shoe fashions differed slightly.   Photo: Tom Carey

"We're very honored to have the opportunity to screen this film," Tyler says to the tune of more hoots. And then it's time. The lights go down. The films start. The film preceding The Drifter is a low budget, but hilarious flick called Epic: A Savage Journey by Michael Mallen -- one of those indie-films that are so obscure and off the wall you'll never see it unless it catches you at a festival or online, but deserves much more credit than it gets. See for yourself, but it's pretty damn funny http://www.asavagejourney.com/.

And that's one of the beauties of this festival. It gives movies like Mallen's a place to go right up against a big-budget blockbuster like The Drifter and -- as is often the case -- steal the show in the process.

Packed house of hooting surfers.   Photo: Tom Carey

After the screening, the party spills into the room next door where free beer and wine are tossed out. Filmmakers and surf dudes and girls all mingle among writers for The New York Times, the lead singer from MGMT and his model girlfriend. That's why New York is the perfect place for this festival. There's something for everyone and everyone is here, including us.

Over the weekend we managed to see the city. Grab pizza and a beer with the Drifter himself -- and that guy from MGMT (more on that tomorrow), and enjoy some very unique and interesting surf films that we'll have reviews for all week. If you think the surf film is in a bad way, then you'll be happy to hear that what we found in New York was very promising for all genres. That, and we saw just a few more scenes from Modern Collective too. And you already know how we feel about that film.