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<em>Given</em>

Given


Given

Director Jess Bianchi


Surf fans will remember Aamion Goodwin and Daize Shane as the impossibly good-looking couple with style and grace well beyond that of many of their peers. The duo is back and looking well beyond the traditional trappings of mainstream surf in this poetic film about family, travel, and the pursuit of true and lasting happiness. This visceral and visually poetic celebration of a life less ordinary is told through the eyes of the Goodwin’s son, Given. See giventhemovie.com

Your film has a waking dream-like quality to it and moves along in an anything but traditional manner. Was this intentional?

The film was and is an organic living breathing being that had a mind of its own. I decided early on that I didn’t want to have a traditional drama or conflict resolution story structure. So starting with that we let our travels and experiences dictate the story. Along the way I learned the most valuable lesson: “Just create because the rest is out of your hands.”

Your camera was rolling during some truly intimate moments. How did you get the family to let you in?

I knew Aamion, the father, since we were kids. It took time and learning personal boundaries in the beginning as I got to know the rest of the family. Little by little they opened up to me. It took Given a bit longer. He actually didn’t want us to film him for the first few months of the project. There was a thin line between pushing for the shot and respecting his childhood.

Is your film closer to reality television, documentary filmmaking, or poetic myth making?

If I had to use the boxes that exist I am forced to put the film in the documentary category but I don’t really think that makes sense. The film was an exploration into positive filmmaking and storytelling. Maybe we need more genres?

How did the idea to tell the story through the eyes of Given come about?

Originally, Aamion was going to narrate the film but there was something lacking with that version. One day, as I was editing the film with Aamion’s voice over, Given came over and wanted to hang with me. He was usually not interested in working with me as there are more fun things to do like spearing prawns or surfing waves. But for some reason that day he was willing to try something out. I asked him a few question while recording and then he was off. You can’t keep him still for very long. With just a couple little nuggets of audio I was able to put together something that felt so much more magical to me. In that moment all the problems of the film went away.

What is your favorite moment/lesson in the film?

I personally like when Aamion teaches Given how to make a spear and catch crabs. That was a true father-son moment that I think every parent can connect with.

With a worldwide production like this you must have a million horror stories from the road.

There were definitely a lot of difficult times. The family and crew got food poisoning in Morocco, tick bite fever in South Africa, lost passports, a few heated moments here and there, itinerary issues, but realistically speaking we were very lucky. We never lost a bag.



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