The Wizards of Oz
Hello from tomorrow. And what a great day it is.
Sunday morning, I arrived in Sydney—because of the time difference, I missed Saturday altogether—and began part two of my tour of the most beautiful beaches in the world. For this leg, I am staying on Bondi Beach, which has become something of a cosmopolitan celebrity haven. After catching up on work and touring the beach, I met our photographer, Scott Needham, and had a terrific dinner at Long Grain in downtown Sydney. (Another suggestion, if you’re ever in the area, North Bondi Italian and Icebergs. Great food; amazing views.)
I’m here to write a story about the Bra Boys, a local surf gang from Maroubra Beach that I suspect you will hear a lot about in the next year or so. Their documentary, Bra Boys, was released in Australia last year and is the second-highest-grossing Australian feature film ever, after Happy Feet. Proving my theory: People love penguins. Just think what Bra Boys could have grossed had they thrown in a penguin or two. (Take note, Russel Crowe!)
The documentary debuts in the U.S. at the X-Dance film festival in Park City, Utah, in January and will be released in theaters/video stores in March. Russell Crowe/Brian Granger/Imagine bought the documentary, as well as the life rights to the three Abberton brothers, who the film centers around. The Hollywood film will be Crowe’s directorial debut. He told the guys he believes Bra Boys will be his Braveheart.
Yesterday, I spent hours touring Maroubra with Sunny Abberton, the oldest of the brothers and the director/writer/producer of the documentary. Sunny spent years researching the history of Maroubra, studying its culture and how it fits into the socio-economic structure of Sydney. He wanted to know why his beach and the kids it produces are so different from the beaches bordering it. Why is life so difficult for these kids, and what can be done to break the cycle? Sunny is certainly not the first Bra Boy to wonder Why? But he was the first to actively seek out an answer. And he did so with a passion that is infectious. And probably the sole reason the film saw the light of a projector.
During the week, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with several of the Boys, their girlfriends and the kids they are desperately trying to guide down the right path. They’re good people. Doing honorable things. And with a whole lot of forces fighting against them. I am honored to tell their story. It’s an important story, and applicable to so many areas around the world. These guys inspire so many young kids here, and I believe there are many kids much like them in the U.S. who could use their inspiration. I wish I had more time to spend in Maroubra. The week is slipping away much too quickly.
That said, I’m off to bed. We’re surfing in the morning.
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