Joel Sharpe. Random first two questions...What's your middle name?
What were you doing just before you checked your email?
Looking at surf movie posters to get inspiration for a project
What part of Australia are you from?
Tell us about your first job!
Right out of university I was hired as a cinematographer for a spearfishing/ camping/ adventure documentary that travelled the west coast of Australia for 7 weeks. Needless to say, it was an epic experience.
Where about do you live now?
I’m currently set up in Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast, I just kind of got stuck here and can’t seem to find a reason to leave.
How long have you been a filmmaker?
I’ve been making films since my last few years of high school, so roughly 10 years… sheesh!
Can you tell us about your first experiments with filmmaking?
I used to muck around with my mates, we’d make ourselves laugh filming stupid stuff and skateboarding. As I got more into surfing I wanted to share the feeling and the escape that it was to me. So my first real film was a surf film. Capturing surf made sense to me like nothing else before, it felt important somehow.
The stories you are telling with your films are unique in content and delivery. Where do you draw inspiration from?
As time goes on I realise that I am inspired by what is right in front of me. I’m always looking for the point of interest, be it a wave or a window. With that in mind I make an effort to put myself in interesting situations, hoping to find inspiration that actually counts for something and can inspire others.
It looks like travel and adventure are a big part of your life as a filmmaker. Can you tell us a story when an adventure got a little sketchy?
I’ve had plenty of sketchy moments looking back over the years but one of the more memorable was in November last year. My girlfriend and I were beach camping around Baja California, and we were woken up one night to a deep voice yelling at us to get out of the tent. We poked our heads out to discover roughly thirty AK-47s pointed in our direction. The Mexican military were looking for somebody, apparently somebody pretty dodgy. After an exchange of dialogue about a white van, they left us in peace. We went back to sleep hoping the white van was far, far away.
100 Days of Waves is starting out pretty epic. What inspired this project?
(*side-bar: check out #haveyouseendawntoday on instagram - we did 30 days of getting in the ocean at sunrise 2 years back. We started again May 1st!
I came across the idea from a friend who had started their own 100 day project and the idea felt perfect. I’ve been meaning to push my photography more but it’s so easy to look outside and decide the conditions aren’t good enough or I’ll go surfing instead. This project is the perfect way to leap the mental hurdle and just get out and do it.
What is it about the ocean that is so addicting?
The ocean is so many things. It’s fun, inspiring, calming, challenging, brutal and gentle. No matter what I’m feeling or thinking it always brings me back to centre, it’s always just the thing I need. That to me is why it is so addicting.
Tell us about Rail To Rail!
Rail to Rail is a short film I made while working on my feature length surf film throughout Central America. The film captures the story of an awesome local dude I met in El Salvador who shreds standup on a boogie board. It’s screening at the San Diego Surf Film Festival this month and will be released online soon after. The feature is still in production but I’m hoping to have it wrapped up before the end of the year. It’ll be my first feature so I’m pretty amped about it!
Drink: As an Australian, I have to say beer.
Destination: Wilsons Promontory, Victoria.
Travel Companion: My girlfriend and producer, Skye Nichol.
Food: I can’t eat sweet corn cake, some kind of negative association I guess.
Tell us about some exciting projects in the works.
Really for me the feature film is my biggest project right now. I’ve been shooting it on and off over the past two years and as I get into the editing I’m getting pretty amped about it. It has been quite the journey really, it’s amazing sitting down with so much footage and some time to kill. Other than that I’ll keep taking wave photos and making short films here and there.
Check out more on his stuff on his site here: http://joelsharpe.com/