Cinema: Wavescape – Surf and Ocean Festival at The Galileo Drive In, March 5, 2021

What: Wavescape Film Festival– Surf and Ocean Festival- documentary Screening date: March 5, 2021 Where: Jan van Riebeeck Sportveld (Gardens) Cinema format: The Galileo Drive In Venue opens: 6pm and screening starts 7.45pm Duration: 96 minutes Tickets: From R109 from Webtickets – navigate via Movie hot-line: 071 471 8728 available on show days Info:  

In December 2020, The Galileo Open Air Cinema and Drive In, postponed The Wavescape Film Festival because of increased lockdown restrictions. The pandemic was on the boil and most of us hunkered down, trying to stay in our bubbles. Prior to New Year’s Eve, beaches were closed. No surfing but at least we could still gaze at the surf and walk next to our beautiful beaches. Cape Town has top surf spots. Now, infection rates are under control and on Sunday night, Feb 28, 2021, our president announced that we can cautiously navigate our lives, adhering to level 1 lockdown regulations. Surfers will be stoked that The Wavescape Film Festival is screening on Friday, March 5, at The Galileo Drive In, at Jan van Riebeeck Sportveld (Gardens). March 5 happens to mark a year since the 1st case of Covid was reported and documented in South Africa – March 5, 2020 We had no idea what was in store.  We still have no idea what is in store. All, we can do is be patient, ride out the waves; watch for the next set and be mindful of not cutting in on others. We need to kind and considerate and hope for that ride; the perfect wave; to the other side of sheer exhilaration and joy. I don’t surf [have been cajoled in when there is warm water] so I have the moniker as ‘surfer-chick’ as the sidekick to husband #surfertravelguy. Watching surfing is mesmerising. The genre of surf films is astounding- addictive and thrilling.

Amazing lineup for The Wavescape Film Festival March 2021. I am intrigued by the film Unnur, which tracks the journey of Elli Thor, Icelandic photographer, surfer, and former kayaker, who was inspired to take up surfing after a near-drowning incident under a waterfall, while kayaking. The Galileo Drive In format – synchs brilliantly with surfing culture- load up the car/van with boards and off you go. Pull in and stare at the waves and then move along and park; struggle into the wetsuit (essential in cold water South Africa) and off you go; barrels of fun and release. As someone who watches surfing, I am in awe of balance, artistry, skill – bodies in motion -in the ocean. It is incredibly beautiful to watch. I am in awe that people have no fear or have harnessed their fear and that will study the conditions and do everything to make it possible to ride the waves.

In terms of number of attendees at The Galileo, under lockdown 1, March 2021,  The Galileo’s marketing manager, Lauren Knapp says: “Since we’re an outdoor event, the restriction is 250 people. Our Royale screenings are still only 100 as it’s an intimate and exclusive setting. The max number of cars depends on the venue and how many we can fit while still allowing optimal viewing for everyone.”

Mirage: Namibia, 2020, 17min | Director: Alan van Gysen. Supplied.

Wavescape Film Festival- March 5, 2021 at The Galileo Drive In – programme as supplied by Wavescape

Adapt: USA, 2020, 6min | Director: Kyle Buthman

The beaches are closed. The beaches are open. A vocal scientist says she “wouldn’t go in the water for a million dollars.” The confusion leaves passionate surfers to confront an ocean of COVID-19 fear and answer the question — to surf, to not surf, or to simply ADAPT? In this haunting short by Kyle Buthman, we catch a glimpse of the answer. Handmaid’s Tale meets Zombie of the Apocalypse.

Mirage: Namibia, 2020, 17min | Director: Alan van Gysen

Since it was revealed in 2008, Skeleton Bay has become one of the most important and most spoken about waves in the surfing world. Mirage profiles this surreal location with fascinating insights into the history of the wave, the locals who pioneered it and the best surfers in the world who have surfed it. There is footage here that will make your toes curl and your brain hurt.

Jungle: The World, 2020, 18min | Director: Morgan Maassen

As Maassen so self-effacingly says, this was an unintentional surf film. Comprising clips he has collected over the years while shooting some of the best surfers in the world, and some of the most beautiful wave and landscapes, he created the film to explore long-form editing as a way to a “give a home to so many projects/trips/travel that needed some context, and as a tip of the hat to my passion, surfing”. We think it came out rather well.

Unnur: Iceland, 2020, 19min | Director: Chris Burkard

Watch the trailer here

We follow Elli Thor – Icelandic photographer, surfer, and former kayaker – who 10 years ago nearly drowned under a waterfall while kayaking. His near-death became a catalyst for growth and change. After walking away from kayaking, a newfound passion for surfing and the birth of his daughter Unnur (named after the ninth daughter of deities Rán and Ægir). Her name means wave, and river. Unnur and surfing give him a new perspective worth living for. A wistful and compelling narrative that takes you to a place that touches your soul.  

RISS: USA, 2020, 39min | Director: Peter Hamblin

Watch the trailer here

An at times whacky but cool vignette of four-times world champ Carissa Moore. Delving into her past, Hamblin builds a picture of a prodigious surfing talent, who aged 16 was the youngest to win the Hawaiian Triple Crown, and at 18 the youngest to win the world title. Hamblin’s drive for style and substance sets him apart from most sport doccies that churn archived clips on repeat. We get witty ripostes, funky edits and mixed-media vignettes to inform and entertain.          

Related coverage of The Galileo Open Air Cinema and Drive In, 2021