Definition September 2023 - Web


WORDS Nicola Foley

THE STORM the eye of

A film about a big-wave windsurfer obsessed with violent storms doesn’t sound like a relaxing watch – but director Jack Pirie has created something beautifully unexpected with his new short, The Storm Chaser . Blurring the lines between documentary and drama, it invites viewers into the world of Thomas Traversa, a champion windsurfer who spends his life seeking out and conquering the world’s wildest waves. However, for the most part, this isn’t a white-knuckle, adrenaline-pumping ride. Thanks to Pirie’s narrative shaping and Traversa’s gentle, philosophical temperament, what’s offered is an almost mystical exploration of encounters between man and nature (with some thrillingly visceral storm- surfing footage at the film’s climax). THE MAN AND THE SEA Stumbling across him by chance online, Pirie was impressed by Traversa’s

Nicola Foley meets the makers of The Storm Chaser, a critically acclaimed windsurfing film making waves on the festival circuit

sporting skill, but it was the French athlete’s character which really drew him in. “I saw that he was this deep- thinking and meditative guy. Not a typical extreme sport, gung-ho type,” he recalls. “And there was some lovely juxtaposition there – you’re going out in the most chaotic environment possible, but actually, what you’re finding within that is something quiet.” When it came to the look and feel for the film, a key reference point was Jonathan Glazer’s iconic Surfer advert for Guinness, depicting a man calmly biding his time before charging his surfboard into a once-in-a-lifetime wave, flanked by spectral white horses. “I love things that transcend the boundaries between fantasy and reality, and there’s something so beautiful about that commercial. I wanted to try and do something that had a similar kind of merging of the real and the fantastical,” explains Pirie. “In that advert, he takes you inside the wave. Usually when you watch

LIGHTING THE WAY The crew’s minimalist lighting approach included deploying Astera Helios Tube lights as practicals, making use of custom 3D-printed magnetic mounts



Powered by