Interview with Surf Filmmaker Steven Briand | Director of Aloha Nalu

Aloha Nalu was selected For the 4th Annual NYC Women's Surf Film Festival 2016, featuring Malia Manuel, and directed by Steven Briand. In this film, Steven worked with Team O’Neill surfer and professional athlete Malia Manuel to capture a unique perspective on a single day’s surf session in Western Australia. Utilizing drones for the majority of the videography, Steven plays with perspective, taking the viewer into, above, and beyond the waves.

malia manuel nyc women's surf film festival 2016 lava girl surf

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

I grew up in Nantes, France, and I live now in Paris. 

How did you get started in filmmaking and why? 

I've always wanted to create images, I started by drawing, I got in an art school to study animation and my graduation project was mixing animation and live action. So I started working both as an animation director and a live action director. The link between my works being the aesthetic, the will to create unusual images. 

How did Aloha Nalu come about?

O'Neill contacted me and various other filmmakers because they were looking for unusual perspective on surf films. So they challenged us who never did any surf film to suggest an original take on this type of film. Drones felt like a way to give an epic scale to the discipline, to show both the incredible talent to surf a wave and the insignificance of human facing the sea. I like this relationship, surfers are great athletes, and at the same time very humble towards the sea. I wanted to give a feeling of the why it's that way.

How did you come to meet Malia Manuel featured in the film?

O'Neill suggested various athletes they sponsored for the film. Malia is in the top ten in the world so she was a solid choice to get some cool images. Plus I liked the idea to show a great surfer who wouldn't be a blond Californian girl as anyone would spontaneously picture. She is Hawaiian, she is beautiful, and she is one of the best in the world. Choosing here was quick.

What was some of the challenges in making this film?

Wow, a lot. This could be an interview on its own. To stay politically correct, I will say that Aloha Nalu is like a sausage: as long as it's good, you don't want to know how it's made. 

Where was the film shot? The surf breaks? 

We shot on the side of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro competition, on Prevelly beach in Australia. Amazing region of the world, great atmosphere, great people, great energy. 

Tell us more about the surf culture and scene in Australia? is that where it was shot?

Honestly it was my first time in Australia, first time on a surf contest, first time shooting a surf film. So all I can say is that people were super chill and relax, which contrasts a lot with my day to day Parisian life. So I clearly enjoyed being there, without knowing if people were that kind because they were surfers, australians, or just because I am too used to stressed people in Paris. 

What can't you live without when you travel?

I can't live without my sketchbook, I draw and write a lot. 

Where do you find your personal inspiration? 

Everywhere: music, films, discussions, travels. Anything where a feeling or an idea is expressed in an unusual way. 

Whats next for Steven Briand?

Currently preparing a tv series we shoot this summer in Paris. Finishing a short film at the same time. Writing some scripts for even bigger projects. If you want to stay tuned, you can check out my fb and Instagram page. Look for "Bounty Banana". 

Aloha Nalu Steven Briand NYC Women's Surf Film Festival
aloha nalu steven Briand nyc women's surf film festival 2016 lava girl surf

Join us for the 4th Annual NYC Women's Surf Film Festival.  August 12-13, 2016 - At the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. For more details you can go to