Jersey filmmaker's story about surfing paradise Nias wins top awards


A LOCAL filmmaker and director is “stoked” after winning awards at festivals around the world for her new surf documentary.

Point of Change was directed by Rebecca Coley, with contributions from local filmmakers, artists and graphic designers.

Featuring footage from the 70s, interviews and animation, her multi-award-winning film tells the story of Nias, an Indonesian island which changed forever in the 1970s after the discovery of the “perfect wave”, with good surf conditions attracting more and more surfers to the location, culminating in the 1990s when Coca-Cola made a commercial there.

“It’s a classic paradise lost story that has themes about personal and social responsibility as we travel to remote parts of the world,” said Ms Coley.

The film won the Women in Surf Film award at the Portuguese Surf Film Festival in July and won the Best Surf Film award at the Byron Bay International Film Festival in October.

And this month, her film secured the Best British Film award at the London Surf Film Festival.

“It was so nerve-racking,” she said, about the experience. “After spending so long working on something, you just really want the audience to ‘get it’”.

Audiences have reacted well to the film, she said. “It was a big relief… It makes all the hard work worth it.”

She has made seven short films in total, which cover a variety of issues that all address challenging subjects.

Her most recent film, which she has worked on for ten years, aims to start a conversation about environmental issues.

“I wanted the film to encourage people to be more conscious of our impact on the environment.

“The response has been really positive,” she added. “I’ve had messages from people the next day saying they can’t stop thinking about it, that it raised a lot of questions for them.”

She said: “The film would never have been possible to complete without the full support of the producers, Enriched Media Group, whose chairman is Philip Burgin, a local Jersey resident, as well as finance from EMG.

“Much of the funding for the film was sourced from Jersey, showing that there is creative talent in Jersey as well as financial support for independent film makers and artists.

“This needs to be encouraged and supported by government to ensure it continues.”

Point of Change premiered in Jersey in September as part of the Jersey Surf Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. She hopes to offer another screening for locals soon.

Ms Coley was involved in organising the festival through the Creative Island Partnership (CIP), a government-initiated forum that seeks to improve the Island’s creative sector.

The annual event supports charitable causes and showcases local and international films that explore ocean culture.

This reflects the long-standing surfing heritage that has been part of Jersey’s identity for many years.

Ms Coley founded a conservation and education charity in Northern Sumatra in Indonesia 20 years ago after a flash flood hit the area, leaving 1,400 homeless and killing 240 more.

The Bukit Lawang Trust initially took the form of a medical clinic to help those suffering as a direct result of the disaster, before the charity expanded with the support of Jersey Overseas Aid.

Having returned to Jersey in recent years, Ms Coley now acts as a trustee for the organisation.

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