Review: Wavescape Film Festival


Wavescape“The salt which is in our seawater is in our blood, sweat and tears. Each of us has breathed warm saline for days on end and survived. The lungs themselves derive from fused pharyngeal pouches, and gill slits still form temporarily in all chordate embryos, including humans. This reminds us that something which became Homo did crawl up a beach many years ago. The satisfaction for certain people walking back down a beach and into the sea is akin to that of a long postponed homecoming.”

This quote, from James Hamilton-Paterson’s Seven Tenths – The Sea and its Threshholds, features in the multimedia project at the Wavescape outdoor photographic exhibition. A part of the Seachange project, the exhibition can be seen at Sea Point Promenade until April, and aims to illustrate the scientific research of our point of origin, asserting that we all come from the southernmost tip of South Africa: Cape Town.

Our different shades of ocean and our ever-increasing ocean culture make Cape Town a paradisiac host for the Wavescape Surf Festival.  With a salty line-up of freshly cut films, a fish-fry braai, a sea-enrichment programme of ocean gurus talking at Slide Night and the Seachange photographic exhibition, surfers, ocean-lovers and anyone at all is welcome.

So far Wavescape has successfully managed to turn a love for the ocean and all things marine into a platform for discussion around its conservation and protection. Every event reminds the audience about the need to sustain the sea, with eco-centric and ocean-conscious projects emanating from the fun.

Burnett Wood Surfboards, which featured at the Brass Bell, was an inspirational short film about a journalist who capsized his career to explore a sustainability project of building eco-friendly surfboards. The Save Our Seas Foundation has also been spreading some #goodsharkkarma that aims to change perceptions at a time when a shocking 100 million sharks are being killed every year. Sharks are friends not fodder!

Wavescape is, at its base, surf porn: a showcase of beautiful barrelling bodies of water seducing even this ignorant land dweller into wanting to join the surf culture. All of the films experiment with mesmerising soundtracks and impressive cinematography, capturing  chiselled bodies balanced nonchalantly on their surfboards as they weave in and around sublime scenes of nature.

The venues of each event are just as seductive; Clifton 4th is self-explanatory (basically so stunning I cannot muster any real words), the Brass Bell – a chilled out surfers den right on top of the sea, and The Labia Cinema – perennial home to Cape Town’s alternative subculture.

As someone not particularly fazed by the surf culture around me, one night at the film festival was all it took. My forgotten gills began undulating, and the ocean whispered my name.

Tayla-Paige van Sittert

The Wavescape Film Festival runs at the Brass Bell and The Labia until 14 December 2014. Visit for a full schedule.


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