Atlantic - A Windsurfing Feature Film - Page 3 of 7 - Boards Windsurfing

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Atlantic – A Windsurfing Feature Film

Director’s Statement:

In the spring of 2002, I visited Morocco for the first time and was immediately taken by this beautiful country. In search of good windsurf spots, I ended up in the small fishing village of Moulay Bouzarqtoune. There was a group of children and young men hanging around us most of the day. Some of them had learned how to windsurf exceptionally well, sharing old, damaged equipment left behind by the tourists.

Years later, I returned to Morocco and became friends with several of these local windsurfers. The better I got to know them, the clearer it became how confusing their living circumstances were. On the one hand they lived in this beautiful surfer’s paradise. On the other hand they lived on the brink of poverty in the face of all our wealth and freedom. They were better surfers than we were but could not afford good equipment. They were friends with European women who wore bikinis on the beach, but they were too poor to marry the women from their village. Western culture had infiltrated every aspect of their lives, yet they could never truly be part of it. They watched us come and go, but for them the borders were closed.

It was during this visit that I first had the idea to make a film about these Moroccan windsurfers. I imagined what would happen if one of them would windsurf to Europe. I worked with my friends from the village to come up with a story which I then developed into a script at Robert Redford’s Sundance Lab and the Binger Filmlab. I also knew that I wanted people from the village to act in the lead roles as much as possible, and was extremely lucky to find that the person who had been the inspiration for the main character, Fettah Lamara, had a real, raw acting talent.

Together with an international crew of Moroccans, Dutch, Belgians and Germans we set out on the epic journey to shoot the film. I wanted everything to feel as real as possible, so we spent three weeks chasing Fettah on his windsurf board through the gigantic waves of the Atlantic. It was a gruesome adventure that pushed everyone to the edge of what they could take and beyond, but it was also an incredibly deep and rewarding spiritual experience that led to a very special film.

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