powerful because it reminded us of the essence of who we are, what life is about. When I think of G.Wayne Thomas’ ‘Open Up Your Heart’ I think it’s as important as that song and I think it’s right up there with Lennon-McCartney pieces.... open up your heart, all you need is love, great mantra’s. I gotta give him a big tick for that. It’ll out last all of us and I’m so fortunate that it came about for the film at that point in time. You think that things just happen sometimes but when you reflect back on them you realise in your life, there’s no accidents, you can fit the pieces of the puzzle together as you get older and have more experiences. You don’t realise at the time, why things happen but when you go down the path a little bit and reflect back on them you see that that was done for that reason and it connects to that etc and the picture starts to open up even more. I think that song, it came to us was a really perfect song at a perfect time and it’s just as important now as it was then. TLP: Had you wanted to make a film and was Morning of the Earth in your head long before you got around to making it? AF: I got taken under the wing of Bob Evans who is like the Grandfather of Australian surf movies. He died when he was 44 but before he died he made 12 or 13 feature-length films, how he did it was just beyond me, getting the money, you know, he did everything himself. I met him and he became a mentor for me so it was another one of those pieces of the puzzle that came into place and I started working with him and helping him on his surfing magazine, Surfing World, which was one of the first magazines in Australia, I did some film work for him but all the way along, ever since I was little, even before I got my surfboard I just always felt attracted to photography and as I’ve mentioned, when I started surfing, I just wanted to capture that. Then I started thinking about making a film. I never thought about anything beyond just making a film about surfing, capturing the beauty of it and that evolved and we stumbled through it, without a plan or any money. It was all we could do to find enough money to put petrol in the car. Somehow the pieces came together and it was capturing a lifestyle because that’s how we were living at that point in time. So it all came together because I just wanted to make a beautiful film about the planet through surfing and that’s what happened and the title for it actually came after
we came back from Bali. The saying, Morning of the Earth, I think it was the Indian Prime Minister who went to Bali, I think it was Nehru who went to Bali and said that it was so beautiful it was the morning of the world, that’s what he called Bali. We changed it to Morning of the Earth but that’s where it came from. TLP: The title is strong. AF: It’s a timeless title, it’s like you were saying earlier, you’ve only got today, yesterday’s kinda history in a way and tomorrow we don’t know what’s going to happen. You can plan for the future and you can have dreams and you can reflect back on the past because that makes you what you are but the reality for all of us in this world, we only have today and each morning you wake up it is just that, the morning of the earth. It’s the beginning of another cycle. It’s a timeless message, the title of the film, that we are living on this finite planet and we are custodians of it. That’s what we talked about earlier, the magic of the moment. Photography reminds us of that. Up here, where I live, reminds me of that too. Enjoy the moment. TLP: Was the positive aspect of making Morning of the Earth something that goes beyond surfing? AF: Oh yes, I think so. A lot of people today are disconnected from their relationship with the earth and planet and what ‘s going on because of their circumstance and situation with mortgages and families and career’s and I think the movie, through surfing, reminds people to be connected. When you’re surfing and riding the wave, that time you are in the moment of connection and everything else disappears. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, on land because something takes over. And that’s the connection with nature you have when surfing. That exists too when you’re climbing a mountain or bushwalking, whatever, same thing. All the technology we have is great because it connects us on a different level but one shouldn’t rule out the other. Morning of the Earth reminds people to stay connected. It’s a beautiful, subtle film and that’s why people relate to it. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you’re a dentist, a surgeon or picking up the garbage, you should stay connected to
surfing if it’s something you did when you were younger. It makes your life better. If you’re a surgeon and you surf, I think surfing makes you a better surgeon. TLP: The music on the film. How did that come together. AF: Most of it came about after the movie was shot. We created these small vignettes and those sequences were passed on to different groups and in the case of Tamam Shud, who were all surfers, they were able to identify with it. The pieces were passed out to different musicians like Terry Hannigan, Brian Cadd, G.Wayne Thomas, they created music for the sequences. Not all, Simple Ben was created without John J. Francis looking at the footage but most of it came about through that process of the musicians living and working with that footage for a while. TLP: All around the world, people from all walks of life continue to see Morning of the Earth for the first time. How does that make you feel? AF: It’s not something you think about when you’re making the film but I think it’s important for people, all over the world, to re-align themselves with positive films and literature or music and that’s the power of the media. You can use it in a way to enhance people’s life’s and shift their consciousness and film is important in that. The cinema is powerful because, when the movie starts, everything is locked out. Putting out positive thoughts and enacting that is very important. The world is changing at a rapid pace but if you can find that bit of peace, then great. The world is foremost, how you are. There are so many different takes on things and great contributions can be made simply by being at peace with yourself. TLP: As Charlie Chaplin said, “Smile”. AF: Ha, yes. Life is how you are. Energy can come from thought and what you think can often materialise. If you can create good things, they will remain after you’re gone. TLP: You continue to be a great part of Australia, the world and thank you so much for taking time to be in the magazine Alby. AF: I’m honoured and thank you so much Greg. You do what you do in life, you plant the seed.
The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special