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Relentless Short Stories: Mickey Smith

19:13 17th August 2010 by Alex Dick-Read
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Dark Side of the Lens

A new film contest for aspiring directors. No half measures, please.

Mickey Smith’s film ‘Dark Side of the Lens’ is at the bottom of this page, film competition info below.

Relentless Energy presents Short Stories, a challenge to recognised core sports and music filmmakers around the world to explore, reveal and define ‘No Half Measures’ through the medium of film.

At its heart is a competition, one that will reward those directors who can bring the NO HALF MEASURES attitude to life in the most visceral possible way. The first 2010 competition initially spans the interlinked spheres of surf, BMX, skate and snow, with the first round of films being made by big wave surfer photographer Mickey Smith and visionary BMX videographer Matty Lambert. Currently in production, this initial pair of short films will be followed by skate and snow projects later in the year.

Next year Short Stories will see entry to the competition opened up to aspiring core sports and music film makers from around the world and will continue to grow from there. Starting early 2011, Relentless Energy will call on willing entrants to submit their ideas for No Half Measures short format films with the best candidates invited to bring their ideas to life.

The brief for these films is simple, bring Relentless Energy’s ‘No Half Measures’ motto to life: turning the uncompromising attitude of those leading progression in their sport’s arena into passionate and stunning short films.

Each invitee will receive a production fund plus access to Relentless associated athletes who can be used as the subject of their film. From there it’s up to the invited film maker on how they unearth and present their story.

Due to be submitted to the judging panel on 14 November, all films will then be judged on cinematography, narrative, direction and their expression of No Half Measures.

The judging panel for the £5,000 winner-takes-all prize is made up of Ross Cairns; Lives Of The Artists Director, Vince Medeiros; Huck Magazine Editor, Paul Evans; Surf Europe Editor and Will Smyth; Dig BMX Editor.

The first Short Stories film, by renowned photographer and body boarder Mickey Smith, explores his world as a true ‘waterman’ – both as an athlete and artist – and is called The Dark Side of The Lens.

“Originally I planned for the film to be more anonymous, rather than biographical, an all encompassing piece, to represent the photographers keeping the surfing machine afloat,” explains Smith.

Something that offers insight into what it takes to grind out a living as a water-based photographer in the surfing industry: a short experimental glimpse at a life lived in the shadow of obsessive photographic pursuits.”

“It also gave me the chance to ask myself a few questions, like, if you’re always observing and documenting what you see and experience, are you ever truly present? Questions like that where I could step back think and then see what the answers were,” Smith says.

As well as documenting various voices and experiences across surf photography, Smith worked with Allan Wilson from the Astray Collective, who acted as Director of Photography on the project. Together they logged hours of footage across the Atlantic coastline, travelling around Ireland, Cornwall and Manchester. Shot in Super 16mm film, as well as groundbreaking work with Canon’s 5R Digital SLR, Smith also projected images of the huge walls of water within which he works, on to monster urban landscapes such as skyrises and castles in Manchester, as well as the clifflines at his home of Ireland.

The second Short Stories is directed by Matty Lambert and explores the intriguing world of Relentless BMX Rider Mark Webb and his character beyond the contest bravado. This is Webb’s inspiring story to achieve global success in the face of adversity, thanks to his focused, determined, driven and passionate approach – a life dedicated to his bike and wanting to be remembered long after his time.

Lambert explains, “Working with Webbie was different for sure. Portsmouth life couldn’t be further away from life on the U.S contest circuit, over the time spent following Mark on both trips I’ve definitely had an insight into the real Mark Webb, and this man and story is truly inspiring.”

The four stories will debut at a premiere event later in the year where the winner will also be announced – this will also officially open the 2011 event.

For more information and to view the films visit www.relentlessenergy.com, whilst you’re there stay up-to-date by joining The Order – Relentless’ online community for updates, news and competitions.

  1. Al

    I’m delighted to see they finally focussed on the man behind the lens. It requires huge skill, knowledge, determination and courage for Mickey to get his pictures and he’s one of the very best in the business.

    What I find sad and in fact downright shameful is that a guy like Mickey, risking life and limb to get the shot, a man who is not just a cog in the wheel of publicising Ferg and Tom (the Relentless riders) but a man who is in fact utterly indispensable – almost solely responsible for their profiles – is a man who get’s paid a mere pittance.

    Now Mickey’s a positive soul and he just loves doing what he does, but what’s he going to do when his body can’t take the beatings anymore? Relentless is owned by Coca-Cola, one of the world’s richest companies and I’m damn sure they know Mickey’s worth, but apparently they can’t muster the funds to look after him financially?! Mickey is the best water photographer in the UK, probably the best in Europe and yet at the end of the year the pay he’s accrued probably equates to 12 month’s minimum wage. This could only happen in surfing and only in the UK, the industry is pure vaudeville and frankly taking advantage of Mickey’s good nature and the fact that he enjoys what he does is despicable and this is not just Relentless, this is the other companies and magazines too.

    If he were one of the top photographers in the world in any other area, say fashion, weddings, products, football etc. he would own a house, a decent car and have security for the future, but hey surfing’s different for some reason. The big companies like Coca-Cola, Nike etc. are dipping their sticky fingers into surfing, they’re quite happy to extract as much money as they can, but how much of that filthy lucre actually finds it’s way back to the people that put in the hard yards? Guys like mickey make the images that allow all of us to share vicariously in that special moment… ‘image is everything’ isn’t it?

    Pay the man his dues!

  2. sean

    Al i totally agree, could not have said it anywhere as well as that. his work is absolutely amazing!!! give the man what he so rightfully deserves.

  3. gabi

    Hey lads..I couldn’t agree more. speaking as a ‘surf mom’, how would kids growing up in the Midlands and other non coastal regions ever get to see such amazing footage. It’s totally down to the likes of warriors such as Mickey that kids can have heroes to aspire to, role models to follow and are able to think ‘outside the box’ when it’s time to consider future career plans. Too true the big companies should recognise his true worth. May the man continue in his successes for a long time , but with more appreciation from the likes of Coke!

  4. Regina

    I am utterly in awe of the courage and dedication required to capture on film the world of the surfer, and the oceans they ride. I caught myself almost drooling over the cliffs and wave actions. Catching the break just as it starts to curl…I am awestruck at what Nature creates…and humans manage to capture on film.

    Thank you for creating such an awe-inspiring piece of film!

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