Vague à l'Ame is the story of a quest to go bigger, charge harder and find the courage to face monsters at sea. Following Sancho’s tutorship under big wave legend Shane Dorian, the film takes viewers on an extreme journey to the mythical spot of Pe'ahi in Hawaii, the icy waters of giant Mullaghmore in Ireland and back to facing demons at Nazaré in Portugal.
Interview with Director/Cinematographer Vincent Kardasik and Executive Producer/Editor/Colorist Julie Kardasik
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
VINCENT: I've been surfing since being a teenager and most of my friends are professional surfers. Being a filmmaker at some point I had to document what they were doing, especially the big wave specialists.
JULIE: When capturing surfing, we always tried to add our own touch, focusing on people and their stories. When we started thinking about Vague à l'Ame, I wanted that movie to be interesting for both a surfing and a non-surfing audience. The main goal was to offer something more than beautiful waves and good surfing and show what was really happening behind the scenes, what it takes to be at the right place at the right time: the sacrifices, the doubts, successes… but the failures too.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
JULIE: First things first, it only lasts 52 minutes, so even if you don't like it, I'm sure it's less time than watching social media content on your phone. Seriously, we put a lot of effort into cinematography but also on storytelling, you will dive into the big wave surfing world, and trust me, it's a unique experience. We're also really proud of the soundtrack. It was custom-composed by two of our best friends and it fits the movie really well.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
JULIE: Vague a l'Ame not only tells Benjamin Sanchis' quest to surfing the biggest and most perfect waves in the world but also how difficult it is to always improve yourself, especially after a traumatic experience. That's something you can't do on your own. There's a real connection between all characters: three generations of surfers all going the same way but with a different goal.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
VINCENT: When we first started, the movie was really about finding the best waves all over the world, but when Benjamin made that wipe-out in Nazaré, the project took an all other dimension. We decided to rewrite it, focused more on the effort, the how and the why they are doing that, and always kept in mind that maybe one day, Benjamin will come back to Nazaré. Nothing was as sure as his relationship with the place, and it is quite dramatic.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
JULIE: So far feedback has been great, mostly from the surf scene, but more importantly, from people who don't know anything about surfing. After every screening there are always a lot of positive comments, and my favorite one is, “I wish it lasted longer”.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
VINCENT: I wasn't expecting such amazing reactions… At first I thought the movie will be shown in a couple of movie theaters around our area, but six months after the premiere, the movie has been watched worldwide including here in Hawaii. There's more and more demands and now I'm thinking about what's next, kind-of feeling the pressure, next project has to be good... But it’s different.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
JULIE: It's important that Vague a l'Ame keeps on touching a bigger audience, We Are Moving Stories gives even more credit to our project by reaching a bigger community fascinated by filmmaking and storytelling.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
JULIE: We now have a sales agent and recently signed a distribution contract. Everything was made “in house” with friends introducing us to other friends and helping the project because they like it not for the purpose of money. Now we need more communication about the project with still that goal to touch a bigger audience. We want Vague a l’Ame to be recognized as a documentary on its own and not just a surf flick. More festival screenings and more press appearances could definitely help.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
VINCENT: I really want the audience to feel some emotions while watching Vague a l’Ame. When I sit down in a room during a screening it’s always really stressful but when I heard the first laugh and “whoa”… in a way, I know I made it.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
JULIE : How far will you have to go to chase your dreams ?
Would you like to add anything else?
JULIE: We’d like to thank you for this opportunity to talk here on We Are Moving Stories. We’d also like to thank all the festival organizers who are helping us showing our project worldwide, and also thank all the people who already attended a screening. There’s no need to make a movie if there’s no one to watch it.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
VINCENT: Scary question… We still have to create some brand content to be able to finance our future projects but right now the main focus are a TV show and a sequel to Vague a l’Ame.
Interview: January 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Vague a l’Ame
On the 11th of December 2014, Benjamin "Sancho" Sanchis was towed into one of the biggest waves ever ridden at Nazaré. He fell off at the bottom and in the subsequent beating almost drowned. That wave earned him the WSL XL Wipeout of the Year Award, but more importantly, kickstarted a new chapter in his quest to become a renowned big wave surfer.
Vague à l'âme is the story of that quest - to go bigger, charge harder and find the courage to face monsters at sea. Following Sancho’s tutorship under big wave legend Shane Dorian, the film takes viewers on an extreme journey to the mythical spot of Pe'ahi in Hawaii, the icy waters of giant Mullaghmore in Ireland and back to facing demons at Nazaré in Portugal.
Length: 52 minutes
Director: Vincent Kardasik
Producer: François Liets
Writer: Julie & Vincent Kardasik
About the writer, director and producer:
VINCENT KARDASIK (director/cinematographer) is an award-winning filmmaker whose passion for moving images and the ocean are forever connected. The Hossegor-based director honed his skills in the surf world, but his early adoption of digital technology, range of cultural influences and love of storytelling have seen him curate a diverse body of work across many genres. With Vagues à l'âme he returns to his first love, surfing, focussing on the characters that inhibit the big wave world.
FRANCOIS LIETS’ (producer) role is both hard to define and impossible to overestimate. Liets has single-handedly run all of Europe's Billabong Adventure Division projects over the last decade, acting as chief forecaster, head of logistics, jet ski driver, media liaison, surfer and much, much more. This film is the latest achievement in a long and illustrious career in the surfing world.
Organizing a big wave mission inevitably involves an array of last-minute problems, time zones and complications. When something becomes too difficult, the boys call JULIE KARDASIK (executive producer). When denied shooting authorization in Morocco, or losing surfboards in the Canaries, or needing extra boats at Jaws, it was Julie that solved the problem. She became an integral member of the team, and without her input and decision making, this project may never have happened at all.
Key cast: Benjamin Sanchis, Shane Dorian, Justin Becret
Looking for: film festivals directors and journalists, please contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Funders: François Liets, Jean-Louis Rodrigues, Vincent Kardasik, Benjamin Sanchis
Made in association with: Billabong and Mosnter Energy
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Working on the distribution as we speak, more info coming in March. Please stay tuned.