“Red Chargers” | #NBFF 2017 Official Selection

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What does the term Red Chargers really mean? What does it mean to be a Red Charger? That’s what is explored in this documentary that follows men and women from around the globe as they converge of the shoreline of Nazaré Portugal in hopes of riding the biggest waves of their lives. Now from the outside this looks like, yet another (well-crafted) surfing documentary. But as you watch, the realization that surfing was only a small piece of the message in this film, quickly becomes the case.

Yes, this was about surfing in the large scope of things, but what this documentary does so effectively, is pull you into the world of these individuals that call themselves Red Chargers. You learn about them on a deeper level to build a strong understanding that, yes while all of them want to surf big waves, they all want to do so for different reasons. These men and women may be fueled by different desires and motives, but it all translates into the same love of surfing big waves, and this film captures that perfectly.

Something this film does so well is organize its information into a smooth balance between the treacherous wave-breaks of Nazaré Portugal, the creation of the Red Chargers, the message of the group, and a glimpse at the men and women from all over the world that are a part of it. It all translates into a compelling saga of these individuals that sacrifice a great deal to achieve their dreams, and most importantly, why they do so.

This film opens with a description of the environmental factors on the coastline of Nazaré Portugal, and what draws these massive waves to the region on rare occasions. We then get to meet the members of the Red Chargers through some very intimate conversations. Something that results in the feeling of being there with the film-crew, actually sitting in on the conversations with them. The interviews are all very natural and feel like people, simply having a chat.

That is what in a subtle way, helps connect you with these individuals, to gather a deeper understanding of why they make the life sacrifices, in addition to endangering their own personal safety, to ride big waves. These men and women are all down to earth individuals, and this film captures that flawlessly. It makes you want to see and hear more about them, and that is a vital element to making a quality documentary. Leaving the viewer wanting more, and inspiring them to look deeper into this topic after the film ends.

Now as for the technical aspects of this film. All you can really say is, amazing. With any documentary about surfing the film techniques can make-or-break the final the result. The camerawork in this one was perfect, with a great blend of overhead drone shots that capture the beautiful landscapes, the immense power of the ocean, and some epic surfing. While at the same time, delivers a very non-imposing style with the interviews and everyday comings-and-goings of the group. That effectively create the feeling of being on the journey with them, and it helps in capturing your attention.

Something else that raises the enjoyment of this film was the fact it never relied on the surfing to hold attention. It easily could have because the footage of the big wave surfing was jaw-dropping. Instead however, this film focuses on the Red Chargers themselves, the group, the message, and the meaning. The amazing surfing footage is second to the information, and that is what gives this documentary so much added substance. It builds the foundations of motivating you to follow your own dreams, through showing how the Red Chargers do so, and it was very inspiring.

“Red Chargers” (Trailer)

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