At the beginning of 2020, Filmer Tai Jennison was originally planning to high-tail it Mexico and work on a film project with Sunshine Coast surfer Keanu Miller. While COVID quickly put the kaibosh on that idea Kai wasn’t content to sit on the couch and succumb to the COVID blues. Instead, he began working on a long-form film project with Sunshine Coast crew, Noah Stocca, Alister Reginato, and Cooper Davies. With no WQS contests to compete in the talented trio used the film project as an opportunity to push one another in every session.

‘Home Bros’ is due for release on Feb 7. Below Tai talks through the highs and lows of making a long-form film in an Instagram Age.

What’s the motive for going with a longer form film? As opposed to producing a series of clips? 
I guess the whole idea of doing a longer film came from the clips we watched growing up. It seems that these days a lot of people are either focused on putting out their own 3-5 minute 1 song video part or they’re consistently pumping out episodes (vlogs). Which is cool as well! But we just kinda thought "hey, why not mix it all up and do something a bit longer?”.  

Does it still deliver more satisfaction to go longer form?
It's definitely more satisfying when you finish a project like this as opposed to a smaller clip. We put a lot of work into this clip and really wanted to make it something that we could look back on down the track. 

Is it a straight point and shoot style action film or did you try to be a little more creative? 
We tried to break it up a bit with lifestyle but didn’t want to overdo it. It is mainly just a collection of the best surfing clips we had from the past 8-10 months broken up with some lifestyle / handy cam footage. I definitely did try and be as creative as I could with it though. 

Are you conscious of sustaining audience interest in an Instagram attention span world? 
It’s hard these days as you can scroll a few times and watch a few great clips. That’s really cool and all but it doesn’t seem to be doing surf clips much justice. People's attention spans are a lot smaller these days with Instagram and other apps alike. I’ve tried to keep it pretty upbeat and action-packed as well as include a bit of behind the scenes type footage, I find that is something people like to watch and keeps them entertained.

Taylor Steele had a knack for nurturing healthy competition between his featured surfers. Did these guys push one another in sessions? As a filmer/director, how do you try and get the most out of the surfers? 

Taylor Steele, Jack McCoy, Kai Neville… all those guys I’ve looked up to have filmed a huge variety of surfers but also had their particular crew of guys which I think is super sick. Being a filmer you are always with the surfers so when you aren’t surfing and shooting you are normally just hanging out, going through clips, editing, partying, travelling, etc. so you definitely want to be getting along pretty well. These guys have always been more involved in the competitive side of things, so I think they have a natural tendency to try and out surf each other. I noticed when we would browse through the clips afterwards and someone had a better wave banked from that session it would always push the other two to try and get one as good or better the next session and 9 times out of 10 they would get a better one.

Drinks break at The Office

Best/most memorable session? 
There was one day in particular in which I think the whole east coast pretty well fired up. That was one of the best days I’ve ever seen on the Sunshine Coast, hands down. We shot from 6am-5pm then wrote ourselves off that night, f**k it was fun! 

Most memorable wave? 
Probably that same day. Noah got a pretty psycho one that morning which fired everyone up a little bit I think. It was just one of those days of surfing that will be burnt into our brains for a long time.

Alister, Noah, and Cooper are all Sunshine Coast guys. Is it a scene with a lot of good surfers at the moment? 
It’s pretty weird how the Sunny Coast has always produced so many good surfers, considering the wave quality. It’s not the most consistent of places but that almost makes the guys and girls who want to get better work with what they have and not just surf when it’s decent. You definitely see a lot of groms that can surf pretty well around the coast these days too. 

How far and wide did you roam while making the movie? 
I’d say about 80% of the clip was filmed on the Sunshine Coast with a little bit from some other zones in QLD as well as Central and Northern NSW.

Are you conscious of sustaining audience interest in an Instagram attention span world? 
It’s hard these days as you can scroll a few times and watch a few great clips. That’s really cool and all but it doesn’t seem to be doing surf clips much justice. People's attention spans are a lot smaller these days with Instagram and other apps alike. I’ve tried to keep it pretty upbeat and action-packed as well as include a bit of behind the scenes type footage, I find that is something people like to watch and keeps them entertained.

2020 was a crazy year. It’s kind of cool that you will have a film that documents surfing from the Covid year. No one will forget 2020. 
Yeah, well it hasn’t really been until now that we’ve realised that. 2020 was a very different year to say the least and it is super cool to now know that we have documented it all!

What kind of obstacles did Covid present? 
I was in Hawaii with Keanu Miller when it started to get bad and got home a day before they brought the hotel quarantine rules in. So I was just at home for 2 weeks kind of tripping on what I was going to do for the next few months (not knowing it would go on this long). Keanu and I had planned on doing a Mexico film project not long after Hawaii and then I was going to Europe for a while. The boys QS events were all put off too so they were in the same position really. That was a bit of an obstacle but I think in the end we were pretty grateful for where we were stuck, and how everything had panned out here in Queensland.