June 16th Proximity Premiere with Taylor Steele

                                                               Photo: Christian Oehmke

By Ashley Brooks

New Smyrna Beach, FL – Five years ago, the Florida Surf Film Festival was just an idea still in formulation, as friends Kevin Miller and John Brooks decided to show a Taylor Steele film at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) to “just see what would happen”. Quite a lot has happened since that first showing, with things coming full circle at Friday night’s sold out Southeast US premiere of Taylor Steele’s newest film, Proximity, with Taylor himself in attendance.  Little did Kevin and John know with that first screening just 5 short years ago, they’d be creating an outpost of sorts for our “small, but big surf community,” as local surfer Mike Simon put it, to host both world-renowned surfers and surf filmmakers alike.

After the showing of Proximity, John and Taylor sat down for a live Q&A, both a surreal moment for John, as well as for many in the crowd. John started the interview by saying that, “Taylor is the best farmer I know. He plants this seed, and as it sprouts and grows, it becomes the stoke for all of us. Taylor is a farmer of stoke.” This drew a laugh from the crowd and a grin from Taylor, who went on to explain that for him, filmmaking is actually a somewhat selfish pursuit, with his projects tending to reflect what is relevant in his own life and relationship to surfing. Taylor shared that his childhood had been centered around surfing and making short films of his buddies, and how that progressed to the early 90’s Momentum, a punk rock anthem filled barrage of short boarding clips smashed together, because at the time that was what he was into, and also what was available to him. He talked of not having the right equipment, and not being able to catch the eye or hold the attention of his then idols Tom Curren, Martin Potter, and Occy, so instead of giving up, he simply used the camera equipment he had and started making short films of these two groms, Rob Machado and Kelly Slater. What would come after that, the amazing careers of all three men, we all well know, and Taylor talked about the fact that just starting with what he had and trying to find the confidence to be different is something that he’s extremely passionate about.

Taylor’s newest film, Proximity, is again a full circle moment from his first film Momentum, with the focus of Proximity being about time and how we live our lives, set against the backdrop of pairings of some of surfing’s most iconic figures. With three of the four duos, there is a “passing the torch” feel, with 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater traveling with the current World Champ John John Florence in the Marshall Islands, famous competitor turned free-surfer Rob Machado with anti-competitor Craig Anderson in Japan and Chile, and big wave legend Shane Dorian with up and coming big wave surfer Albee Layer slab hunting through Scotland. The fourth duo shows more of a yin/yang of the surfing culture, pairing fierce female competitor Steph Gilmore with free surfer/activist Dave Rastovich at Mexico’s long point breaks.. The film seems to say that there are many paths to being a surfer, any of which can be amazing and fulfilling, but it’s up to us how we spend our time, and ultimately our lives, both in and out of the water.

If you missed out on Friday night’s screening, there will be another showing in Orlando at The Abbey on Friday, June 30th, and in Cocoa Beach, FL on Friday, July 7th. Doors open at 6pm, movies start at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online here: ORLANDO and COCOA BEACH



Florida Surf Film Festival Is Coming to Cocoa Beach July 7th

Cocoa Beach, FL – Florida Surf Film Festival, presented by Monster Energy, is thrilled to announce that on July 7, 2017, Proximity and Pedro’s Bay will screen with other short films as part of the 2nd Quarterly Screening Series of the 2017 festival year.  Doors will open at 6PM and movies will begin at 7PM.  Raffles at intermission and giveaways at the door will be part of the fun.  Our venue, Surfside Playhouse, located at 301 Ramp Rd., Cocoa Beach, will be offering beverages, including beer and wine for cash.

Purchase Tickets Here!

Pedro’s Bay is a new film from Eddie Obrand and the folks from Vissla starring Eric Geiselman and Cam Richards, a short documentary of 27 minutes, and will begin at 7PM with A Road Through Galicia and A Guide to Getting Girls before the feature presentation.

Proximity will be screened at 9PM, a film that pairs surfing’s living legends with today’s most progressive young surfers, including Floridian Albee Layer. The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Taylor Steele, produced by Teton Gravity Research (TGR) in association with Garage Productions. Proximity will explore the delicate relationship between people, time, and place, showcasing surfing icons from different generations in diverse locations around the world.

