A documentary film about one man's quest to catch the only German wave before the ship that produces it is gone forever.
THE STORY OF SURF BERLIN: In a time when almost every phenomena in the western world is documented; one perfect wave, in a land without an ocean, has been left un-documented. Although breaking in nature, and appearing real, this rare German wave is a beautiful mistake of man-meets-nature: its head-high celestial curve is formed by a giant ship passing by a shallow Baltic harbor sandbar just two hours north of downtown Berlin. However, this unusual wave is almost impossible to catch, breaking big enough to surf about once a week, if that. And like many good things in life, the wave is ill-fated. The 30 year old ship that spawns this beautiful accident, will be replaced soon by a new ship that most likely won't make a wave. Surf Berlin is a documentary film about one man on a winter-long quest to document a historic ride on this lone German wave before it, and the ship that creates it, are gone forever.
THE FILM STYLE: A slow-narrative visual-aural experience, Surf Berlin tells the tale of a lone man set out on what he thought to be "a simple task of surfing a single wave," yet he soon realizes it is anything but that. The surfer's harmless idea turns into a kind of spiritual monster, enslaving him to his own obsession and stubbornness. Months pass tired, distressed, and unsuccessful; he finds himself stuck in a repetitive nightmarish life of failure. Long takes, dreamlike music, and personal narrations document a life spiraling out of control. In a film blurring the line between documentary and feature, the wave is his only escape: escape from a reality that has become deeply confused with his dream world.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT, AND WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT: We've taken this project as far as we can on our own, yet to keep this art house documentary independent, which comes with it a freedom to produce it exactly how we want, we come to you, our friends and fans, for support. The hard part is over - the wave has been surfed and documented (see below video for a tease). Yet, there's still a long way to go before the film is transformed into the final 60 minute feature. The first step will be getting the final video footage needed to tell this tale.
Shortly after Ira Mowen (Director & surfer in the film) first witnessed the wave, he emailed the company owning the ship to learn more about the vessel, its schedule, and history. Unexpectedly the response would change the course of this once simple project with a date only four months in the future for the ship's replacement. It would be a race against the clock to try to catch the wave. With little time left, it was impossible to find immediate funding, or to put together a proper production crew. Ira took it upon himself to produce the film, as well as be the one trying to catch the wave.
Catching it turned out to be WAY more difficult than expected. With no other surfers to observe, or previous documentation to learn from, Ira's first trips out to the spot were all about learning the many variables to catching the wave. He learned how the varying speed of the ship affected the wave, what wind conditions were ideal, the right triangulation for where to wait for the wave, and the type of wave to expect from an unusually flat sandbar absent of sculpting ocean swells.
After this important research period, Ira was met each day he paddled out by at least one skilled cameraman. The most important thing was to capture a beautifully composed long take of Ira's ride on the wave. Everything else was secondary and thus not always documented.
There were a handful of moments pivotal to the story that occurred while the camera wasn't rolling. These new clips will fill in gaps left from the spontaneous, under-staffed, and time stressed, production.
Your generous donations will pay for hiring cameramen, a sound guy, a photographer, transportation, renting equipment, producing an original soundtrack, getting rights to music, sound recording, sound designing, color editing, finding & hiring an experienced film editor to finalize the film, assistant editor, creating the film credits, subtitles, etc.
The schedule for post-production:
- January, February & March: Finish filming
- March & April: Prepare footage for editing, rough draft edit
- April, May & June: Edit film, produce credits, animations, etc.
- June: Film Ira's dream sequence in foggy Santa Cruz
- July & August: Score soundtrack, edit film sound & color
- September: Finalize film, print film, & send to film festivals
- September & October: Produce backer rewards
- November & December: Send backer rewards & premiere film in Berlin
Which brings us to the next category....
Your support to our fundraiser will first and foremost make it possible for us to finish the film, but it will also be your unique chance to get some very special Surf Berlin thank-you-goodies. Below is a list of bonus gifts we'll add on top of the Reward you select depending on the amount:
- Every person donating $25 or more will be gifted a full HD download of the film & soundtrack.
