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Factual Documentary Film (Wave Riders)
Start date: Dec 31, 2004, End date: Dec 30, 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Wave Riders is a highly researched indigenous factual documentary film project aimed at promoting harmonious and integrated regional development by increasing the contribution that discretionary visitors make to tourism revenue by attracting a higher volume and spending visitor to the cross-border region of Ireland through marketing and promotion of a film. Achievements: The documentary film Waveriders, having won the Audience Award at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and critical acclaim at the Jameson Belfast Film Festival, had its North West premiere and the local audience was quickly caught up in good feel factor generated by Waveriders and expressed their rapturous approval in a standing ovation at the end of the screening. None could fail to be impressed by the skill and dedication of the featured surfers, te sheer beauty of the waves and the stunning images of the world-class surfing destinations available off the northwest coast of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which are now attracting the best international surfers to the island of Ireland.The completion of Waveriders is the realisation of a long term ambition by Dublin director Joel Conroy of Inís Films who teamed up with Derry based Producer Margo Harkin of Besom Productions to create a highly successful cross-border collaboration. Inís and Besom are grateful to all their funders for recognising the potential impact of a film which tells a fascinating historical story while also promoting an eco friendly and visually stunning image of the border region.The film reveals that it was George Freeth, the son of an Irishman, who re-introduced the ancient Polynesian art of wave riding in Hawaii at the start of the 20th century after it had been stamped out by missionaries. Freeth went on to transform and popularise the sport in California where he became the worlds first lifeguard. History comes full circle as we see skilled Irish surfers link up with world champion Kelly Slater, pioneering Irish American soul surfer Kevin Naughton and the renowned Californian based Malloy brothers in order to ride some of the most exciting surf ever seen in Ireland. The story climaxes with a big wave finale using the newly developed technique oftow surfing as Gabe Davies, Richie Fitzgerald, Al Meanie and Duncan Scott ride a monster wave reaching heights of 50 off the coast of Mullaghmore on 1 December 2007.The many positive audience comments to date have included a comparison to Lord of the Rings which attracted many new visitors to New Zealand on account of the beautiful landscape featured in the film. After its premiere at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Irish Times critic Donald Clarke wrote:Joel Conroy and Margo Harkins cross-border collaboration has united a wide spectrum of talent, skills and resources to realise a shared objective – an award winning film which supports the growth of economic and social cohesion in the cross-border region through the promotion of discretionary tourism to those interested in a beautiful environment and world class water sports locations.
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