Interview with filmmaker Luca Merli | Director of Lunar

LUNAR WAS SELECTED FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL NYC WOMEN'S SURF FILM FESTIVAL 2016, FEATURING LEAH DAWSON, AND DIRECTED BY LUCA MERLI. INNOVATIVE WOMEN'S SURFWEAR BRAND SEEA TEAMED UP WITH ONDE NOSTRE FOR LUNAR. IN THIS SHORT FILM, DAWSON EXPRESSES HER ART - SURFING, SHAPING AND MUSIC - THE UNIQUE LANDSCAPE OF FUETEVENTURA IN THE CANARY ISLANDS. 

leah dawson lava girl surf lunar nyc womens surf film festival

Where did you grow up and where do you call home now?

I grew up in Milan and London but I always called the ocean my home.

How did you get started in filmmaking and why? 

I started taking photos as a teenager and I soon realized I was into telling stories, it came natural to move from stills to filmmaking.

How did Lunar come about?

I was talking to Seea's Creative director Amanda Chinchelli and my friend Betta Dal Bello they both know Leah Dawson very well, she's sponsored by Seea, Betta and Amanda have been traveling with Leah few times and they ask me if I wanted to do a short film about her, we invited Leah in Fuerteventura in Canary Island, I wanted to make a parallel between Fuerteventura and Hawaii where Leah usually lives, Both islands are in the middle of the ocean and both are hit by huge storms. When I met Leah I soon discovered she has a deep vision about life and a great attachment to the ocean, I also learned she has an amazing voice, I was also blown away from her surfing style and her vision. I wanted to make a dreamy romantic insight on Leah, get close and confidential.

What was some of the challenges in making this film?

The main challenge has been the weather, we had only few days to film the short but we were lucky, we had to wait just a couple of days while Leah found the time to shape herself a new board with the help of a local shaper at Joyas Surfboards and then finally we got a massive swell from north west.

Where was the film shot? Tell us more about the break? 

As I was saying it has been shot in Fuerteventura in the Canaries islands an arcipelago in the Atlantic Ocean west of Morocco, It’s a great palace for waves, it’s usually quite windy but in autumn can be great. Usually swell come from north east in summer and north west in winter, we where there at the beginning of October when wind start to blow from east to west.

Tell us more about the surf culture and scene in Spain? 

Well in Europe we consider Canary Islands the European Hawaii. In Spain the surf culture is growing strong, there are great surf spots in the north of Spain but Canaries are still pretty wild and some time there’s quite a bit of Localism, lots of people from all over Europe reach the islands and in some places it’s important to respect the locals.

Is there a discrepancy with the number of women and men that surf in the water in Spain?

There are few women surfing in Canary Islands but the number is fortunately growing. 

Do you feel that women’s surfing has improved over the past decade? If so in what ways?

The number of women surfing has increased for sure maybe thanks to a different approach in surfing, the revival of alternative boards and also I think thanks to surfers like Leah who are a great inspiration for girls all over the globe.

Where has been your favorite places to surf and shoot surfers?

Well difficult question, I love some may places for different reasons… I would say that Maldives is pretty high on the ranking right now: great surf, incredible quality of the water, coral barrier still intact, not so crowded, it’s exotic… but I like to travel and discover new places everytime...

What can't you live without when you travel?

My eyes and my soul.

Where do you find your personal inspiration? 

Everywhere, from music to dance to film, my friends and surrounding.

Whats next for Luca Merli?

I’m about to start a new project, we’ll be traveling with some surfers from all over the world with two vintage sailing boats in search for undiscovered beaches and spots in the mediterranean sea following Ulisse’s journey.

luca merli lunar lava girl surf nyc womens surf film festival
luca merli lava girl surf nyc womens surf film festival