Jack Coleman is a human surf-soul revivalist who has crafted another beautiful film showcasing the surf world's most vibrant figures. A true bohemian, Coleman has sacrificed society's ideals to live in a van and capture surfing in its intended state: as a form of high art and an inspiring spiritual endeavor. His cast of characters includes some of surfing's most prominent creators, including Ozzie Wright, Ford Archbold, Andrew Doheny, Alex Knost and many others.
XGames.com caught up with Coleman as he was slow dancing with libations on a nice sunny day in Newport Beach, Calif., to find out about his latest film, "Secret Sound Underground," which premieres Feb. 28 at La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, Calif.
XGames.com: Jack, how are you?
Jack Coleman: Oh, really good; things are starting to come together. The last year of my life has been dedicated to this project and I'm super excited about the idea that I spent a year making this and it's going to last for a really long time. I'm so excited and everything is going smooth; it's my fifth film, so I understand the process at this point.
You're done editing?
Yeah, everything's done; it was done maybe a week and a half ago. We turned everything in so we could get about 2,000 units made for our first run to sell in the States. After that, we will do another run; I'm hoping we sell around 5,000 copies, which is modest, but it's good for this digital world. I think people still dig DVDs, so I think there will be a lot of people trying to get a copy.
A hard copy makes it real and somehow more tangible.
Exactly. It's just like shooting film: It makes it real; it's something you can touch. I like how physical it is. Digital is just pixels or whatever; it's just not real. It's kinda weird.
So you don't just shoot digital and blow it out with filters?
No, all my films are on film; I had one digital shot in a film because it was a time lapse. I shoot almost predominantly Super 8 with some 16 mm.
It seems like you are filming with an eclectic cast of characters; how did you choose who to film with?
[Laughs.] Really, it seems like they chose me. I know the type of person I like to watch when I'm watching surf footage and it's always the guys that are interesting out of the water too. They're rad in the water, but also have something going on outside of the water other than just sit-ups, push-ups and competing. It's guys I hang out with, and they are just part of it and are stoked on what I'm doing too.
I try to present a different perspective when making surf movies; to me, it's not a sport, it's an activity that we do, and I relate with the type of surfers who have either a spiritual connection with it or take a more lighthearted, fun approach. In general they all really love surfing as much as I do, and I'm stoked on it and they are my favorite surfers.
Is it safe to say Muscle Milk doesn't sponsor this film?
[Laughs.] It's very safe to say that.
Does a surfer's personality shine though in their surfing?
Absolutely. I was doing a little screening with a friend who is a goofy-footer, and Ozzie Wright's part came on ... he has the last section even though he's not necessarily the star of the movie, but he's such a rad guy that I wanted to start my movie with Ozzie and end my movie with Ozzie. He's so amazing on land; he is super nice, creative and unique, and [that] completely translates into the way he surfs. He has so much fun and does things that aren't normal, like doing 12-foot airs into one foot of water; he's on another level. All their personalities translate into how they surf.
Does this film have a lot of lifestyle or is it heavy on the action?
It's definitely a surf film. When I watched surf movies when I was a kid and super stoked on surfing, I wanted to see the guys I liked actually surfing so I could see their technique, and this one is mostly surf based.
I like to add a little humor and [a] little bit of darkness, and I shot the culture of the locations that I traveled to. I think it's a good balance, but there's a lot of performance, so people will watch it and want to go surfing; it's not like a slow-moving documentary.
I try to incorporate each surfer's art, music and personality into each segment, though. It's almost like a little music video for each surfer. Each one tells its own story.
I heard you live a pretty bohemian lifestyle; are you living out of your car?
[Laughs.] Yeah, right now; I've been in California since November and before that I was in Indonesia for three months making this movie. So I'm here in California editing this film, sleeping in my truck, and I have an editing bay set up in a shed at Ford [Archbold]'s house in Newport Beach. I've given up having a domestic life to make this movie, and it's been pretty nomadic. I gave all my stuff away and got a storage unit, so I'm pretty much on a long camping trip. I gave up having a house, a girlfriend and partying so I could go shoot surf movies on film.