Scott Hulet Joins Florida Surf Film Festival Feature Documentary Jury

New Smyrna Beach, FL – We are thrilled to announce the addition of Scott Hulet to the Florida Surf Film Festival feature documentary film jury.  He is the worst returner of emails on the planet, and thank the watery gods for that.  He’s trying to live a life outside of our tiresome requests to be part of, granted access to the finest publication in our sport.  May he always be returning emails from a shitty Baja wifi connection…  We love you, Scott.

With 25 years in the pit, Scott Hulet is the longest-serving chief editor in the history of surf magazines. Originally from the borderlands of San Diego, Hulet spends his days helming The Surfer’s Journal, fishing and surfing off southern California and Mexico, and bouncing a lovely new granddaughter on his knee.


Taylor Steele Will Attend Florida Premiere of Proximity

New Smyrna Beach, FL – I met Taylor Steele at the New York Surf Film Festival in 2012 in Brooklyn…  This is how it went down:

Kevin:  Hey Taylor, my name is Kevin Miller.  Nice to meet you.

Taylor:  Hi Kevin, nice to meet you.  (Grabbing a beverage off the bar)

Kevin:  I’m so happy I got to introduce myself.  I’m starting this little surf film festival in Florida, and I would love to check out your new flick, but it’s sold out.  (Referring to This Time Tomorrow).

Taylor:  You want me to find you a ticket?  I can figure it out.  (HE LITERALLY JUST MET ME, AND HE’S OFFERING TO FIND ME A TICKET).

Kevin:  No, no.  That’s okay.  I will see it soon enough.  Can I reach out…

Taylor:  Here’s my email.  Send me a note, and we’ll figure it out.

Kevin:  Thank you!  That’d be great.

It was basically at this point that I finally decided to pull the trigger on this festival.  He couldn’t have been nicer.  I was a little stunned for obvious reasons, and nervous, and it was as if I was included.  I walked around the whole night telling strangers that I just met Taylor Steele.  I was on cloud nine.

Almost six years later, and after screening This Time Tomorrow and Missing, I’m so happy to have Taylor coming to Atlantic Center for the Arts on June 16th to present his new work.  Florida Surf Film Festival, presented by Monster Energy, will be screening Proximity at 9PM to a most-assuredly sold-out crowd.  It’s a fantastic piece of work, and I can’t wait to have our fans enjoy it with Taylor in attendance.  We’ll have a nice long Q&A after the screening.  Be sure to get your poster signed by Taylor…  We’ll have a limited supply at the door.

Buy Tickets Here

–Kevin Miller

Named one of surfing’s “Ten Most Influential People” by Surfer Magazine, director Taylor Steele’s two decades of experience and 25 award-winning films continue to challenge and redefine the ways we see, think about and experience the art of surfing.

Steele’s breakthrough films Momentum, Campaign and Loose Change of the ’90s established The Momentum Generation, a close-knit collection of progressive surfers including Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and Shane Dorian, who have each proceeded to redefine the limits of modern surfing.

Over the past decade, Steele’s films have continued to pioneer the outer limits of the genre, with epic travelogues like Sipping Jetstreams and Castles in the Sky, eclectic profiles like The Drifter and Missing, and social experiments like Innersection and This Time Tomorrow. “I never want to repeat myself,” says Steele, “so each project I try to push to another level. Something that scares me just a little.”

Proximity is his most ambitious project to date. “Surfing has grown up a lot over the last decade,” says Steele, “and we wanted to create something that reflected that.”

Screening Schedule on June 16th:

Pedro’s Bay (Eddie O’Brand and Vissla, Run time 27 min.) with Eric Geiselman, Cam Richards, and Eddie O’Brand in attendance.


Proximity (Taylor Steele, Run Time – 50 min.)

Our mission:

Florida Surf Film Festival’s mission is to invigorate surf culture through film appreciation and artistic expression by exhibiting contemporary films from filmmakers far and wide with surfing as a focus.


Proximity and Pedro’s Bay to Premiere in Florida

New Smyrna Beach, FL – Orlando, FLJune 16th, at 6PM, doors will open at Atlantic Center for the Arts for our 2nd Quarterly Screening Series of 2017, with two new films entered for competition.  Florida Surf Film Festival, presented by Monster Energy, is proud to present a new film from Eddie Obrand and the folks from Vissla starring Eric Geiselman entitled Pedro’s Bay, a short documentary of 27 minutes, at 7PM.

