"Directed by Stephen Jones and shot by Dave Homcy, who has some of the of the most poetic eyes in the surf world, the film's music-mostly an original score by Chile's Manuel Garcia-only adds to the film's arresting effect on your senses. A must see film."
Santa Barbara Independent (News, arts, and entertainment newspaper published weekly in Santa Barbara, California)
"A meditative and visually beautiful ode to the coast of Chile. Much has been made in mainstream surf circles in recent years about the wonders of Chile and this movie, quite simply, is probably the best defense to date for this obsession. Dave Homcy, who has a true gift for capturing the sublime through a viewfinder and the resume to prove it, handles cinematography duty in this film from Stephen Jones while Chilean folk singer Manuel Garcia provides a dreamy original score. Oh yeah, and the surfing, from the likes of Joel Parkinson, Dave Rastovich, and Chile’s own Ramon Navarro to name a few, is world class."
Ethan Stewart (News writer - Santa Barbara Independent. News, arts, and entertainment newspaper published weekly in Santa Barbara, California)
"One of the most unique and beautiful surf films I've ever seen."
Michael Albright (Programming Manager - Santa Barbara International Film Festival)
"El Mar, Mi Alma' is a beautiful film, reflecting the fragilities of a land and people deeply connected with the sea. The music is wonderful, the songs sung in a native tongue. The audience is left spellbound by this marriage of unique sound, song and a rare insight into the Chilean culture through surfing. The film makers aren’t selling us anything but the hope this ancient sea culture will survive."
Andrew Kidman (Australian artist of the surfing genre. Musician/writer/photographer/surfboard shaper/filmmaker)
"When I started working on surfing films in the early 1960s, more than 50 years ago, the number of countries around the world which had a developing surfing culture could almost have been counted on the fingers of two hands. At the first World Contest at Manly in 1964 the only South American surfers I met were from Peru in Eduardo Arena’s entourage. Surfing was, at that time, a small tight family, but the seeds were already well-sown for the enormous growth into the global surf culture which exists today. The importance of the surf media, and in particular the surfing film, in enhancing this growth is difficult to overlook.
In the early days we surfers were often seen as social outcasts - fringe dwellers with strange habits, rites and practices. There was no surfing on TV, in fact no TV, no DVD no video; and the only exposure of the wider and already-expanding world of surfing came from a handful of purist surf mags, or when the summer surfing films came to town - projecting flickering 16mm images onto improvised screens in beachfront halls - and then eventually into the cinemas. This was also the time of the gathering of the clans.
These early films were the cradles of dreams; and the hundreds of thousands of surfers who subsequently left their home beaches to travel, explore & ride the endless waves breaking on coastlines and islands across every ocean were so often inspired by the flickering screen images of the surfing film. Some of these films have become classics during the past half-century. Perhaps I have made one or two, which were powerful enough to motivate further searching and exploration?
Now Stephen Jones and Tatiana Velasco are carrying on this tradition with 'El Mar, Mi Alma'. Set in Chile, with a strong environmental message, and interweaving images of South American surfing, Chilean music, art and culture, the film is fated to become one of the classics of the genre. Perhaps it will be the fore-runner of a series of films exploring emerging cultural identities in our ever-expanding surfing world? Not so strangely, as I write this review Stephen is touring 'El Mar, Mi Alma' in Europe, just as I toured in Australia 50 years ago; with little money, living from screening to screening, driven by the all-encompassing passion to tell this story.
It’s a great story, a unique story, filled with images of superb surfing, spectacular coastlines, great characters and devastating environmental degradation. Using the Chilean example, it is a plea to save the planet, and portrays surfing as a metaphor for humanity living in harmony with nature.
Stephen has shown Chile as a land of surfing dreams, and following Rasta in journeys of exploration down the South American coastline will be all those now dreaming of travel & adventure in their future lives."
Paul Witzig (Australian pioneer filmmaker in the surfing genre)
"El Mar, Mi Alma is a rare treat - combining high art and high performance action, stunning cinematography with deep social and environmental themes, a riveting surf travel journey with a mesmerising soundtrack, all in homage to Chile's beguiling coast."
Tim Baker (Former editor of Tracks and Surfing Life magazines. Best selling author of numerous surfing books)
"I have always considered music an important aspect of film making. It embodies the soul of the country and people who are featured. It also crosses cultural boundaries. You can play a piece of classical music - Beethoven, to tribal people in the Amazon or in a gallery or home in Paris and both groups can relate to its timeless beauty.
I particularly enjoyed the music in this film. It created an ambiance that depicts poetically the people and country of Chile. It's strong and yet laid back people are beautifully represented, the country in its sparse and often desolate locations offers a serenity that is in keeping with the ocean. Although at times the sea can be a wild and tormented beauty it also offers a tranquility and peacefulness that compliments our soul. The combination of both make this film a beautiful stand alone piece.
Not in the mainstream, it offers a natural and insightful look at an old and treasured culture. The ruggedness of its coastline and climatic conditions certainly would be testing however, the compensations far outweigh the sometimes hardy landscapes and ocean that prevail.
El Mar, Mi Alma - The Sea, My Soul is a beautiful title, it's a title that aptly represents all surfers - everywhere. The Sea, My Soul crosses all borders and personalities - it reflects the spirit of our lives as surfers and is beautifully presented through the expansion and striking landscapes and seascapes. It's a really beautiful and positive look into the spirit of life in and out of the ocean. A very gentle journey through the soul of a beautiful country."
Alby Falzon (Iconic Australian filmmaker, photographer and publisher in the surfing sub-culture).
"A compelling and beautiful art piece full of soul and beauty. I loved the music and the images."
Mandy Chang (Commissioning Editor - Arts. ABC Television Australia)