In advance of the highly anticipated UK premiere of Morning Of The Earth at the 10th Annual London Surf / Film Festival on the 4th December (Tickets here), Carve caught up with filmmaker Alby Falzon and Producer Justin Misch to find out more about his project.

Considered by many the greatest surf movie ever made, Albert Falzon crafted this visually stunning masterpiece around some of the most stylish, groundbreaking surfers of all time – names that redefined waveriding – Nat Young, Terry Fitzgerald, Michael Peterson, Rusty Miller et al. Shot around legendary breaks in Australia and the North Shore – they then journey to Bali – discovering the mind-blowing waves of Uluwatu and changing the course of history for ever.

A fantasy of surfers living in three unspoiled lands and playing in nature’s oceans, Morning of the Earth tells the story of a group of friends exploring the measures of all things beautiful: searching for virgin waves, shaping their own surfboards, building their own homes and living off the land in harmony with nature, it is a true tale for our times. It has become – over time – a collective noun for a genre of movie, for an approach to waveriding; for a free-flowing style and a free flowing mindset. It has become the bar against which all other films are judged and whose influence can be seen running through the core of so many modern projects.

Shot in 1971, Falzon and co-producer David Elfick were awarded a $20k grant from the Australian Film Development Corporation – a huge amount of money, but MOTE became the most successful Australian made surf movie up to that time, grossing more than $200,000 in domestic theatres.

So what was the driving reason behind remastering Morning Of The Earth and why now? “Morning of the Earth has stood the test of time and perhaps is more important today in view of the increased number of people on the planet and the demands they are having on its resources and ecosystems,” says Director Albert Falzon. “We need more than ever to be reminded of this fragile system we have inherited and to a certain extent Morning of the Earth is a reminder that we are all truly responsible for our decisions and actions. It reflects in a simple way how we can endure and sustain and enjoy our life here and leave a small footprint and a better world in our passing.”

And this is where filmmaker and producer Justin Misch comes in. “Wyatt and I were in Australia filming for our first film, Spoons: A Santa Barbra Story,” he explains. “Alby had lent us some 16mm outtakes from Crystal Voyager and we made an effort to hand deliver it back. So we met at a Coffee Shop in Crescent Head and an hour later were in the water. After our session we asked why Morning of the Earth wasn’t available online for the modern viewer and he simply replied, “Well mate, because you haven’t done the work yet!” 3 years later and photoshopping 150,000 frames multiple times over and here we are. We’ve got a beautifully restored version of this amazing film, and it’s now ready to be shared with the next generation.”

The technique involved in this museum grade restoration process is quite literally mind-blowing. First the team had to source original 16mm AB rolls. A macro camera on a digital film scanner took a full 4K resolution photo of each image on the film strip, resulting in an image sequence of 150,000 individual files — 15TB (15,000GB) of data. The total project amounted to 50TB. Hearing about the minutiae of the full process sounds more NASA than ‘Country Soul,’ but the results are equally mind-blowing. Seeing the film on the big screen, in 4k quality, with surround sound, Alby says “Well It looks and sounds better than it ever has.” It certainly does that.

10th Annual London Surf / Film Festival x VANS is hosted 2nd to 4th December at the iconic Genesis Cinema, presenting a carefully curated line up of the very best films from across the globe that represent the pinnacle of contemporary surfing right now! Accompanied by Q+A’s and ‘Audiences with…’ some of the world’s most exciting surfers and creatives it’s a celebration of the cream of cinematic surf culture
Check out the full line up for 2021 >> HERE.
Tickets are on sale now via the Genesis Cinema >> HERE.