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The Girl, The Wave, The Point - An island changed by surfing, told through the eyes of a local girl, BONNE GEA , now on the ASC Tour...
The Girl, The Wave, The Point - An island changed by surfing, told through the eyes of a local girl, BONNE GEA , now on the ASC Tour...
98 backers pledged £20,135 to help bring this project to life.

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NIAS - Point of Change (surfing documentary)

£20,135

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The Story

NIAS is a point of change. The story of an island transformed by surfing since the discovery of the perfect right-hand wave at Lagundri Bay in the 1970s ... as told through the eyes of a local girl, BONNE, who grew up at ‘the point’ and is now sponsored on the ASC Tour… 

This is a girl's view of 'The Point' - an inspirational story of a young girl from Nias who, without the adventurous spirit of those early surfing pioneers and surf tourists to inspire her, might have taken a very different path. Turning her back on the traditional path assigned to her, she blazed her own trail, becoming five times Indonesian Women's Surfing Champion and has claimed the Asian Women's Surfing Champion title too. 

Nias is an extraordinary place with a rich ancient culture that was changed by surfing forever. This spot, 'the Point' offers a unique window into human nature and cultural change, told to us by a local girl against a backdrop of a perfect right-hand wave that is one of the best waves in the world. 

Background 

Surfing as an activity could never have come into existence without the irrepressible free-spirited sense of individuality, freedom and defiance that is inherent in the people who are instinctively drawn to the sea… 

Interpreted as rebellion… since it’s origins, surfers were always seen as the outsiders of accepted society.

Back in the '70s, this thirst for adventure, autonomy, mirth and mayhem created a counter-culture searching for a new kind of utopia.

Without this lust for life, pioneers like Kevin Lovett, John Giesel, Peter Troy and Wendy Adcock might never have stumbled across such places as Lagundri Bay in Nias and the infamous reef break at the Point, with its perfect right-hand wave. 

Erik Aeder's first published photograph of Nias 1978
Erik Aeder's first published photograph of Nias 1978

Initially the locals were happy with the new friends of the island and their respectful approach to Surf Tourism. 

Although some were suspicious and perhaps fearful, others considered these new visitors to be lost kin, absent family returning, hopeful of them bringing a new prosperous era with them.

Through the ‘80s and ‘90s with the advent of crass consumerist surf culture and “the man” shamelessly cashing in on the ‘fad’, this culminated in the largest soft drink manufaturer in the world shooting a commercial in Nias…

A new breed of surf traveller descended on the point and with no idea about mod cons or even what the notion of tourism entailed, the locals were not ready for these new invaders…

For the locals of the megalithic island of Nias, steeped in a unique mix of ancient traditions with more recent Christian beliefs, this culture-clash stirred powerful, mixed emotions and inevitably, tensions rose. The older generation were not happy; the surfers had not brought the hoped-for gold that would have gone a long way to mitigating the newcomers’ corrupting ways – “dancing like ghosts on the water” – right where the islanders believed the spirits of their ancestors lived. Instead, the “bums” stayed as long as possible as cheaply as possible…

Meanwhile, the island’s youth were enthralled by these exciting strangers, soon falling for the thrill of riding the waves themselves. Despite the protestations of their elders, these passionate young people were soon choosing hanging out at the beach over the island’s traditional ways. And if that were not bad enough, surfing was not restricted to the island’s young men – young women were making these choices too… For the elders, it was unthinkable. 

It was from these beginnings that Bonne inherited her own sense of adventure and rebellion. 

A young Niasan girl with four brothers, before long, the thrill of playing in the waves turned into a burning passion for her own autonomy as she blazed her own path, turning her back on the role of wife / housekeeper designated for her – and leaving the island to follow her new calling.

Bonne went on to become five times Indonesian Women’s Surfing Champion, as well as claiming the title of Asian Women’s Surfing Champion.    

This is an inspirational story of a young girl from Nias who, without the adventurous spirit of those early surfing pioneers to inspire her, might have taken a very different path. In turn, young Indonesian women today are following in the wake of Bonne Gea herself – creating the next generation of surfer.

What are we doing?

We want to make a thirty minute documentary film that focuses on Bonne's story and provides an insight into the evolution of surfing on Nias island. 

We would like this film to be a stepping stone to a ninety minute creative documentary feature film further down the line. We hope this film will be part of this bigger, more ambitious film and we will research and gather assets for this whilst we are there. 

The island builds a fascinating and complex picture of people and place and is a a microcosm of change on a global scale - offering an insight into the clashing of cultures, raising questions about westernisation and reflecting on the notion of 'progress'. 


How We Made It This Far - 

We already have conducted interviews with people who have been integral to Nias’s surfing history - such as KEVIN LOVETT and WENDY ADCOCK, who were amongst the first people to find the wave at Lagundri

We have also spoken to academics such as BENTE WOLFF (Curator at National Museum of Denmark), ANDREW BEATTY (Professor of Anthropology at London Brunel University), ERIC AEDER, (the first surf photographer to take and publish a photograph of the wave in Nias in SURFER Magazine) and JESS PONTING (Professor of Surf Tourism at San Diego University) who is one of the founding members of the Center for Surf Research in San Diego, focused on inspiring change & creating new knowledge for a more sustainable future. We will also be working closely with the recently launched STOKE Certified initiative. 

