We discovered this video a while back and thought it’d be a perfect addition to our #WorldWeek installation. We liked this short so much we hunted down filmmaker Stefan Hunt who was roaming Africa and asked him a few questions. PHOTOS x Chrystal and Joel.
From his website:
When asked what he hoped to achieve through his latest film The Land Of director Stefan Hunt responded; “I approached this project with a simple goal. To illustrate that travelling with a purpose and having a positive impact – no matter how big or small – is achievable for everyone. You just gotta do it.”
The Land Of is a three part web-series that follows a diverse group of five surfers as they travel through Thailand, a place known more for its party scene than its surf culture, as they seek to find a sense of purpose and some sweet waves. Along the way they collaborate with non-profits and communities throughout their journey to distribute ‘Waves for Water’ filters, take part in the Bangkok Flood relief, lend a hand at Baan Santisuk orphanage and teach local groms how to catch waves and trust the ocean again post the 2006 tsunami.
Director Stefan Hunt (IM LAURA, Somewhere Near Tapachula) has once again created something that moves beyond surf in his mission to inspire positive change through creativity. The Land Of is a completely independent project, funded by those involved. This project capitalises on the power of creative collaboration with stunning visual imagery captured by cinematographer Campbell Brown and music provided by emerging artists from across the globe. Featured are tracks from OXBLVD, Streets of Laredo, MT Warning, Jonny Higgins, Open Swimmer and Flood Coats. Crew – Joel Fitzgerald, Chrystal Jameson Fitzgerald, Ed Worland, Jack Entwistle, and Nick Riley.
Give us a bit of your background in your own words.
I’m really tempted to just describe what is behind me in my room right now but I may confuse people, so here’s my serious answer.
I grew up in the Australian country before relocating to the coast where I discovered the ocean. I became friends with some surfers, started riding waves real kooky as well as making films for fun. When I finished high school I continued to do this. Ride waves kooky and make fun films. Over the last 9 years I’ve been pursuing this “career” and roaming the globe in search of stories to tell that will inspire positive change in the world.
I heard about waves in Thailand and wanted to discover them first hand. It was a location A friend then told me about an orphanage there where the kids surf and it was something I could really relate to. In 2010 I had made a film in Mexico (Somewhere Near Tapachula) about an orphanage there where the kids surf and the life changing impact that the ocean had in their lives so I saw the potential to do the same in Thailand. The project evolved from there and once I organised a crew we decided to partner with several organisations throughout Thailand that were all doing really positive work in their local communities.
Thailand is known by many as ‘The Land Of Smiles’ and its easy to see why when you travel there. Their hospitality and genuine nature makes you feel so welcome from your first day in the country that it’s hard to leave. It’s always a humbling experience to interact with with the locals who have a lot less than you in a materialistic way but are just as happy because of where they place their values in life. It’s what always attracts me to developing nations, that feeling of a simpler, slower life.
What is your connection with Joel and Chrystal?
I hadn’t met Joel and Chrystal before I approached them to be on the trip. We had mutual friends and it just so happened that we were connected at a time when the trip was in pre production. In fact the entire crew didn’t really know each other but that’s what made the trip so unique. We were all there with a common goal – To illustrate the idea that travelling with a purpose and having a positive impact no matter how big or small is achievable for everyone, you just gotta do it. Joel and Chrystal fit in perfectly and really live that ethos in everything they do. Truly inspiring individuals.
I heard about the orphanage through a mutual friend. They were familiar with some of my previous work so recommended I check it out. That’s generally how I hear about non profits and organisations is through friends but I have recently heard about http://www.idealist.org where you can find volunteering opportunities specific to your interests. Definitely worth checking out.
You mentioned that you are in Africa right now. Are you there for business or pleasure?
I was in Africa just for fun. Traveling around, snapping photos and busting out dance moves that many people have never seen before. It is definitely a part of the world I’d love to do a project some day. Africa makes you feel alive with joy, fear and laughter all at once. Truly amazing.