The Surfersvillage Interview
Following The Fisherman's Son's debut, Chris Malloy opens up at home
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 May, 2015 - Ventura, California - We caught up with Chris Malloy—pro surfer, filmmaker, clothing designer, Farm Leage co-founder—as he was stepping off yet another plane, returning from one of numerous premiers for his new Ramon Navarro bio-flick, The Fisherman's Son, which was made in partnership with Patagonia.
SV: How did The Fisherman's Son come about?
CM: I'd known Ramon for almost ten years. I'd been going down to that region of Chile for a long time. Early on, Ramon was this neat little Chilean kid that surfed really well. And then we met his family and got to known him really well, and he just kept getting better and better. To watch his rise was really inspiring on a personal level.
Anyhow, all big wave riders have different reasons for why they ride big waves. Some of them are really ugly and disingenuous reasons. And usually they are 100% self-serving. But Ramon's come from nothing, and when he got on the world's stage he decided to use his voice to protect the place he came from. And so I approached him about the film. We knew each other, and he trusted me.
SV: What's the reception of the film been like?
CM: We've been showing it, and everyone's happy with it. It's been fun to screen it for people, and the conversations that come up after the film are really interesting. People refer to it as a surf movie, but it's not really a surf movie. It's the story of a surfer. It's a cool, short portrait. I mean, it could have been an hour longer.
Jeep Cherokee "Born Free," Directed by Chris Malloy
SV: This film was made with Farm League, which you started a while ago, and Patagonia, who you've been working with for a long time. What's your day-to-day look like, juggling film work and family and your work with Patagonia?
I don't really have a day-to-day. Which can be great, but really frustrating, trying to schedule your life around the rhythms of the ocean.
I started Farm League with two partners. It's a way to pay the bills. I mean, I made surf films for ten years and made no money at all. And I have a family, three kids. But it's also a way to push ourselves as storytellers. The more I'm involved in filmmaking the more I'm drawn to good stories.
So if I find a movie I want to make, we get to go to someone like Patagonia and see if it's something they're interested in.
Patagonia's close to home. It's not about big ideas. It's about, like, a pair of boardshorts that are so simple it's ridiculous. We design it for ourselves, for surfing or fishing, the stuff I love doing. Wether it's a board or a piece of hard gear. We focus on one thing. We signed on because we were friends with Yvon [Chouinard], from climbing and surfing with him. I loved his gear and his philosophy. And he told us, “You know, if you guys are down to follow that philosophy and put in some elbow grease, it might work. I'm not looking for dancing bears, I'm looking for people I can really collaborate with.”