Second, Taylor Steele’s brand new film, Proximity, will premiere in Florida at 9PM. Proximity is a film that pairs surfing’s living legends with today’s most progressive young surfers. The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Taylor Steele, produced by Teton Gravity Research (TGR) in association with Garage Productions. Proximity will explore the delicate relationship between people, time, and place, showcasing surfing icons from different generations in diverse locations around the world.

Both films will be screened again on June 30th at The Abbey in Orlando, FL.  Tickets for both events are on sale now here.

As usual, we’ll have tickets and giveaways the door, but both will go fast so make sure to get there early.  Clancy’s Cantina will be serving food, Grander Rum will be available for purchase and tasting, and suds from the good folks at Green Room Brewing will be on hand for your cold beverage of choice.

We expect both shows to sell out so purchase your tickets in advance.

Florida Surf Film Festival’s mission is to invigorate surf culture through film appreciation and artistic expression by exhibiting contemporary films from filmmakers far and wide with surfing as a focus.  We also operate at least one workshop per year focused on journalism, photography, or filmmaking.

Sam George Joins Florida Surf Film Festival Short Film Jury

New Smyrna Beach, FL – The pleasure is all ours.  Sam George has decided to donate his time and expertise to our humble festival.  Short films accepted for competition will be screened by Sam and other jurors, whereupon he will render his confidential votes for recognition by our festival’s jury.

As both a former senior editor for Surfing Magazine and former editor-in-chief of SURFER Magazine, Sam George, 60, has been writing about the sport for over 33 years and is acknowledged as one of the sport’s leading experts. George has written and/or directed a number of acclaimed surfing documentaries, including the 2004 Sundance Film Festival official selection Riding Giants and other films such as Pipeline Masters, The Lost Wave: An African Surf Story, and Hollywood Don’t Surf, which premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Sam’s latest documentary Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and screened as the premier episode of ESPN’s prestigious “30 for 30” documentary series. It went on to win a 2014 Emmy Award as part of that series.

Sam has written and edited more than half a dozen books on the subject of surfing, including Surfing: A Way Of Life (1992), Surfing (1994), Tom Blake: Surfing 1922-1932, The Perfect Day: 40 Years of SURFER Magazine (2001 Surf Life (2003). SURFER 50 (2010) and The Big Juice (2011)

One of the sport’s most well-traveled surfers, Sam has explored the coastlines of over 40 countries, riding waves on every continent save Antarctica. On one of his latest adventures, he rode waves near the Arctic Circle on the north coast of Iceland.

A former professional competitor, Sam is also one of the pioneers of stand-up paddle surfing and is currently Senior Editor at SUP Magazine.  He still competes in various stand-up paddle surf races, accruing a number of age group victories.

February 11, 2017 – First Quarterly Screening Series Programming Announced

February 11, 2017 – First Quarterly Screening Series 

New Smyrna Beach, FL – The Fifth Annual Florida Surf Film Festival, presented by Monster Energy, is happy to announce programming for our first quarterly screening series of films entered for competition for the 2017 festival year at Atlantic Center for the Arts, 1414 Art Center Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL.

Doors open at 6PM. Tickets are $15 for an adult 12 and over. Under 12 is $5.  Tickets can be purchased in advance here and at the door.

Bezerke, by Andrew Kaineder (Run time 14 min.)
Beauty and Chaos, by James Skerritt (Run time 7 min.)
Risky Business, by Guy Mac (Run time 25 min.)


Fields of View, by Cyrus Sutton (Run time 10 min.)
Distance Between Dreams, by Ian Walsh and Rob Bruce (62 min.)

In Distance Between Dreams, the most historic year in big wave surfing comes to life through the eyes of iconic surfer Ian Walsh, as he sets mind and body in motion to redefine the upper limits of what’s considered ‘rideable.’ With massive El Niño powered swells building across the Pacific, Ian, Shaun, D.K. and Luke Walsh band together in the way only brothers can on a quest to progress surfing to unimaginable heights.

Big wave surfing’s transition from jet ski assists to paddling in raises the stakes, putting Walsh’s intense physical and mental training, the latest technology, swell modeling, and safety team, his brothers, to the ultimate test. Surfers John John Florence, Greg Long, Shane Dorian and more link up with Walsh as he rides an emotional rollercoaster through this momentous winter.

The second feature in Red Bull Media House’s The Unrideables franchise, Distance Between Dreams invites viewers right into the heart of the action with first person perspective, state-of-the-art cinematography, and captivating sound. Through unprecedented access, prepare to truly experience Walsh’s quest to survive and thrive in one of the most hostile environments on earth.

