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Fri, Sep 02


The Backlot Cinema

MORNING OF THE EARTH: Vintage Surfing & Skate Films

Join us in our outdoor cinema for a late Summer evening of elemental pleasure! Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Albert Falzon's classic documentary, often considered the greatest surf film of all time, now beautifully remastered in 4k from the original 16mm.

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MORNING OF THE EARTH: Vintage Surfing & Skate Films
MORNING OF THE EARTH: Vintage Surfing & Skate Films

Time & Location

Sep 02, 2022, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

The Backlot Cinema, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA

About the event

Join us for the 3rd Summer of Epsilon Spires transforming the parking lot into an outdoor cinema!

Picture a picnic under the stars with your friends where you are entertained by innovative films projected on the big screen. Our Backlot Cinema programming celebrates cinema past and present, both popular and experimental, highlighting diverse creative voices from around the world. Space is limited and advanced booking encouraged!

A note about seating in The Backlot Cinema:We encourage our guests to come as if to a picnic – so please bring your own blankets, cushions or folding chairs to sit – you want to be comfortable so bring all the coziness you need! Bar and local food vendors on site. Restrooms provided. In the case of rain the event will be moved into our Sanctuary.

Opening the evening will be a screening of one of the first skate films ever made:

The Devil's Toy (dir. by Claude Jutra, 1966, 15 mins). 

This short documentary dedicated "to all victims of intolerance” depicts the dawn of skateboarding in Montreal. With a shoulder-mounted camera in 1966, Claude Jutra made one of the first skateboarding films in the world, The Devil's Toy. Through the metaphor of this burgeoning sport, he describes the difficulty of being young, the desire to rebel, societal intolerance, and the fear of conformity. Over fifty years later, skateboarding has become a full-blown sport, but has retained its essence, a vehicle for expression, rebellion and youth.

Morning of the Earth (dir. by Albert Falzon, 1972, 80 mins).

To celebrate the film’s 50th Anniversary, Morning of the Earth was meticulously restored and beautifully remastered off of the original 16mm AB rolls. Each and every one of the 150,000 frames was digitized in 4K and underwent a state-of-the-art museum-grade digital restoration process. To match the original projection, the film was color graded, stabilized, de-flickered, scratch- and dust-busted, all while staying true to the director’s original vision and the 16mm source format. The iconic soundtrack was also remastered for a completely revamped experience. A culmination of a three-year effort, this 50th Anniversary edition presents a pristine and timeless copy which the director, Albert Falzon, says, “looks and sounds better than it ever has.”

"The film portrays surfers living in spiritual harmony with nature, making their own boards (and homes) as they traveled in search of the perfect wave across Australia's north-east coast, Bali and Hawaii. The movie is regarded as one of the finest of its genre and noted as recording the first surfers to ride the waves at Uluwatu on the very southern tip of Bali and so bringing Bali to the attention of surfers around the world and so serves as a time capsule of the beginnings of Bali as a major tourist destination."—Paul Gerard Kennedy

From Arthur O'Brian's Review in Sense of Cinema

"Shot in 1971, Morning of the Earth reveals the pioneering spirit of a new breed of Australian surfer who took the short board to an innovative and radical new level. Nat Young, Chris Brock, Baddy Treloar, Michael Peterson and Terry Fitzgerald defined their generation as this particular sport’s elite – young men who lived for nothing else but surfing, dedicated, sea-riding knights. This group, a beautiful-looking, calm-natured generation of surfers, were totally tuned into their natural environment with an almost pastoral, idyllic zeal: contemplative, relaxed and peaceful. Within this sub-cultural strand, there was an emphasis on personal freedom, nomadic “questing”, a romantic connection to the elements, and hedonism. Alby Falzon’s film explores these surfers in their natural, “back to the earth”, soulful world. They possessed all the skills to dominate the sport internationally but would rather “soul-surf”, devotees of a calming, communal lifestyle."

"The opening imagery of a sunrise shot with infra-red photography establishes the film’s use of a variety of optical effects, including lap dissolves and slow-motion filming, lyrically extended in the printing techniques it deploys. The movie’s mise-en-scène is distinguished by its fluidity, achieved by using an optical printer to repeat frames as many as five times, thus slowing, or “stretching” the action by as much as 500% and enabling minute variations in wave-riding to be examined in almost timeless, “eternity-in-a-frozen-instant” detail. This range of visual effects results in a spectacular representation of what it means, or, more precisely, how it feels, to catch, shoot, and carve a wave.

The music is similarly evocative, and music producer G. Wayne Thomas’ award-winning soundtrack remains a classic of its genre. Featuring some of the best Australian musicians of the early 1970s, the music enhances the harmonious union of man and nature, the adventure implicit in riding waves where a sense of total freedom is experienced far, far away from civilisation’s compromises and complexities."

Made with the assistance of a loan of $20,000 from the newly established Australian Film Development Corporation, Morning of the Earth represents the emergent proto-hippie-New-Age, “soul-surfing” lifestyle in a colour-saturated, “psychedelic” manner that resonates with the content; that is, in ways which emphasise the fusion of avant-garde and documentary techniques characteristic of the discourse of ecstasy and delirium. While replicating the travelogue “surfari” form of a number of other surf films (such as Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer [1966] and David Elfick’s Crystal Voyager [1972]), Morning of the Earth replaces voiceover with a music soundtrack that fuses and integrate its episodic “narrative”. Falzon’s film explores a number of themes prominent in underground film (drop-out sub-cultures, eco-hipdom, indulgence in soft drugs) incorporating multiple innovations in form and content, and setting a whole new benchmark for documentary surf movies.

"Falzon employs beautifully crystal-clear cinematography as he records surfing sequences in Australia, Indonesia and Hawaii. Kuta Beach was the location for the first images of Indonesia ever seen in a surf movie. The film also discovered the magnificent left-hander surf break, Ulluwatu, where waves of eight-to-ten-feet fall over a razor-sharp coral reef. In years to come, Ulluwatu’s vulnerable, spiritual perfection would be pressured by international tourism and surfing circles.

Today the film remains the most influential of all Australian surfmovies and a gauge of quality for the large number of current surf moviemakers who film the world’s best riders in exotic locales across the globe. "

"Apart from its superb camerawork, what distinguishes Morning of the Earth is that “flow” which seems to emanate organically from its editing rhythms, and which is enhanced by the liquidity of the music score. All these formal aspects merge to produce the sounds and images of a quintessential body-and-head-trip we could call: “Surfin’ Down Under”."


  • Backlot Cinema Ticket

    Backlot Cinema Ticket Admission for one to Morning Of The Earth: Vintage Surf & Skate Films. Please bring a folding chair, pillows or whatever would make you most comfortable and choose your seating with respect for others. Let us know if you require special arrangements. $2 from every ticket goes directly towards the historic preservation of the venue. Thank you for your support! Popcorn and refreshments are provided. Enjoy the program!

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  • Equity & Inclusion Ticket

    Tickets for this event are $12. Thanks to a generous grant from the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, subsidized tickets are available for those who self-identify as experiencing financial hardship. In order to make this program accessible for all, we are offering tickets by sliding scale. Taking equity and inclusion into account, please pay what you can to help support the artists and venue

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  • Pay It Forward Ticket

    I would like to add a donation to my ticket to express my support and appreciation of the adventurous and intellectually engaging programs at Epsilon Spires. Thank you & keep up the good work!

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