The man who gave us The Pursuit is back, with a film illustrating Huntington Beach’s favorite son, Brett Simpson, qualifying for the 2010 World Tour. Brett had a monumental year in 2009, and Lieber Vision was there to capture it all. Lieber reflects on the significance and message of the film, despite Brett’s rookie season on the World Tour possibly coming to an end prematurely.
Congratulations on finishing your second film. I’m sure this was a fun one to make, as you got to follow around the world one of your good friends?
Thank you. Yeah, last year was a lot of fun, because it was a year where Brett had to get serious about making the World Tour, and fortunately it worked out.
What is it about Brett that makes you so inclined to work with him?
Brett and I both have a similar work ethic. I want to work and it’s the same with him. I’m not going to say names, but a lot of pro surfers don’t work that hard. Brett is up early in the morning surfing when it’s 2-foot or 10-foot. Every time I would film with him I knew I was going to get at least three clips and that was the incentive. It got to the point where he would be calling me in the morning telling me to get my ass up and come film.
It seems like Brett’s competitive surfing last year reached a new level. What is different about his surfing this year compared to last year?
Last year he was really focused, because it was kind of a make-or-break year for him. It was a year where he had to qualify; when push comes to shove people do what they need to do to make it by. And I think this year on the World Tour it’s all too overwhelming for him, from not having as much experience with the waves, to the talent level being so much higher.
Do you think we are going to see a Go Brett 2 then?
Ha I wish. If I didn’t have a different job then I would probably still be following him around. But I don’t think there will be a Go Brett 2. “Go Brett” is kind of going by himself these days.
What were you going to do with all the footage if Brett didn’t qualify?
If he didn’t qualify, I was going to go more with the angle of “the meltdown year.” It would be the year where he had to qualify and he didn’t do it. Companies only want to show their athletes in positive lights, and to be honest, I think that is bullshit, because pro surfers are also professional losers. Kelly Slater is the most winning athlete ever and he still loses-everyone loses. Second place still means you lost, so I think it’s cool to show the effort people put in.
Do you think him not qualifying would have made a better film?
Brett qualifying is definitely a better movie. But if he didn’t make it and we had good meltdowns and more drama, I think people probably would have got more excited about it. If I would of had a bigger budget with more camera people, I could have got more in-depth with that aspect, but when it’s just me it comes to point of where you’re just trying to get it done.
Go Brett is coming out now, chronicling Brett’s rise to the Tour, just as he may be falling off it. Do you think that takes away from it?
Yes and No. If he went straight into the Top Five like Bobby Martinez did, then maybe the movie would be getting more hype. But at the same time we started off last year thinking, let’s just make some videos and see what happens. Then a few months in, we were like, alright, you’re doing well, so let’s make a film documenting you trying to qualify. We were just kind of winging-it the whole time and then in the end it worked out. I think the fact that a film like this has never been made before can make it stand on its own.
Why should someone watch Go Brett, which is about someone qualifying for the World Tour, when they could watch a movie about someone winning a World Title?
With The Pursuit I was trying to have a message of these are all the kids coming up look at them. Go Brett is almost an extension of that with all the interviews and voiceovers. Brett was in “The Pursuit” of trying to qualify, so I started the blog and began documenting everything. It’s interesting on how someone goes from Point A to Point Z and at that point wins the biggest surf event in the history of surfing; his story is inspiring-it inspired me, and I hope it does the same for other kids out there.