Filmmaker Q&A: Claire Gorman


Eddie captures some of the action and the magic from 2009's The Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave invitational surfing event at Waimea Bay. December 9, 2009, was a day to be remembered, with waves up to 60 feet, drawing the world’s best big wave surfers and over 25,000 spectators, all gathered in honor of legendary surfer Eddie Aikau.

That year's "Eddie" winner, Greg Long, says "The respect and camaraderie in the lineup, you don't find in too many places in the world, and this event really encapsulates everything that's great about surfing: the friendships you make in the water and looking out for one another." We talked with filmmaker Claire Gorman about her experience creating Eddie, which screens on Friday, March 8, at 7:00 pm as part of our 2013 Surfing Program.

EddieWhat was your inspiration for creating the film? The event itself was an inspiration in creating the film: Eddie. It is one of the most prestigious surf contests in the world and I just happened to be on the North Shore at the time it was held. Since the contest began in 1985, it has only been held eight times, so it was a very special day indeed.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film? The most challenging part of creating the film was getting to the location I wanted to shoot from. With no budget for helicopter angles, or numerous cameramen, I managed to scramble across the rocks directly in front of the waves with the help of some mates to carry the gear. From there it was eight hours straight filming in the sun, with no food and just a little water. It was well worth it in the end.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers? To not only be blown away by the size of the waves, and the skill of the surfers, but to get a sense of the magic of the day and remember the great man: Eddie Aikau.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film? Getting up before sunrise and feeling the excitement in the air as everyone scrambled to park and to get a good spot on the beach, or out on the rocks. Then the moment when it was finally announced that “The Eddie is a go!”

Who (or what) is your inspiration? I am inspired by those who are passionate about something they love, enough so to stick to a plan and make it happen, no matter what obstacle they meet along the way. My philosophy is simple: follow your heart and live your dreams.

Eddie_002How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films? Creating ocean-based films was a natural progression for me. We moved to the beach when I was 13 and I started filming my brother’s friends surfing. I loved coming home to show everyone the shots (I always missed their best wave, of course). From there the waves and the ocean grew into a great love of mine. Now I have been all over the world filming and editing surf-related pieces. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the world's best surfers and filmmakers, such as Stephanie Gilmore and, recently, Taylor Steele.

Why did you choose to submit your film to the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival? San Francisco is one of my favourite cities! And more importantly, the festival has a great cause and I am excited to be part of that.

Is this your first time participating in an ocean-focused film festival? Yes.

What was the most memorable moment in creating the film? I was contacted a few months after finishing the film and told that the Aikau family had watched it and loved it. I had never really intended the film to go anywhere, and that was a huge honour.

Is there anything else that you would like to share? "Eddie would go."

Won't you go to see Eddie on Friday, March 8, at 7:00 pm, along with the rest of our 2013 Surfing Program?