Stars of the surf film El Mar, Mi Alma (from left) Dane Ward, Dave Rastovich, Joel Parkinson and Chris del Moro.
Stars of the surf film El Mar, Mi Alma (from left) Dane Ward, Dave Rastovich, Joel Parkinson and Chris del Moro.

Surf film rides into mainstream

LENNOX Head film producer Tatiana Velasco was blown away after her surf film gained national distribution in Australia.

The triple-award-winning film, El Mar, Mi Alma, stars Byron Bay surfer and activist, David Rastovich.and depicts Chile's natural beauty, surf culture and rich poetic tradition.

"It's a journey through Chile and explores the intimate relationship its people have with the sea," Ms Velasco said.

Chilean poet and 1971 Nobel Prize Winner, the late Pablo Neruda, has a "ghost-like presence" in the film.

"He was a grand poet but also a diplomat and lover of the sea," Ms Velasco, who migrated to Australia from Chile at the age of six, said.

"His beachside abode is where my family are from on the central coastland of Chile.

"His quest for humankind to be closer to nature is present throughout the film."

The Neruda Foundation has endorsed the film, saying: "The sea was always an inspiration for (Mr Neruda's) prolific work, and this film is an ode to the sea."

El Mar, Mi Alma has strong environmental and political undertones, and Ms Velasco said it resonates with people in and out of the surfing community.

"We were trying to promote surfing as an alternative industry to the detrimental environmental practices going on in Chile," she said.

On Sunday, the film will be released in selected Hoyts and independent cinemas around Australia.

Ms Velasco said such wide distribution will create new opportunities for the film's makers, most of whom have spent their life savings producing it.

"To get a cinema release is massive, and to share it across the nation and get the message out there shows there's hope for us and the world," she said.

"We're hoping it will lead to funding so we can complete Part Two."

A pre-release screening of El Mar, Mi Alma will take place at Pighouse Flicks Lounge Cinema in Byron Bay on August 10, at 7pm.



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