- Every person donating $50 or more will be gifted the film & soundtrack on disc (Blu-ray, DVD, VHS & CD) plus receive everything 10 days before its official release.
Every person donating $75 or more will be gifted their name in the actual credits of the film under SPECIAL THANKS.
Every person donating $100 or more will be gifted the Surf Berlin coffee table book and one ticket to the premiere.
- Every person donating $1000 or more will get one of every single Reward.
*Free shipping to Germany and the U.S.A.
THE BOOK + film ($50):
Designed by haw-lin artist Nathan Cowen, the Surf Berlin coffee table book features 300 off-set printed pages of photographs, video stills, scans from Ira's journal, and many pictures from behind-the-scenes - making this the perfect companion to the film. A Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads.
The album, pressed in black vinyl, and over one hour in length, will feature original music from such musicians as Palmbomen, Fenster, Daniel Merrill, and Leyland Kirby to name a few. Click here to hear a few sample tracks, or watch any of the Surf Berlin videos for a taste. A Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads.
THE T-SHIRTS + film ($50):
The T-shirts will be manufactured at Groceries Apparel in L.A. out of 50% Post-Consumer recycled plastic & 50% Organic Cotton Jersey. They have no tags, and because of the "plastic" are quite possibly the fluffiest, most comfortable shirts in the world, not to mention made by a good company. The shirts feature sketches Ira made in his journal during his quest. Unisex sizes XS-XL available. A Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads.
THE SWEATSHIRT + film ($75):
The sweatshirt features the “Surfer” sketch inverted on black and like every donation above $50, this puppy comes with a Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS of the film and CD soundtrack, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads.
THE HUGE PRINT + film ($50):
The Surf Berlin poster (Black & white, A1 paper size, 59.4 x 84.1cm, 23.4 x 33.1 inches). Choose the huge poster, or if you like smaller things you have the option to receive 10 postcard stickers of the same image. A Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads.
THE SILK-SCREEN PRINT + book & film ($200):
The two tone silk-screen print poster (A3, 29.7cm x 42.0cm, 11x17). Printed by hand with all natural paints in San Francisco by Colpa Press. This limited run of 50 copies will be numbered. Also included is the book plus the Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS copy of the film and CD soundtrack, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads, and your name in the credits of the film under SPECIAL THANKS!
THE MUSEUM PRINT + book & film ($200):
The poster image of Ira and the ship printed as a museum quality photographic C-print (28 x 43cm, 11 x 17in). The frame will be in the same style as the thin black wooden Polaroid frames with a white mat. Also included is a Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads, and your name in the credits of the film under SPECIAL THANKS!
THE POLAROIDS + book & film ($400):
Own a piece of surf history with an original Surf Berlin Polaroid triptych. Selection goes on a "first come, first serve" basis depending on when you backed our Kickstarter. The book plus the Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS copy of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads, and your name in the credits of the film under SPECIAL THANKS!
See more polaroid examples here: http://www.surfberlin.com/polaroid
SURFMAT + book & film ($300):
Hand-made in California; The legend Paul Gross has generously offered to support our project by making a limited run of signed & numbered Surf Berlin surfmats. Choose from any of the 4th Gear Flyer styles on his website. Perfect for traveling (weighing almost nothing), and great for ocean beginners! Watch a nice film about how to surfmat here. The book plus the Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS copy of the film and CD soundtrack are included, as well as the film & soundtrack downloads, and your name in the credits of the film under SPECIAL THANKS!
SURF-SKATE-BOARD w/ BOARD BAG + book & film ($300):
*Best viewed in full screen mode
Surf Berlin - The Quest for the Last German Wave will premiere in December 2015 in Berlin, followed by London, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and L.A.. Tickets to the premieres are given to everyone Pledging $75 or more. Director Ira Mowen will conclude each screening with a question & answer session.
YOU MADE IT TO THE END!
Risks and challenges
The main challenge we see for Surf Berlin's future would be getting everything finished on schedule. You never know what unexpected obstacles might present themselves around the bend. We promise to do our best to keep a steady post-production pace, because, like you, we really want to see this film in it's entirety!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)