“The Seedling” Directed by Thomas Campbell, 1999
Thomas Campbell’s first surf film under the now Woodshed Label is a fine example of the surf film evolution. “The Seedling” focuses on a small cast of longboarders out of California who travel to Mexico, Hawaii, and even New York for a little east coast action. The true magic, though, is the 16mm film he uses, which gives the film a romantic veil. This is a fresh feeling compared to the high action fast music surf videos of the 90’s.
However, this artsy flair (along with the jazz music) can make a little sleepier than expected, especially if you pop in the DVD late at night. Luckily, the camera work is very well stitched, giving the film a decent flow. Additionally, the small “skits” tossed in, like the painting footage and surf contest between “Fecal Man” and “Star Man,” slow down the flow.
All in all, “The Seedling” sits atop my list as surf films. It’s different, but still captivating. I love the color and look of the 16mm film, as well as the unique editing and music. Campbell has an idealistic approach to surf films, which mixes modern surfing with old school construction, creating a refreshing surf film.
Note: If you are looking for high action shortboarding, try again. This is a logging movie in full trim.
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