By Pat Fallon | firstname.lastname@example.org
For someone who shot one of the most anticipated surf films this year, Dustin Miller doesn’t talk much about it. Instead of “Slow Dance,” which featured professional surfer Craig Anderson, the filmmaker and Flagler alumnus would much rather talk about the greater meaning behind his work and the subjects his films focus on.
“Slow Dance” gained Miller a lot of attention and made waves all over the world, but Miller looks at the greater meaning behind the film instead of just a popular surf film.
“People intrigue me,” he said. “Humans are beautiful and sad and wonderful and angry and awesome and all these things, and they do crazy stuff. Like crazy things on surfboards or crazy stories that you never would have thought could ever happen. And somehow for someone to trust you enough to document that, it’s really fantastic to me.”
This documentary filmmaker, originally of Richmond, Va., is better known for his work in the surf industry. Less well known are his side projects with his companies, Flesh Profits Nothing and Team Co. Both are based in St. Augustine, Florida, and work on various projects in the commercial and documentary film worlds.
Miller graduated from Flagler College in 2004 with a degree in communications and media broadcast. “I originally began filming and editing surfing and skateboard videos around my sophomore year at Flagler, and I never thought I’d be living in Florida or playing with cameras for a living,” he said. “I think even when I started doing surf and skate stuff, I was always more interested in the story within film, and that’s super intriguing to me.”
“I work really hard for the look of an image, but more importantly, the story we’re telling. I mean whether it is a commercial shoot, or whether it’s a documentary shoot, or shooting with Dane [Reynolds] or Craig [Anderson], or anything. I mean I really hope someone can look at something and go, ‘Oh, that I’ve seen,’ or they recognize it.”
For the last year, Miller’s main project was to lead a team composed of himself and two of the world’s top surfers, Reynolds and Anderson, to create “Slow Dance.”
The 30-minute film was shot all over the world from the U.S. to India to Africa. Known for his careless, edgy appearance and flourished style, Anderson is what the surf industry calls a professional free-surfer. Although Anderson was the featured surfer in which this film follows, Reynolds and his production company Marine Layer productions edited the film. Reynolds is arguably the most popular free-surfer in the world due to his uncanny abilities in the water, as well as his ability to keep the entire surf industry guessing on what his next move will be in or out of the water.
This is where Miller came into the picture. “I met Dane at a WCT (World Championship Tour) in France, and we kind of just hit it off,” Miller said.
They became friends, bonding over different cameras and what music they both like, and eventually Reynolds asked Miller to make a film with him. “Slow Dance” has been shown in the U.S., Spain, France, Japan, Australia and Italy, and is available on iTunes where it received four and a half stars.
“Slow Dance is a great film because it is an unexpected film,” said Todd Prodanovich of Surfer Magazine. “It is impressive without taking itself too seriously, and that disarming quality is one of its biggest strengths. In the world of Free-Surfing, there is no greater test than a signature film. Your video performances are pretty much the only yardstick you have. Craig’s surfing didn’t really need any validation per se, but ‘Slow Dance’ certainly reinforces his place in our culture and shows us why the spindly 24-year-old with big hair manages to keep us all captivated.”
After the success of “Slow Dance,” what’s next for Miller? Miller said it’s simpler things, like supporting his wife, Angela, and her new job as a Physical Education teacher in St. John’s county. Also, being a father of four, two of whom are in diapers. He plans on taking a break from surf films for a little and working on new projects that he hopes will one day do lead to what he calls “dream shoots” with companies like Nike and Levis.
Asked if “this was the dream job?” Miller answered, “I wouldn’t want to do anything else, ever.”