Entertainment & Events

Documentary Screening: “Splinters” Surfing for a Better Life in the White Man’s World

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Splinter SurfingThis Saturday, February 11, 2012 at Bird’s Surf Shop watch a special screening of “Splinters.” Voted winner of Best Documentary Surfer Magazine’s 2011 Surfer Poll Awards. Directed by Adam Pesce and Produced by Perrin Chiles, “Splinters” is a documentary film about the evolution of indigenous surfing in the developing nation of Papua New Guinea.

For Papua New Guinea life is untouched by education, technology, and even running water.  One element of western culture that has not failed to reach the nation is the surfboard, but this counterculture object isn’t just a past time for a few island bums.  The nation has become fanatical about the sport as a means of prestige and Splinters endeavors to explore the position of a village at a cross road between the modern world and the old, indigenous world.

The surfing craze reportedly began when an Australian pilot in the 1980s left behind a surfboard at a remote, coastal village in Papua New Guinea.  From that one surfboard an epidemic spread.  Locals began procuring boards from visiting surfers, imitating the moves they saw in surfing magazines, and making their own surfboards called “splinters.” Now a few talented individuals from different villages  see the sport as a way to make a better life for themselves in the “white man’s world.”

On this journey the audience will be thrown into a world where surfing is life and gender and culture clash with the dreams to win the country’s first national championship.  The winner gets elevated into the world of elite surf competitions and gaining the opportunity to make a homage to the place where that original surfboard came from to train with surfer athletes in Australia.

Splinters PeopleFor the first time in history the nation will host a surf competition at the village of Vanimo where locals can battle against the pros.  The film centers around four different surfers who have what it takes to compete and win the coveted prize. They are Angelus, Ezekiel, Lesley, and Susan.  Angelus is the crowned “king” of one of the surf clubs is said to be as aggressive in the water as he is out of the water.  He is unfiltered emotion while at the same time retaining a charismatic nature characteristic of most leading men.  Ezekiel is his younger disciple.  A graceful surfer and a gentle soul he risks becoming too caught up in the dreams of stardom.  Both are handsome men and talented surfers who have a lot to lose with this competition.  The other two central figures are women and sisterly rivals Lesley and Susan.  They also have contradictory views as Susan is married with children and she maintains a traditional role as a village mom.  Lesley on the other hand remains unmarried and continues to go against the grain of the culture.  Both find an the appeal of the waves irresistible and stand out from others with their talent and dedication to the sport despite living in a world of violence toward women.

The drama that unfolds around the competition and the lives of people in the village create a documentary that encompasses more than surfing. The film has won numerous surf film awards the past year with its cinematography and dedication to the passion for the sport.  However, director Adam Pesce says,

“For me, it’s not a film about surfing. And it’s not even so much a film about Papua New Guinea. What I hope makes it worthwhile is that it’s a window and further evidence that people the world over dream. And maybe those dreams are fragile or even arbitrary. But if from Splinters you can see a part of yourself, your own hopes, in a person from a village at the edge of the world, then that makes me really happy.”

Showing a special screening in San Diego this Saturday, February 11 2012. For location and ticket information visit http://splintersmovie.eventbrite.com

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