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Chasing the Lotus: The Lost Reels of Weaver and Wills

14:11 30th July 2007 by
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Chasing the Lotus

Schell Bell Productions

Filmed by: Greg Weaver, Spyder Wills and Greg Schell

Get it. They don’t come better than this for sheer depth of quality imagery, story, laughter and genuinely timeless surf tripping. If you ever wonder why surfing’s culture is so damn quirky and far out, this might offer some answers – one of them being that huge chunks of our collective identity were carved by quirky, far-out people, some of whom had real talent, brains, attitude and an impressive appetite for enjoying themselves – people like Greg Weaver (described in the film by The Surfer’s Journal’s Steve Pezman as the surfers’ “audiovisual poet laureate”) and Spyder Wills.

The irony of their story is that while existing below the radar to most of us kooks, these two fi lmmakers were actually at the heart of surfi ng’s inner core from the late ’60s through to the ’90s. Between them they were there with Gerry Lopez when he slipped off to Uluwatu; there when the first American surfers bundled into Jeffreys Bay and couldn’t believe their eyes; there on Maui and Kauai, hiding out with other notable renegades exploring the inner universe through LSD, Maui Wowie and variations in waterflow;
there in the earliest surf explorations of the Pacific islands, the Indian Ocean, Central America … and so on.

Lotus gathers Weaver’s and Wills’ old footage, much of it literally ‘lost’ in a dusty garage, and takes us through the times and places with elegance all round – spot-on original music by Chris Bell, a really smart and smooth script by Jamie Brisick, with all the right talking heads, and narration by Jeff Bridges, who’s a trip. From The Curl Line in 1967 via Santosha, Dog Town, and Wave Warriors III, they have a lot of story to tell, but it’s a fast 85 minutes.

Greg Schell’s first film, The Far Shore, was initially a film school project and then became a hit, but it was only a taster for this. Lotus has some of the feel of Dog Town and Z Boys, and Riding Giants. It’s a documentary that can hold its own outside of the surfing world. But surfers will enjoy the glint in this fi lm’s eye – the glint of two guys who’ve consistently put themselves in the right places, at the right times, over almost four decades. I think they found the lotus ages ago and spent forty years eating it. – ADR

www.chasingthelotus.com