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Alumnus jbrother Spoke at Reel Sessions Surf Film Festival
Among the noted guests who spoke at Pepperdine University Libraries’ Reel Sessions surf film festival was a Seaver College alumnus known as jbrother. A dedicated surfer and filmmaker, jbrother presented his films a drift and Longer at the festival, which ran from Mar. 15 through Mar. 17, on the University's Malibu Campus.
a drift is a 25-minute film jbrother describes as a “dream,” with a cast including such prominent surfers as Joel Tudor and Matt Young. jbrother’s editing makes the surfers look like they are dancing to the music, which ranges from Mozart to the Beastie Boys.
“Longer picks up where a drift left off,” jbrother says. The film specifically focuses on the surfing style of Joel Tudor, who has been highly influential in bringing long boarding to the mainstream. jbrother describes the film as a “coming-of-age story of a young man’s trials and tribulations through the world.”
Originally from Long Beach, California, jbrother has been surfing in Malibu since 1981 and has also traveled the world, surfing alongside prominent surfers like Tom Curren, Kelly Slater, and Donald Takayama.
“I’ve kind of been a water baby my whole life,” says jbrother, whose Hawaiian-born mother had him swimming at age two. He stood up on his first surfboard at a precocious eight. He went on to letter in three water sports at Pepperdine—diving, swimming, and water polo—but surfing remained his true love.
jbrother graduated from Seaver College in December 1989 with a degree in advertising. With help from the camera his dad gave him in high school, a few photography classes in college, and a passion for surfing, jbrother pursued the specialized fields of surf photography and surf film.
With his family’s encouragement, jbrother took on the challenge of doing his own filming and editing. Instead of paying exorbitant sums on equipment, jbrother’s college buddy showed him how to edit by simply using a program on a Mac computer.
After creating his first movie, a short promotional for a magazine, jbrother filmed a drift in 1993. At that time, surf films were just quick slices of surfing with lots of action and punk rock music. “I felt like the soul of surfing as I knew it wasn’t being presented,” jbrother recalls. He wanted to make a movie that was reminiscent of the ones he grew up with, ones that had “storyline and feeling.”
These days, jbrother tries to bring an artistic feel back into the surf film world that all viewers can enjoy, not only surfers. “I truly feel like I’ve just been blessed,” he says. “I think the Lord’s been really good to me and I just want to share that good feeling. Hopefully I echoed that in my movies.”
Reporting by Jessica Merturi