When we got an advanced screening of the new Duotone wave team movie, Between the Walls, that has just launched coinciding with the release of the feature you’re reading right now, our first instinct was to find out more about the woman who made it. It turns out I’d met Lidewij Hartog before at a GKA World Cup event where she was caddying for her sister, freestyle competitor Pippa van Iersel. A kite launcher that week maybe, but it seems the 28 year-old Dutch producer lets her real work do the talking. A kiter herself, what Lidewij has produced in Between the Walls, for me at least, is pure, emotional intrigue and connection with the feeling we get from sessions riding waves with a kite.

When we got an advanced screening of the new Duotone wave team movie, Between the Walls, that has just launched coinciding with the release of the feature you’re reading right now, our first instinct was to find out more about the woman who made it. It turns out I’d met Lidewij Hartog before at a GKA World Cup event where she was caddying for her sister, freestyle competitor Pippa van Iersel. A kite launcher that week maybe, but it seems the 28 year-old Dutch producer lets her real work do the talking. A kiter herself, what Lidewij has produced in Between the Walls, for me at least, is pure, emotional intrigue and connection with the feeling we get from sessions riding waves with a kite.

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INTRODUCING LIDEWIJ HARTOG

INTERVIEW: Jim Gaunt ALL PHOTOS: (Another talented lens woman) Svetlana Romantsova

Tell us a little about yourself. I was born 28 years ago in Hoorn in the north of Holland next to a big lake. I longed for the Mediterranean climate, an adventure with a different lifestyle and more consistent winds, so moved to Tarifa a few years ago. After living in the windiest town in Europe for a few years, I was again ready for another new challenge and moved to the city of València last year, where I currently live. I walked an interesting path when it comes to my career in film. I originally studied Cultural Anthropology in Amsterdam and specialised as a Visual Anthropologist. I have a deep interest for all the human and cultural diversity we can find on our planet, which sparked my interest in travelling, combined with my passion for kiteboarding. I have always been inspired by different filmmakers, especially a certain cinematic style. I couldn’t find the same satisfaction watching kite videos, so decided I should have a shot at creating the things I wanted to see myself. Along the way I got to meet a lot of different athletes that shared my vision and I just started creating. I also worked with very different clients in my time at an agency in Amsterdam, where I learnt a lot about the technical and commercial aspect of video work. In the end it’s a very eclectic mix of projects, a lot of learning and trying, but finding ways to transmit a certain feeling is the most important aspect for me. Combining this with my love for adrenaline, culture and travelling, I got myself into a very blessed position.

How did you get booked by Duotone? That was a cool coincidence. I just finished a film project in Tarifa with my good friend, Fabian Muhmenthaler, who is a beautiful character and a Duotone athlete. He gave me full freedom on his short film, so we created something that we felt was a bit different to the norm. It ended up being played in the Duotone office, where Team Manager Craig Cunningham saw it. I had met Craig a few years earlier while kiting together in Taíba, Brazil. When he realised I was that same girl, he gave me a call. They were planning to do a shoot in Mauritius with both the wave and freestyle team and he asked me if I was keen to come along. I could hardly say no!

VIDEO: A BRAVE LIFE - Featuring Fabian Muhmenthaler, by Lidewij

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AIRton

Mr Carew

Lidewij’s little black book

Lidewij, inspiring future film makers

Matchu Lopes, 100% love

Where did the concept of ‘Between the Walls’ come from? It was an interesting process. We had this house for ten days, with five extraordinary athletes, nestled on one the most beautiful islands I have ever been to. We wanted to create something with a lot of soul, that would really grasp the passion for wave riding, but maintain the ‘cinematic’ style I love. On the first morning I sat down with all of them in the living room and asked, “When people watch this video, what feeling do you want to leave them with?”. One important shared belief was that they are (just) human beings, with fears, doubts, passion and emotions. I really tried to do justice to their way of experiencing this lifestyle, being in the water and their friendships. All of this is happening between the walls; the walls of this unique Duotone house, and between the walls of water, that they conquer so amazingly every time.

You have competed yourself a little in kiteboarding competitions, and have been involved in the freestyle scene for some time, with your sister being Pippa van Iersel. How was your experience with the men’s wave team? Was it all bravado and shouting? Were you surprised in any way? Yeah, well, my competition era was not at all as successful as my sister’s, ha ha. I never got to the necessary freestyle level, but I had loads of fun and it helped me connect to a lot of people. That makes filming easier for me, because it feels like a warm welcome of familiar faces. The guys from the wave team were relatively new to me, but I fell in love with each one of them. They are such unique personalities. So different; of course competitive, but also very humble. Compared to the freestyle riders, I was surprised by their playfulness on and off the water; just very down to earth. They really are all so connected to the ocean and truly inspired me (I have switched to wave riding) and it was really rewarding to work with them on this project. I hope they feel the same and that we can keep creating. On a different island, in a different house...

