remote

My short film Khareef

My longtime friend Giles is an avid windsurfer and has been suggesting for years that I join him on (and shoot) one of his windsurfing trips to Oman. We finally made it work this past summer, thanks to the dates not clashing with my annual summer exodus to Europe. Beyond the usual photography, I set myself the challenge of shooting my first short film, everything from initial concept and storyboarding to the actual camera work and editing. The full monty. My camera’s have been able to shoot video since  Canon launched their 5D Mk2 in 2008 but over the years, I’ve never really had the desire to venture into the world of motion film. Photography was my kinda thing. Till now anyway…

Khareef tells a story of a group of friends who travel every summer to Masirah, a remote island in Oman, to crash out on an empty beach and do the thing they’re super passionate about… windsurfing. Khareef shares their passion, experiences and adventures. They talk about what make Masirah so special and unique. The film wraps with a scary adrenaline rush at Keyhole with intimidating waves, sharp rocks and a small exit.

It certainly was a real adventure for me. I loved putting a film director’s hat on and tweaking the storyline as we went along. Canon Middle East kindly supported me with the latest C300II cinematic camera and cinema lenses. I also brought my own telephoto lenses so I had no shortage of gear to play with. We camped on this wonderfully remote beach without phone, internet or electricity. Fully self sufficient. Living simply. Anyone who knows me, knows that’s just how I like it but our set up did raise some challenges in producing a film. Ultimately, it all worked and we had a blast. My thanks to Goal Zero for keeping us charged with solar energy.

As with the filming, I was keen to do the editing myself… I certainly wanted to understand the process, workflow and basic jargon. The Final Cut’s tutorial videos saved the day, helping me to learn and edit simultaneously.

In preparation, I watched a whole bunch of hardcore windsurfing videos on youtube. The filming was epic but I often found them repetitive in their storytelling so I wanted to create something slightly different. With Khareef, there are three storylines really… camaraderie, destination Oman and, of course, epic windsurfing.  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

A huge thanks to Giles and your fellow surfers… for inviting me into your world and sharing something that brings you so much joy. I so appreciate you sharing your little slice of Omani heaven with me and am inspired by how protective you are over keeping it pure and simple, without growth, development or commercialisation. I think back on the many conversations you had around gear and sail sizes; “Wow, you’re on a 5.7?” “Crazy, I need to get on a 6.3….”. The passion for the surf was conveyed even in conversation, never mind when on the water. So boys, keep on riding those big waves, tackling those stormy winds and taking a step back into a life more simple. We have just one life and you guys are certainly living it…

Wk.