New York Surf Film Festival


Eclectic, high-profile surf film showcase held each September in New York City. The New York Surf Film Festival was founded by New York surfers Morgan Rae Berk, Tyler Breuer, Adam Cannizzaro, and Michael Machemar. In 2008 the group held their inaugural event in Tribeca, and attracted more than 2,500 moviegoers. Twenty-five films were shown, including a special 30th anniversary presentation of Big Wednesday, complete with a personal appearance by film director John Milius.

Following a legal dispute among the original co-founders in 2010, Berk took over sole control of the festival and moved the 2011 screenings to a larger theater in Greenwich. Event sponsors, filmmakers, and audiences followed, and the NYSFF continued to grow. Though the festival lineup mainly features independent films and documentaries, and despite the cosmopolitan setting (the 2012 festival was held in über-hip Williamsburg), an unfussy, beachy aesthetic prevails. “You can hear empty cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon rolling around the floor amid hoots and hollers,” said Surfing magazine of the NYSFF. “Just before  the screenings there is a stampede not for the cushy seats, but for floor space to sit in the aisle,” reported Filmmakermagazine.com in 2011; “it’s an outrageous beach party.”

The NYSFF's top-level urban location attrcts big-name surf filmmakers: The 2009 festival featured the U.S. premier of Kai Neville’s insta-classic Modern Collective; Taylor Steele’s Castles in the Sky premiered there in 2010. Awards are given for Best Feature (over 30 minutes), Best Short (under 30 minutes), Best Cinematography, Best Soundtrack, and Viewer's Choice. All entered films are screened over three days, a judging panel selects the winners, and a low-fi award-presentation wraps things up.

NYSFF Best Feature winners:

2008: Musica Surfica (Mick Sowry)

2009: Sea of Darkness (Michael Obowitz)

2010: Dark Fall (Alex DePhillipo)

2011: Come Hell or High Water (Keith Malloy)

2012: Here and Now (Taylor Steele)

2013: Immersion (Tim Bonython)