Why we need your help to do this -

We would like to get back to Nias with Bonne and capture the island as it is now and through Bonne’s personal story gain insights into the history and culture of the island. We'd like to follow Bonne from her home now in Bali as she makes her way back to her island for a visit meeting up with her family and friends, talking to us about her life growing up on the point and the changes there since she was young. 

We’d like to interview the locals who have their own perspective of the development of Nias since the discovery of the wave in 1975 and will share their stories and opinions of the past, changes at the point and their hopes for the future of Nias. We think it's important to get the local's point of view to provide a balanced and interesting view of 'the Point'. 

The film has been a passion project so far and all the interviews and footage gathered has been self-funded. To fully realise the idea we need to raise funds to take the project to the next level and create a cinematic film with the highest production values. 

We would like this film to be a stepping stone to our documentary feature film. We hope this film will be part of this bigger more ambitious film and we will research and gather assets for this whilst we are there too. 

Where do the funds go? 

We need to raise £20,000.00 to get back to Nias to finish the interviews and film with the locals and Bonne. Becky and the crew will travel to the island and shoot intensely for two weeks focusing on the story and meeting Bonne's family & friends, interviewing the local characters, surfers and the elders on the island. We also want to visit the interior villages and get shots of the megalithic stones and the timeless villages.

We want to bring an Arri Amira camera to capture excellent high quality images of the island and we would like to bring a professional cinematographer and sound recordist with us. This particular camera is as good as the Arri Alexa producing the highest quality cinematic images but is more light-weight for shooting in documentary situations. 

We’d like to hire a surf videographer who will be an experienced water man or woman who is comfortable shooting in the water in big waves and we would like to shoot with a drone – particularly to capture the geography of the traditional village next to the surf set up at the point which should create some beautiful cinematic shots. We would also like to hire a good editor and graphics artist for post-production to tell our story with stunning visuals and a compelling narrative. 

Budget breakdown: 


£7000 Travel for team (director + cinematographer + sound recordist + Bonne + water videographer + kit)

£3000 Equipment – Arri Amira camera, lenses & lights 

£1000 Drone - Rental + travel

£1000 - Insurance for all the equipment & travel just in case. 

£2000 - Editor 

£1000 - Graphic artist & art direction

£2000 - Post-production costs – sound mix, music, grade 

£3000 - Kickstarter production costs - creating assets, printing postcards and posters, making screen prints, postage. 

Risks and challenges

Nias is an unpredictable place. It is difficult to travel there. There have been earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Nias has it's own sense of time.. We hope to be blessed and make this project come to life. Through local knowledge and friends on the ground we will have strong communication and be as prepared for all eventualities as we can be.

We plan to bring an Arri Amira camera, along with an experienced Cinematographer and Sound Recordist. We hope everyone can handle the heat (including our equipment) and that the travel goes smoothly. We will have full insurance for all the expensive equipment in case of problems. Again we will use reliable contacts to ensure we can travel as safely as we can.

There is also the question of whether we get lucky with the surf... Fingers crossed. We will have a surf videographer on standby in Bali for when the swell hits! :)

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.29

    STOKED! Thank you!! Hearty internet high-five! Warm glowing feeling inside that’s just like a little bit of stoke... You'll get regular updates from the project and lots of Nias love will keep coming at you.

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    Same as above - regular updates from the project.

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    Exclusive artwork to your inbox. Perfect for a desktop wallpaper or Iphone/Ipad screensaver.

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    Same as above updates + exclusive artwork to your inbox). Perfect for a desktop wallpaper or Iphone/Ipad screensaver.

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    A limited edition vintage NIAS postcard posted from Nias island the old fashioned way (by post) to your door.

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    Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door. + Digital download of the film on its release.
    PLUS a BILLABONG T-Shirt!!!

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    Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door.

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    Exclusive poster print.

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    Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews.

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    Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door. + Exclusive poster print. + Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews + NUTZ Goodie Bag!

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    Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door.

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    Fair trade Nias wood carving, handmade by a talented local Nias craftsman.

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    Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door.

    +

    Exclusive poster print.

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    Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews.

    Exclusive Limited Edition NIAS T-Shirt

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    Pledge £120 or more About $155

    Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door. Exclusive poster print.

    +

    Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews.

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    Exclusive Limited Edition NIAS Screen print.

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    All of the above + Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door. Exclusive poster print.

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    Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews.
    Exclusive Limited Edition NIAS Screen print.

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    Special Thanks credit + surf session with Bonne in Bali + Invite to our premiere and after party (in either UK / Bali or Nias - pledger must pay for their own travel & accommodation).

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    All of the above + Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door. Exclusive poster print.

    +

    Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews.
    Exclusive Limited Edition NIAS Screen print.

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    Surf session with Bonne in Bali or Nias + Invite to our premiere and after party (in either UK / Bali or Nias - pledger must pay for their own travel & accommodation).

    +

    Associate Producer credit.

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About $6,468

    All of the above + Updates, exclusive artwork to your inbox, vintage NIAS postcard, posted to your door. Exclusive poster print.

    +

    Digital download of the film on its release & extra Behind the Scenes clips and interviews.
    Exclusive Limited Edition NIAS Screen print.

    +

    Surf session with Bonne in Bali + Invite to our premiere and after party (in either UK / Bali or Nias - pledger must pay for their own travel & accommodation).

    +

    Executive Producer credit.

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Funding period

- (29 days)