Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Desert Surf Films

28 Aug 201529 Aug 2015


Marfa, Texas

Film Series

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

Crystal Voyager

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. 

Surf Zine

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.


Listen to Tom Michael’s Desert Surf Films conversation with Susan Sutton, Daniel Chamberlin and filmmaker/surfer/’zine designer Ian Lewis for Marfa Public Radio on KRTS 93.5FM or via their online stream.


Poster for Desert Surf FIlms designed by Hilary duPont, Liz Janoff, and Ian Lewis.