Distance Between Dreams Trailer from Rob Bruce Director/DP on Vimeo.

More information on the other films will be available shortly.

Our mission:

Florida Surf Film Festival’s mission is to invigorate surf culture through film appreciation and artistic expression by exhibiting contemporary films from filmmakers far and wide with surfing as a focus.

Florida Surf Film Festival Announces 2016 Awards

New Smyrna Beach, FL – The Fourth Annual Florida Surf Film Festival (FSFF), presented by Monster Energy, is a wrap, and the screening panelists and founders are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 awards.

“Our fourth year was truly amazing, not only with the spectacular lineup of films, but with the attendance of so many filmmakers, the continuation of our workshop series featuring writer, director, photographer, and surfer, Jamie Brisick.  We continuously try to elevate the event,” said Founder and President, Kevin Miller.  “We are excited about the ongoing partnerships we share with the Atlantic Center for the Arts and our new Presenting Sponsor, Monster Energy, and we look forward to growing the festival for our fans and especially the filmmakers.”

The 2016 festival kicked off Friday with It Ain’t Pretty, directed by Dayla Soul, in attendance.  The film captured the latest action in female big-wave surfing with Maverick’s and Ocean Beach, San Francisco, dominating the footage, with interviews and commentary from surfers and personalities from the area.  A crowd favorite, It Ain’t Pretty had an extended question and answer session with Ms. Soul, with every age represented on the microphone.  It Ain’t Pretty earned the distinguished Viewers’ Choice – Feature award this year at the 2016 Florida Surf Film Festival.


Jamie Brisick on the left, with Christian Beamish on the right.

Next up, Jamie Brisick took the stage with interviewer, Christian Beamish, author, waterman, and journalist.  The interview delved into the origin story of one of surfing’s most charismatic personalities of the 1970’s, Peter Drouyn, also known as Westerly Windina, whose transgender journey was documented in a book by Mr. Brisick titled Becoming Westerly (2015).  The engaging forty-five-minute Q&A covered a soon-to-be released feature documentary film about Westerly (2017), and Mr. Brisick’s history as a professional surfer on the world tour, a journalist in the surf industry, and eventually, a main stream career as a writer.  The third segment of the evening featured the film awarded Best Surf Movie, South to Sian, directed by Dustin Humphrey.  The road flick beautifully captured a journey from East Nusa Tenggara to Nias with some motocross sections edited in for your cinematic pleasure.  The evening concluded with two short films capturing cold water surfing and the thrill of the hunt and the challenges of the wind in Being There and The Accord, respectively.

On Saturday, Jamie Brisick conducted a one-day journalism workshop for 13 attendees, some veteran filmmakers and writers and some folks new to the field.  The workshop covered industry standards, content, thoughts on publishing, networking, and editing work for submission, as well as many other topics germane to the field.

On Saturday night, the film Given took Best Documentary – Feature and Best Cinematography – Feature.  The enthusiastic crowd, including one dog, had questions answered by Jess Bianchi, Director, for a full half hour.  This round-the-world epic took fans to Ireland, Morocco, Nepal (correct – No Waves), New Zealand, and many other locations where the Goodwin family finally landed on Fiji, hopefully to land a big fish with a spear.  This was hands down, one of the best films we’ve ever shared with our fans.  Introducing Given earlier in the evening was Sorria, featuring a beautiful and smiling Brazilian cast, with filmmaker, Gabriel Novis, in attendance.  Also, Let’s Be Frank, the conspiracy-laden history of Frank Solomon was investigated in a beautifully shot, epic mockumentary with a top-notch, original soundtrack.  Peter Hamblin flew in at the last minute to share his film with our fans, and it didn’t disappoint.


Kevin Miller, Founder and President, Jess Bianchi, Director, Malia Mau-Bianchi, Writer, Paige Livingston, Producer, and  John Brooks, Festival Director and Founder.

