2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON

take every waveTAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON
Rory Kennedy profiles the iconoclastic athlete who revolutionized big wave surfing.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

“It was the unrideable wave and we rode it.” Rory Kennedy’s TAKE EVERY WAVE captures the remarkable and unconventional life of legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Sweeping cinematography positions us in the lineup with a master playing the sea.

Laird’s incredible story began in 1960s Hawaii. Finding solace from an abusive home, he rebelled and funneled his energy into big wave Pipeline surfing, awakening a natural talent. More than an athlete with Hollywood good looks, Hamilton proved himself a true innovator, pushing conventions to the extreme and reinventing surfing throughout his career. A pioneer in both tow-in surfing and foil boarding, he distinguished himself from surfing legends of the time who wanted to maintain the purity of the sport.

Mixing evocative, unseen archival footage with intimate access into Laird’s current adventures, distinguished filmmaker Rory Kennedy celebrates Hamilton’s lifelong desire to charge new frontiers and his intense commitment to conquering the next wave at all costs.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Rory Kennedy
    Past Sundance docs:

    LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (2014)
    ETHEL (2012)
    BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD (2011, producer)
    THE FENCE (2010)
    SHOUTING FIRE: STORIES FROM THE EDGE OF FREE SPEECH (2009, producer)
    GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (2007)
    THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN (2002, producer)
    AMERICAN HOLLOW (1999)

    The Moxie Firecracker Films co-founder received an Oscar nomination for LAST DAYS and won an Emmy for GHOSTS.

Producers:

  • Paul Speaker
    Speaker is the CEO of World Surf League, an organization governing professional surfing competition tours and proselytizing for the sport. While he has a background in film, this is his first Sundance credit.

  • Mark Bailey
    Bailey, Kennedy’s husband, has served as a writer or story editor for several of her past films, including LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, ETHEL, THE FENCE, GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB, and AMERICAN HOLLOW, earning three Emmy nominations.

  • Jack Youngelson
    Past Sundance docs:

    ETHEL
    GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB

    Youngelson also received an Emmy Award for GHOSTS and was Emmy-nominated for ETHEL.

Co-Producers:

  • Patricia Bischetti
    Past Sundance docs:

    AMERICAN EPIC (2016)

    Bischetti also served as a line producer for other Sundance titles, including LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET (2006).

  • Jed Pearson IV
    This is the first Sundance credit for the World Surf League SVP/executive producer, who has a background producing for Fox Sports.l

  • Jason Rem
    This is also the first Sundance film for the World Surf League VP of production.

Executive Producers:

  • Jonathan S Marshall
    The COO of the Wold Surf League has a background as an entertainment attorney (including for the Shooting Gallery and RKO Pictures) and in sports media.

  • William Cawley
    Cawley is the CCO of Laird Hamilton’s Laird Apparel.

Editor:

  • Azin Samari
    Past Sundance docs:

    FOREVERYONE.NET (short) (2016)
    ETHEL
    THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE (2009)

Why You Should Watch:
Kennedy brings a strong sense of storytelling to her portrait of the maverick, and, at times, controversial surfer. Drawing from breathtaking archival and present-day surfing footage, the film also impresses visually.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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