Interview with Filmmaker Luca Merli | SEA LONE

SEA LONE was selected for the 5th Annual NY Women's Surf Film Festival 2017, directed by Luca Merli. A story of a dream mixed with reality. They went wandering in Sri Lanka with Seeababes Lola Mignot, Karina Rozunko, Sierra Lerback and photographer Luki O'Keefe, amazing creatures from the sea. Living boundless and free, open-hearted and open-minded to the new world. Warm water of the Indian Ocean has been our primordial element, healing all wounds and creating magical and beneficial effects.

sea lone ny women's surf film festival
sea lone ny womens surf film festival

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

I grew up in Italy and England, my home is the world although I’m very well aware of my Italian origins and I like the boot shaped country as a base.

What draws you to surf filmmaking?

I’ve always been fascinated with images of surfing, I love the ocean and surf filmmaking is a good way to be near the water as much as I can… It’s a good excuse to escape city life…

This is not your first collaboration with Seea, tell us a little about that relationship.

This is our fourth film I do with Seea, I’ve see them growing. I love what they do, how they managed to raise a new generation of female surfers. I love the style, the mood and the attitude of the brand. they’re friends, almost family.

What inspired SEA LONE

I wanted to do a film where water was the major element in the film, but I was also attracted by the lush and tropical vibe of sri banks and girls where super excited to surf perfect lefts and right points…Karina, Lola, Sierra and Luki are an incredible group of friends and we had an amazing experience and I wanted this good vibe to come out in the short film… I hope I managed to portray this journey into the jungle, and hope you enjoy it it as we enjoyed doing it. 

What does the ocean mean to you?

The ocean for me is freedom, is wilderness, it’s nature. It’s part of my body, we’re made of water.

What were some of the challenges in making this film?

Well, we had a bad experience with the camera housing on the third day of shooting the water housing was hit by a surf board and the camera flooded… has been pretty tough, for a couple of days I was in shock.. but then, I thought, it’s just a camera… at the end I managed to repair it and we finished the film with the other camera. As they say shit happens.

Can you tell us about the surfers you featured in the film? 

The stars of the film are Lola Mignot, a girl from Sayulita Mexico, amazing surfer, I never seen somebody surfing backside like she does, she’savery positive human being. Karina Rozunko from San Clemente California, she’s always on the right spot of the wave, always smiling, very graceful, stylish and powerful and then Sierra Lerback from Hawaii, she is and incredible surfer both on short and longboard and then there was Luki O’keefe the photographer, they are all good friends and managed to spread good vibes to us all.

Why did you decide to shoot the film in Sri Lanka? Are you allowed to tell us about the surf breaks featured?

Amanda (Seea Creative Director) wanted to do a trip in Sri Lanka for a long time, we have been planning for almost two years. I love Sri Lanka, the food the people and the empty waves… I rather don’t say where we went, hope you’ll understand…

Tell us more about the surf culture and scene in Sri Lanka. How do you see it changing in the next 5 years?

I have been in Sri Lanka many times previously, the first time was almost ten years ago and every year I see more people in the water, surf shops, schools, resorts… mass tourism it’s invading in a very aggressive way but it’s inevitable.  Surf culture is growing but still a niche and very primitive, can be though sometimes in busy areas and also would be nice to se more local girls in the water.

Which surf destination is on your bucket list?

I’d love to go to japan to surf.

In what ways do you continue to challenge yourself as a filmmaker?

Well I’m organizing a festival in Milan Italy about skate and surf it’s called SSFF, I’d like see young generation grow, I like to share experiences and see the culture of surfing grow.

What are is the best travel advice you've received lately?

keep an open mind, it’s my all time favorite travel advice.

What is next for Luca?

I’m working on a new film, it’s journey with a vintage boat around the mediterranean with surfers, musicians, artist, environmentalists…It’s the Ulysses journey backwards from Italy to Greece… I’ve been working on this project for quite a while now…We’ll be launching a Kickstarter in September and hopefully start shooting in fall… follow us on Ondenostre socials to see the work in progress.