The screening panelists have entered their selections, along with our viewers’ choices.  The awards are as follows:

  • Best Documentary – Feature:  Given; Director – Jess Bianchi
  • Best Surf Movie – Feature:  South to Sian; Director – Dustin Humphrey
  • Best Cinematography – Feature:  Given; Director of Photography – Devin Whetstone
  • Best Soundtrack – Feature:  The Zone; Director – Jack Coleman
  • Viewers’ Choice – Feature:  It Ain’t Pretty; Director – Dayla Soul
  • Best Documentary – Short:  Freezing;  Directors – Jeremy Joyce and Rob Lockyear
  • Best Surf Movie – Short:  Growing; Director – Morgan Maassen
  • Best Cinematography – Short:  Growing; Director – Morgan Maassen
  • Best Soundtrack – Short:  The Accord; Director – RC Cone
  • Viewers’ Choice – Short:  Homemade; Director – Alex DePhillipo

Juries include: Feature Jury – Christian Beamish, Joe Turpel, Matt Pruett, Chad Campbell and Ben Mondy.  Short Jury – Matt Warshaw, Lewis Samuels, Matt Kechele, Nick McGregor, Paul Prewitt, and Bryan Forand.

We were again proud to have Monster Energy serve as our presenting sponsor for this year’s festival, providing travel and lodging for the filmmakers who attend the festival.

Surfline provided coverage and marketing services for the 2016 festival as our principal media sponsor.

Cigar City Brewing and Green Room Brewing and House 4 Beer served as the festival’s official beer sponsors, presenting in the Pabst Visitors Center and Gallery.

Grander Premium Rum served as the official rum of the festival with the Grander Rum Bar located in the Pabst Visitor Center and Gallery.

Clancy’s Cantina and Café Verde served as the festival’s official food sponsor, presented in the Whatmore Commons.

Other sponsors we’d like to thank include:  Serenity Springs Recovery Center, Globe, Brian Layman Financial Services, Stance, Octopus, Nectar Eyewear, Nixon Watches, Global Surf Industries, Holistic Movements, Mangrove Bay Design, Frame of Mind, Waterways Surf Adventures, Nemberala Beach Resort, La Ponderosa Beach and Jungle Resort, Total Vision, Red Dog Surf Shop and Kembali, Surfrider Foundation (Volusia/Flagler Chapter).  A silent auction featuring some of our sponsors’ products was held in the Pabst Visitor Center and Gallery.

Paul Prewitt Joins Florida Surf Film Festival Short Film Jury

New Smyrna Beach, FL – I watched Atlantic Crossings when I was 17 years old in Orlando with my friends, backed by Matt Kechele, Rich Rudolf, and of course, the filmmaker, Paul Prewitt.  It was the first time someone had featured the right coast, the one I personally flailed and learned to surf on…  It was a can’t miss cultural event for every surfer worth their salt in high school.  And now, here today, we have Paul lending his unique view on the films submitted for this year’s festival in the short documentary category.  What a thrill for me. –Kevin Miller


Paul is the owner of Big Impact Films, Inc. out of Daytona Beach.  He has over 30 years experience as a  TV and video producer/director, cameraman, and freelancer.

Paul began shooting photos of surfing in 1971, and shooting surf films in 16mm in 1983, specializing in water photography with credits in over 10 films.  He distributed surf films on the East Coast for numerous filmmakers over 12 years, and published Sea Treks free surf magazine.

His surf film from 1988, which he produced and photographed was called “Atlantic Crossing” a 16mm surf film.

Current projects: Viva Cuba! cultural documentary, HOT CUBA TRAVEl, legal travel business to Cuba.

Christian Marsh Photography Exhibit

New Smyrna Beach, FL – On November 18, 2016, fans in attendance at the Florida Surf Film Festival at Atlantic Center for the Arts will be treated to the exhibited works of photographer Christian Marsh.


Christian studied at Southeastern Photographic Studies at Daytona State. He has held the passion for surf and travel since he was a teenager. He moved to Costa Rica after graduating college to start a small photography business with a partner traveling the country to remote surf areas and photograph them surfing. He lived there for 6 months. After his return to the states, he continued to travel abroad for surf and photography. In 2003, Christian started a career as a firefighter. The schedule and benefits were great for keeping up with his passions.

The images on display at the Florida Surf Film Festival are from his most recent trip to the area of Salina Cruz, Mexico, exact locations will remain undisclosed. They portray the grace and movement of what he cherishes about the ocean and its strength. They represent the dream of travel and being a part of something larger than himself. He finds himself doing great work when he is “sliding in and out of daily life of the places and capturing moments with a journalistic approach.”

The body of work is being shown at the Florida Surf Film Festival only for the weekend of November 18th and 19th at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Please contact John Brooks for questions about the festival at john@floridasurffilmfestival.com.

Media Contact: Christian Marsch; christianmarsch@live.com