Emmy winning and Academy-Award nominated filmmaker, Rory Kennedy shared what it was like to tell the story of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton.
"For me I really wanted to communicate to the audience, what drives somebody to surf these ginormous waves, it's like surfing an avalanche."
Kennedy goes onto say that the idea of the film is to really show someone who has pushed the boundaries of human capacity and what he's done personally and how he's pushed the sport.
Laird Hamilton is a storied big wave surfer who has conquered some of the world’s mightiest waves. And in the the surf community, he is also one of the most controversial figures. Hamilton is an innovator who has revolutionized the sport often to the dismay of purists.
"To document someone like Laird and his story as someone who innovates, pushes and doesn't accept the terms as they are, I hope it's something that resonates even if you're a surfer or not."
Kennedy continued to share Hamilton's story is really about a kid who grew up in poverty, who grew up in a broken home, who had a dream and a passion and he followed it despite everything.
Kennedy is known for her hard hitting social issue films so telling the story of a surfer who pushed the boundaries, also pushed the boundaries for her.
"How do you flim a guy on an 80 or 100 foot wave? We debated on whether we should use drones, or jet skis or someone in the water, and ultimately I felt the helicopter was the best way, because part of the challenge with Laird is keeping up with him."
She also found that sometimes shooting an 80 foot wave can look small on camera. Kennedy said if the helicopter was below the wave looking up at him it really captured the shot and Laird much better. But then you find yourself in a helicopter with a huge wave coming at you.
Sheppard wrapped the interview by asking what Kennedy enjoyed most about making this film .
"It was a really wonderful experience for me. I do love the water and I grew up on the ocean and to follow somebody on their journey who is so passionate and who gets so much out of the water was a fun experience for me."