On a February afternoon when everyone else in New Jersey is pale and winter-trodden, Alex DePhillipo is tan from a recent trip to Hawaii, where he wrapped up filming Dark Fall. He’s excessively laid-back, even by surfer standards, so it’s funny that the first thing you see when entering his Margate, N.J. home office is a fridge fully stocked with energy drinks beside his hard drive-cluttered desk. Here, DePhillipo elaborates on his new film about a tight-knit group of New Jersey surfers, which his amigo Andrew Gesler says “is going to be unbelievable.”
How would you describe yourself?
All over the place. I can’t be in one spot for too long. I like all kinds of music, all kinds of foods, and I‘ll drink pretty much any beer.
What’s the status of Dark Fall?
I’m expecting it to be put together and edited in two months. We’re shooting to have it out by Memorial Day weekend.
How much footage do you have?
We’ve got about two years worth of film, but we’ve been putting it together as we’ve been moving along, which sort of makes the process easier.
Where did the idea for Dark Fall come from?
I was in Hawaii filming and stuff, working with some big names, and I wanted to get back to my roots. I wanted to do a film about my friends- they charge just as hard as anyone else; they deserve it. I approached my buddy Andrew Gesler, and we just started trying to get everyone together piece by piece.
Tell us a little bit about the movie.
The film takes place here, in Hawaii, and Tahiti. It takes you through the seasons- it starts with winter in New Jersey. A lot of the guys who surf from around here travel and go to Hawaii, as most people do- if you want to get noticed, you go out there and charge Pipeline. Teahupo’o is another heavy wave and Tahiti is really beautiful, so that was more of an artistic thing as well. We had the chance to hook up with Kelly Slater while we were there- he really is a good dude.
Where do you see Jersey surf films heading?
I don’t know, because that’s not really what I’m about. I’m not trying to make a [specifically] New Jersey surf film. I think there’s a misconception that it’s a Jersey surf film and it’s a brand or something. Dark Fall is just a film about traveling and it’s based here.
You’re not trying to make a political statement.
What’s unique about New Jersey surfers?
We’re a small, tight-knit group and we all help each other.
What was your favorite part of filming?
That’s tough because each section is special in a way. I really enjoy wintertime clips because it’s extra hard to get shit done here in the winter. There’s no lighting, it’s freezing cold, with that big camera… sitting out in the cold and constantly trying to focus and get the shot, that was hard. Afterwards, you feel like, Wow, I just did work.
How do you feel about Jersey Shore?
This is for the record: that girl Snookie? I would put a bounty on her. I will never watch it. I think that show has single-handedly destroyed our reputation. Hopefully people know that’s not the real New Jersey.