Forget barrelling waves, sports diets and extreme localism, indulge in longboarding, wine, pasta and a unique surf culture more like a giant family. You’re in Italy for God’s sake…
Film maker Jason Baffa along with a host of pro-surfers such as Chris Del Moro and Dave Rastovich, old friends, new friends, family and wave lovers embarked on a trip to Italy to make a documentary film on an emerging and unique surf culture in a country without amazingly consistent waves. Chris Del Moro acted as their guide with the help of his Italian friends, as he’s half Italian and has spent much time there. Along the way they stopped to do a lot of exploring, getting to know people and of course, eat A LOT of pasta and wash it down with wine!
La Bella Vita has only recently been released so after we watched it (and loved it), we caught up with Chris Del Moro to ask him more about the trip…
From the Conception of the idea you must have known it was going to be a different kind of surf film. It’s certainly not for those times you want to see an hour of repetitive perfect barrels over a score of adrenalin music. How did you approach making the film differently, when you couldn’t be certain there would be amazing quality waves?
The Bella Vita film took a life of its own from the word go. To begin with the Italian surf scene is very eclectic and unorthodox to those of many other ocean tribes around the world, so we did our best to merge these similar elements into the making of our film. In the end we created a super blend of documentary, surf / adventure film most of which was captured in age old tradition of shooting 35mm film. It would have been great to have finished with hours of pumping surf footage but that was not the authentic story that Italy wanted to tell, it bleeds family, friends, hand craftsmanship and a huge love for living a well balanced life.
You’ve been a pioneer in merging the travel culture genre and extreme sports film to such an extent. No doubt the Italian surf community has had a new ‘wave’ of interest (pun intended). However Surf communities are notoriously protective and clandestine about their breaks. How has Bella Vita been received by the Italian surf community?
We were lucky to have some of the finest surfers and the community’s helping to make Bella vita happen. You can never make everyone happy, but I feel as thought the majority of Italians are proud of the project and stoked to see Jason’s interpretation of their backyards. In the making of, we were sensitive to keep surf spots unnamed but also to celebrate the larger scope of surfing in Italy. All in all, we were met with such kind hearted people along the making of and since the reception has been equally and positive.
In Bella Vita you introduced your friends and family to Italy. But also younger American-Italian pro’s such as Connor & Parker Coffin, as well as introducing … perhaps to a wider audience, like a debutant for the next generation. Bella Vita had a very warming family feel right the way through, and many scenes of joyous meals almost made me feel I joined the trip myself. On the trip you introduced your family and friends to Italy, as well as introducing the next generation of Italian and Italian American surfers like Conner & Parker Coffin & Leonardo Fiorovanti to a wider audience.Did the trip have a family feel for you compared to other professional surfing trips you’ve been on? And does the Italian Surf community have a family feel?
Family is everything in Italy. Friends are family, families take time to celebrate life with their community’s and this vibe really spreads right through to the surf scene. This trip was like no surf trip I had ever taken, almost every evening we broke bread or wine with a large group of friends. It’s such a wonderful way to get to know new people and their cultures on an intimate level, as well and spend quality time with your family and catch up on time lost. For me nothing beats a pumping day of Mediterranean surf and then a big cook up to celebrate.
Moving on from Bella Vita what are your hopes for Italian surfing? And do you plan to be a part of that journey?
I hope that Italian surfers stay stoked, that the negative aspects of big surf cultures do not spread to their pure surfing community’s and that they continue the beautifully unique take on surfing for years to come. I know that there are small tribes going Italy retracing the Bella vita path and it’s my hope that this creates friendships, economy and a larger collective surf stoke.
WARNING: You’ll want a one way ticket to Italy after watching this film!