Movie chronicles Oney's pursuit of becoming a professional
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 January, 2015 - Bali, January 12th, 2015—Monday evening marked the Indonesian premiere of the documentary Oney Anwar -Chasing The Dream, launched by Rip Curl South East Asia. The premiere was held at the Beachwalk Theatre, Cineplex XX1, Kuta, Bali. This unique, inspirational and heart warming documentary was recently completed after four years in the making.
Independent filmmaker and producer Karen Elisabeth Donald collaborated with Director Jason Moon and co-producer Marc Senior of End Films, London, England. “Breaking away from the conventional style of surf film, we have approached the film from the perspective of a non-surfer”, explains Karen. “This has helped to give Chasing The Dream the sort of depth and insight rarely seen in the surf movie genre. Although many young Indonesian surfers are blessed with natural ability, Oney seemed to possess the additional drive required”.
The youngest of twelve children, Oney grew up as part of a loving Muslim family and soon developed an infatuation with surfing, thanks to the encouragement of his older brother and devoted mother who would walk him down the beach in the heat of the day to practice. “I get into surfing when I was seven years old”, explains Oney. “The first wave was a little beach break and I love it” “I said ‘I’m going to come surf every day after school’. That’s what I do, and I found out surf is the best for me!”
Brian O'Connell is Oney's "Irish Dad". He first met Oney in Lakey Peak when he was seven years old. Oney approached Brian at age eight and declared that "he wanted to be a pro surfer!" and so it was Brian who raised the funds to get Oney and his brother to Bali for the first time. Brian has mentored Oney and Gazali ever since.
International renowned Surf Photographer Nathan Lawrence was also a major supporter of Oney's childhood and passion for Surfing. Nathan helped Oney by providing second hand Surfboards donated from some of the Worlds best Surfers including JonJon Florence. Nathan also helped Oney to take his first trips back and fourth to Bali giving him somewhere safe to stay and helping him enter his first Surf competitions.
In 2007 Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick, (Rip Curl founder) secured Oney a unique position on the Rip Curl International youth development program and relocated him to the Gold Coast. “He’s taken a greater interest in his education in Australia and is trying to get that balance of education and the surfing,” says Doug. “He seems determined to finish high school, get a pass, hopefully get Australian residency and to put those foundations in place before putting 100% focus into competitive surfing. “
This film documents the remarkable story of a village boy as he endeavours to become the first Indonesian ever to compete on the World Championship Tour. World Champion, Mick Fanning, mentored the Indonesian boy and helped propel Oney Anwar into the international surf scene. As regards the overall feel of the movie, Three times World Champion Mick Fanning sums it up when he says:
“When I was at PBC they started the Sports Excellence Program. I was part of the first ever class, and at the time, they weren’t going to include surfing. So we rocked up to the principles office and said, ‘look you’ve gotta include surfing’. And sure enough a week later he gave us the tick of approval. We wanted to show them that there are different avenues in surfing. It’s one of those things that If you could do a subject in surfing, why wouldn’t ya?”.
Supported by The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the documentary was produced by an international team. The film depicts Indonesia’s rich traditional culture and Australia’s coastal beauty. In addition, Chasing The Dream was shot in high definition with some vintage footage from 60’s filmmaker Dick Hoole. The soundtrack consists of original recordings, composed and performed by one of Sumbawa’s Internationally recognized musicians, Tommee Balukea.
“I’ve been living in Bali for a few years now and every time I leave, it irresistibly draws me back,” says Karen. “When Jason and I first followed Oney back to his village of Lakey Peak, Sumbawa it was a place of adventure and the young grommet surfers were our endless inspiration.”
Sumbawa belongs to the Republic of Indonesia and is situated three islands away from the island of Bali. Sumbawa Island is strikingly different from Bali. The people of Sumbawa don’t know how to exploit its tourism, which leaves them living in extreme poverty. A project to assist the children of Lakey Peak will be launched by producer Karen Donald, enabling viewers to support kids.
“What kids need most in Lakey is the opportunity to get to Bali and compete in gromet events on a regular basis, this will help fast track their skills quicker than anything else”, says Mark Clift, organizer of Lakey Peak Annual Competitons. “Good boards are always important as well. Nangadora village has a bunch of keen surfers who have very little support”.
Rip Curl first spotted Oney at one of their GromSearch Youth Surfing competitions held throughout Indonesia when he was just 9 years old. Immediately seeing his potential to take his Surfing to the Professional World Stage, Rip Curl invested in and supported the young talent helping to develop his Surfing and paying particular attention to his Education, Rip Curl has been Oney's major sponsor ever since.
We are stoked to see Oney's career flourish over the last 11 years - said Rip Curl Marketing Manager - James Hendy. "He has shown incredible determination and has pushed himself through all kinds of situations in pursuit of his dreams and were stoked to have been apart of that. Oney is a shining example of what talent lies in the remote regions Indonesia and this film highlights his career so far.