||In the early 1970s, Alby Falzon was a young surfer, photographer and magazine publisher who decided that he wanted to make a really beautiful film about surfing. Scraping together just enough money for petrol and a few rolls of 16mm film, Alby began periodically driving up the north coast of New South Wales with a couple of surfing buddies and ended up creating one the classic surf movies of all time - Morning of the Earth.
A new documentary by Fil Baker, The Life and Films of Alby Falzon, explores the story behind the making of Morning of the Earth and the dozens of other films Alby made all over the world. This 44 minute autobiographical documentary is driven by an eclectic mix of contemporary and often ethereal music, playing over four decades of priceless archival footage and photographs.
Alby is an intimate, engaging and often hilarious storyteller, who provides an insight into his life and films in a way that has never been seen before. The story begins with the young, Falzon grommet taking Box Brownie photographs of his friends, when a chance meeting results in an apprenticeship with Australian surf filmmaker and publisher Bob Evans. Alby worked for Bob for a number of years, the highlight being his first overseas trip to Hawaii, where he captured footage of the massive Winter swell of 1969. In this part of the film, Alby debunks a long held surfing myth by revealing three photographs of Greg Noll, dropping down the face of the so-called, biggest wave ever ridden.
Not long after returning from Hawaii, Alby tells the story of how he joined forces with David Elfick and John Witzig to start Tracks Australias first surfing newspaper, which still exists today (though in magazine form). It is in this period of the early 1970s, in between issues of the newspaper, that Alby would go up the coast to film friends and surfers at little known breaks. As the film reveals, David Elfick eventually becomes involved in the film as producer. Alby recalls the trip to Bali where he discovered Uluwatu, how the original soundtrack came together, and his complete shock at the films theatrical success.
The Life and Films of Alby Falzon continues with the story behind Alby and David Elficks next venture, Crystal Voyager, a film about the eccentric surfer, boat builder and inventor George Greenough. The making of this film has a most remarkable tale about David Elfick and what was one of the biggest bands in the world at the time - Pink Floyd.
From here, the documentary turns a corner into an exotic period of Albys adventurous life that is little known in the surfing world. What began as a one-off documentary about the spiritual gathering of millions of pilgrims in India, known as the Khumba Mela, turned into dozens of films about religious festivals and cultures all around the world. Apart from the fascinating insight Albys camera gives us about the people from far eastern countries like Tibet and Burma, in this section of the film we learn much about the spirituality of Alby Falzon.
The documentary then returns to the surfing films Alby made in the 1990s, featuring some of the best surfers in the world at that time. We then see some fantastic surfing and natural landscape imagery in a film called Globus, which Alby made just a few years ago with renowned cinematographer, Jeff Hornbaker.
The Life and Films of Alby Falzon concludes in the present day at the tranquil home on Albys 60 acre property, where he cares for and feeds injured wildlife, before loading up his boards and driving to the beach for a surf. And it seems that the Morning of the Earth lifestyle he so expertly captured in the early 1970s, is still very much a part of the man today.