FIRST LOVE - A SURFING MASTERPIECE

Winner of many awards, including Best Documentary at the traditionally male dominated 2011 X-Dance Action Sports movie awards in USA 

Awards

A story of love, friendship and following your dreams told through the lives of three teenage girls pursuing their lifelong goal of becoming professional surfers.

An all Australian soundtrack with music by: The Beautiful Girls, Goons of Doom, Dardanelles, Tom Richardson, Seth Sentry, M-Phazes, Dash & Will, The Melodics, Big Scary and more. 

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First Love

First Love

Filmed over a year from April ‘09, First Love is the story of three teenagers following their dream of becoming professional surfers, filmed by a group of three equally passionate girls following their dream - Claire Gorman, Clare Plueckhahn and Fran Derham.

Gorman was a few years ahead of Jess, Nikki and India at school on Phillip Island, and while shooting her surf documentary ‘Liquid Pictures’ (now the name of her company) she met Nikki, India & Jess. Initially Gorman was inspired by Steph Gilmore, and started filming Nikki when she recognised similar potential.

“After a couple of weeks I found out that Nikki had managed to squeeze her way into the Rip Curl Pro and was going to be in a heat against Steph Gilmore. My friend and I jumped in the car the next morning before sunrise and drove the three hours around to Bells.”

Plueckhahn came on board First Love to do photography stills and saw huge potential in the project. “We needed to get someone to help take it to the next level so that’s where Fran came in. I work with her in Melbourne and I knew her experience in producing, writing skills and passion is exactly what First Love needed.”

From here things began to escalate, Plueckhahn is “not sure when it all really happened but all of a sudden I found myself producing and art directing. Next thing I knew we were all on a plane to Hawaii. One thing just led to another and we were making a full on film. I think the key to our success so far has been the fact that First Love is our first full length project. We had no preconceived ideas of how anything should be done.”

Hawaii was a turning point for the film, Fran Derham says that “being an all girl team definitely helped us capture moments that other film makers wouldn’t normally have the privilege of being a part of. We turned a lot of heads shooting in bikini’s on the beach. Clare with her huge lens, and Claire with the best camera on the beach. People didn’t know whether to take us seriously or not - which probably worked in our favour. We didn’t get much time to surf though. We were up at the crack of dawn every morning chasing Gypsy Rip Curl girls, not waves. We got some amazing girl moments.”

“OUR MAIN AIM WAS TO BRING OUT THE GIRLINESS, THE FUN AND ALL THE STUFF THAT THESE GIRLS DO WHEN THEY’RE NOT SURFING. WE WERE ALL CLEAR THAT WE DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE THE TYPICAL SURF FILM OF WAVE, SURFER, WAVE, SURFER. WE WANTED A STORY, EVERYONE NEEDS STORIES, AND EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL.” Claire Gorman

And that was also one of the reason’s that Derham saw such potential in the project. “For once there was a story to go along with the surf, it took us a while to figure out what it was as Jess did her shoulder mid year and we didn’t know until she got back on her board in January what we had.” Derham was determined to make the film appeal on a universal level, “it was really important that the film touches on universal themes. Surfing is an amazing sport but just like any passion it’s rooted in love, and that’s something that everyone can relate to. The girls’ passion for surfing along with Claire and Clare’s love for the sport fed the story, and words that I wrote for the film.”