THE MAKING OF DON'T LET GO. A FILM ABOUT WINDSURFING.

BOARDS catches up with Flo Jung, to take a look at the events that lead to the making of one of the most exciting windsurfing movies to hit our screens this year, Don’t Let Go.

DON’T LET GO -Trailer from DONT LET GO on Vimeo.

In general, it is good to have high expectations, but sometimes  even if you try your best, things just don’t work the way you want to. In theses situations it is a real challenge to make the best out of it.

When we decide to produce a film, we didn’t want to produce just another windsurf movie, but in order to make something special, we had to find a way to be different from the others. Our idea was to show various aspects from our life as pro windsurfer and make a documentary about it.

However, if somebody would have told me before, that this takes two years of time,  dedication  and fighting with injuries, I wouldn’t have done it . More over  windsurf movies like ” Minds wide open” or “the windsurfing movie” have set new standards in the last years. This makes it really hard to keep up  with this kind of quality, if you are working with tiny film budget. Anyway, we just gave it a try.

THE IDEA WAS BORN
Robby Swift in Chile. Photo by Pablo Berrios.
Robby Swift in Chile. Photo by Pablo Berrios.

While waiting for the wind during the Capo Verde worldcup in 2010, I was staying with Robby Swift, Camille Juban and Boujmaa in a hotel. There was nothing to do, than to wait for wind and waves. We were watching surf movies and talked about  various ideas to do a movie ourself.  Because the conditions didn’t show up for the rest of the contest we had a lot of time to start working on a new film project. None of us has been involved in a bigger film productions, and we wanted to create something that shows our own vision of windsurfing.  We scheduled to do a long term project in order to gather enough action footage during our trips around the globe.

With no real references  it was complicated find people that believed in our project. After a lot of emails, concepts and convincing phone calls, we recieved a tiny budget from our sponsors and finally managed to start filming during a big swell in Morocco.

We had great conditions  and got some decent footage at Boujmaa’s home spot.

UPS AND DOWNS:

Everything seemed to go our way. During the annual photo shooting season in Maui, we were lucky and shared some monster waves together, filmed by a helicopter at Jaws.

At one night, during a BBQ, Robby Swift came up with the idea to call the movie

“Don’t let go” – having ambiguous meanings in mind – like hold on to your gear, don’t give up trying new moves, or simply never give up.  We had no idea that this title would have such a strong effect on us. From now on “DON’T LET GO” seemed to be our daily attitude. A few days later Boujmaa almost died trying a triple forward. He crashed really hard on his gear, broke some bones, passed out and almost drowned.

Four months went by for his recovery and in the meantime we were trying to sort out more financial support from sponsors to organise the next trips.

When Boujmaa got back on track we had some productive months of filming during the PWA events on the Canaries, followed by an another amazing trip to Morocco with our main filmer Manuel Grafenauer. Again,we were happy and  stoked with our sailing and spent some long days with good action  in and off the water.

The next breakdown wasn’t far.  After returing from Morocco, I recieved bad news from Robby saying that he broken his ankle in Chile. Once more, all the organisation for the coming months changed immediately, as he was going to be out of order for six months. Things got even worse a few days later at the PWA worldcup in Klitmoller. After a hard landing I broke the crucial ligament in my knee and found myself as well on the long way to recovery. We finally started filming in spring 2012 on Maui.

Some people even made fun of us for being injured all the time. As it would have been enough, after the first few days of our trip, Boujmaa got stuck in the footstrap and broke his foot. We were getting worried if there was something wrong with our title and we should rather find a hospital as a main sponsor. The situations didn’t really improve when I also broke my leg, after a heavy wipe out a few weeks later.

Our mood hit rock bottom and I was just about to give up. Instead of being on the water I spend most of my time at the gym for rehabilitation. Everything we worked for seemed to go in the wrong direction.  Nevertheless it is a part of the game to be injured when you are a proffessional athlete. In this sense our dilemma was a way to integrate this aspect in the film.  We are playing with certain risks and sooner or later everybody has to go through tough times. If it takes more than a few months your salary from  Sponsor contract is getting reduced and there is always this uncertainty, if you will ever make it up there again.  On the other side you also realise, that this job is a real privilege to make a living by spending most of your time in the ocean.

HAPPY ENDING

After our recovery, we were more than motivated for our final film stop in Peru. In a little fishing village called Lobitos, we could find some endless waves with no-one around. Every turn felt like a huge relief. Riding these long waves till your legs were burning like fire was probably the best moments of the production. A few days after our arrival, we had more footage than we ever dreamed of. It was like somebody wrote a film script with happy end to a long journey with a lot of ups and downs.

POST PRODUCTION

We locked ourself in a film studio in Germany and basically stayed there for the next six weeks. Our hard drives were filled with  3 TB of footage  from the last two years. It took weeks just to do the selection of the best clips. Another important  fact that takes some time was to find the right music tracks in order to created a certain atmosphere.

Michael A. Goldberg, a german music producer, composed various tracks for us, to raise  emotion within the dramatic movie scenes. In the meantime  Manuel Grafenauer, Leon Jamaer and myself took care of the movie cut.

MOVIE PREMIERS

After the first movie premiers with sold out cinemas in Germany, Chile and Japan, we were more than happy to see all the efforts on screen. The feedback was amazing and it was a great reward for the whole team. Afterwards I realised that this was just another lesson of life. If you stick to your own goals, everything comes together in a ways- even though it invisible at first sight.

So, keep following your goals and “DONT LET GO”!

www.facebook.com/DLGWindsurf

DVD ORDER: www.dontletgo-movie.com  

 

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