The wave house, clockwise from bottom left: Matchu Lopes, Airton Cozzolino, Pedro Matos, Lidewij Hartog, Craig Cunningham (team manager), Sophia Abreu, Sebastian Ribeiro, James Carew

Matchu loves Mauritius

‘Between the Walls’ is a very beautiful film in terms of atmosphere and emotion. Did you have much of a brief from Duotone / Craig Cunningham? Thank you! I like to hear that it transmits an emotion. We created the concept together with the team, but I’m grateful that I got a lot of freedom in terms of creativity, but that’s not always an easy process. Sometimes it’s more complicated without very clear guidelines as the possibilities are endless, but it definitely makes it a lot more interesting, challenging and eventually rewarding to create. We were guided by the wind and waves, so a lot of the action shots needed to happen in the limited timeframe of good days that we had. The rest we filled up with trips around the island looking for interesting locations. For me it was the first time shooting wave riding, so sometimes I felt like a complete noob. Luckily I had some help in the water and a lot of patience and guidance from the boys.

“The video doesn’t portray the Mauritius that comes to most people’s minds. It is life as it is: beautiful, but overwhelming and daunting at times.”

I think riding waves is very captivating to watch on the screen and these boys throw themselves into huge walls of water everyday. My goal was to tell their story; to give people a glimpse of what they feel on a daily basis and to give it all a raw edge. The video doesn’t portray the Mauritius that comes to most people’s minds. It is life as it is: beautiful, but overwhelming and daunting at times.

You chose James Carew to do the voice over and I think he surprised you a little. Why was that? Tell me a bit more about your impressions of him and his riding if you can. James is a legend. He comes across as this strong and tough Aussie, that doesn’t take life too seriously. (I actually don’t think he does!). We call him ‘The Muscle’ for obvious reasons, but I feel he has another layer that is very connected to who he really is and his surroundings. I really enjoyed working with him. He was very involved with the process of filming and keen to try everything I came up with, even though it must have sounded completely ridiculous at the time. When I brought all the footage together, he naturally came out as the protagonist and it felt right letting him tell the story through his voice.

“He’d shoot craps with the devil himself and charge hell with a bucket of ice water. Need I say more?”

James’ riding speaks for itself, no need for me to explain that. He’s double-backboned and has more guts than you could hang on a fence. He’d shoot craps with the devil himself and charge hell with a bucket of ice water. Need I say more?

James pulls in, always

Muscle’s magical moment

Do you have a standout memory of the ten days you all spent together? A tough one! I think one of the most challenging days, therefore most memorable, was at One Eye. It was a grey day and a real mission to shoot from the boat while trying to stay relatively dry as I’d had multiple heart attacks that trip trying to keep my gear from flooding. The waves were pumping and all the boys were out. We dropped Oswald Smith (guest for the day!) and Aron Rosslee in the water to shoot as close to the lip as possible. Suddenly it started raining like crazy and got really grim and eery. Beyond that, as it cleared up, a huge rainbow appeared in the sky. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it was such a magical moment seeing all those opposites of nature at once. The boys were all out there and frothing and I think that’s exactly the feeling we tried to capture in the video; the raw power of nature, that in its destructive force carries so much beauty. I hope we managed to.

Do you have a favourite clip? Maybe because it was a super hard angle / moment to shoot, or something that came out just perfectly? Perhaps a moment that really reflects the talent of the team or the mood of the shoot? I think one of my favourite clips is Matchu getting barrelled at One Eye. It was actually Aron Rosslee that put himself out there that day with the water housing, while I was shooting from a different angle. I just remember him getting back to the boat, being completely amped about the shot. As we could not check it straight away, we couldn’t appreciate what he was talking about. When we got back to the house and saw it all together, I remember the whole room was filled with pure stoke. Aron’s reaction after coming up from underneath the wave is just priceless. For me this portrays exactly how I felt so many times on this trip. To share that with all these inspiring people was a huge blessing. Luckily we have a video now to experience it over and over again.

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Barrel warp speed

What are you shooting this autumn? I will be in Spain. I actually just shot a new video with another Duotone rider, Jerome Cloetens. This Covid-19 situation makes life a bit more challenging, but I feel it also gives new perspectives. I’ve had time to work on some of my personal projects that were laying around on the shelves for a while and I’m brewing some new ideas for future films. Hopefully there will be waves involved. For now I just hope this virus won’t have us stuck between the walls again…

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