Desert Surf Films was a program curated by Executive Director Susan Sutton – on Friday and Saturday, August 28-29, in the Ballroom Marfa courtyard. Desert Surf Films included two visionary films from the early ’70s, Alby Falzon and David Elfick’s Morning of the Earth and Elfick’s Crystal Voyager, along with shorts from Sam Falls and Ian Lewis. The program was a recognition of these classic features’ place in the history of international avant-garde cinema, and as near-perfect encapsulations of the transcendent surfing experience.
Daniel Chamberlin of Marfa Public Radio’s Inter-Dimensional Music program played dolphin-themed New Age, surf-folk and Balearic psychedelia before and after the screenings.
The schedule for Desert Surf Films was as follows:
Friday, August 28
Morning of the Earth
The classic 1971 surf film by Alby Falzon and David Elfick. Presented on 16mm.
Endless Bummer (2009)
A short film by Sam Falls and Joe Zorrilla.
Saturday, August 29
The epic 1973 Australian surf film, directed by David Elfick, and filmed, written and narrated by surfer, photographer and filmmaker George Greenough.
The Adventures of NASASA (2015)
A short film by Ian Lewis.
This event was free and open to the public.
Ballroom Marfa unveiled Stay Golden, a Desert Surf Films ‘zine, which featured a collection of artwork, prose, poetry and other surf-informed ephemera. The ‘zine was designed and edited by Hilary duPont, Liz Janoff and Ian Lewis. It included contributions from Joshua Edwards, Sam Falls, Rae Anna Hample, Nicki Ittner, Tim Johnson, Eileen Myles, Caitlin Murray, Brandon Shimoda, and more.
From Sutton’s introduction in Stay Golden:
These films capture a moment when both surf and film technology were changing. New camera techniques paired with faster, sharper surfing styles were able to successfully convey the new and experimental nature of surfing through film. George Greenough, the brilliant surfer, inventor, and engineer who is the subject of Crystal Voyager, says in the film “You might be in there for a few seconds but what goes on in your head lasts for hours.” The way this temporal suspension is captured by the non-linear editing styles, Greenough’s breakthrough filming of the inside of a wave, and forays into the psychedelic on the shore, all communicate the ephemeral experience of riding the waves.
The Desert Surf Film program has been made possible by the Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees and Ballroom Marfa members.
Endless thanks to Hilary duPont, Liz Janoff, and Ian Lewis.
Morning of the Earth courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Special thanks to Adam Bork, Keith Abrahamsson, Anthology Recordings, Rachel Barnhart, Britney Bass, Joe Cashiola, Daniel Chamberlin, CineMarfa, the Crowley Theater, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, JD DiFabbio, Hilary duPont, David Elfick, Sam Falls, Albert Falzon, David Fenster, Food Shark, George Greenough, Chris Hillen, Hannah Hoffman, David Hollander, Liz Janoff, Ian Lewis, Cory Lovell, Marfa Public Radio, Kathryn McLeod, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Jake Pepper, Gory Smelley, Diana Thater, Nancy Tovar, Harold “Wardie” Ward, Joe Zorrilla, and all of our friends and collaborators.