2018 is shaping up to be a stellar year for surf movies –

and what’s really noticeable is the number of female focussed films, from both sides of lense, coming to the fore – a fact reflected in the line up at this year’s international London Surf / Film Festival hosted 10th – 13th October. We caught up with LS/FF festival director Demi Taylor to find out more. Top photo: Imani Wilmot – The Sea Empowers

As a surfer, a filmmaker and festival director, this year has been really exciting, seeing the growth in the number of outstanding films submitted by or featuring incredible female talent. 

I fell into surfing as Lisa Andersen was walking away with her fourth world title, she for me was the embodiment of the ‘girl power movement’ of the time. What an icon – the face of the first women’s surf brand, she was (the first woman) on the cover of Surfer Magazine, 6 x Surfer of the Year. She was strong, she was beautiful, she absolutely charged and her combination of style, power, drive and attitude ushered in a new framing for not just female surfing but for youth culture.

So imagine my thrill in bringing to the UK the Premiere of Trouble: the Lisa Andersen Story! As a teenager Lisa ran away from home leaving only a note behind that read, “Going to California to become world surfing champion.” She more than delivered on that promise. The film is an inspiring and insightful documentary that lifts the curtain on the life of a truly enigmatic icon. Surf is a beautiful backdrop but the real story is the epic poem of her life. It is the struggles, abuse, pain and joy. It is the story of a modern, self-made woman screening on Saturday 13th October, not to be missed!

From explorative films like A Lunar Cycle featuring Irish surfer Easkey Britton to Paige, following XXL charger Paige Alms as she prepares mentally and physically for a season of taking on epic big waves at Jaws, and Generations exploring the lives of Crystal Thornburg-Homcy and Leah Dawson and friends, this year’s LS/FF is a celebration of our rich and diverse line up. I’m stoked on the programme we’ve curated, and here are some of my female focused highlights:

Surfing Empowers

We have two premieres that look at the roles women play in society and how surfing and the ocean can help to motivate and inspire. We are super excited to be hosting the world premiere of The Sea Empowers, Dir. UK filmmakers Lucy Jane and Joya Berrow. Their movie looks at the tough conditions women often face in Jamaica’s patriarchal culture and how a small group of female surfers, guided by water woman Imani Wilmot, are finding friendship and empowerment through a love of the ocean. On the other side of the coin, Iceland has been consistently voted the number one country for gender equality. A Land Shaped by Women fuses surfing isolated point breaks and snowboarding though vast powder fields with insight from some of the women who have helped forge Icelandic culture.

Priboi – There’s cold and then there’s surfing in Siberia! This visually arresting masterpiece, covers the vastness of the Russian continent, home to some 37,000 km of coastline, where a community – including female surfers – plough though knee deep snow and blizzards to take on remote beaches that break beneath erupting volcanoes. This is a must see surf exploration.

In EOS, surfer, artist and style icon Kassia Meador works with filmmaker Bruce Muller to craft a film that threads the feathering highline between surf movie and artwork, shot with breath taking cinematography by the late Sonny Miller, sculpted around an epic soundscape.

It’s Not All About Waves our favourite surf adventurer Kepa Acero joins up with photographer Eva Diaz and head to Africa in search of a mysto-right hand point break, but discover so much more…. Kepa and Eva will be at the premiere talking about their quest.

Emocean is a visually beautiful and uplifting feature exploring the impact that surfing and the ocean has on a raft of characters, from icons to grommets and everyone in between. Including the likes of WSL charger Bronte MacAulay, this is a cinematic exploration of our complex relationship with the ocean.

London Surf Film Festival is hosted 10 – 13 October 2018 at the iconic Regent Street Cinema, bringing to the UK a handpicked line up representing the pinnacle of contemporary surfing – documentaries to inspire, travelogues to stir up the wanderlust and of course some of the most mind blowing surfing accompanied by Q+A’s and audiences with heroes and icons of the surf and screen.

Check out the full schedule here.