July 20, 2009





Initially, Tiffany Morgan Campbell and Andria Lessler planned a small scale movie, to focus on a few surfing friends. The project eventually swelled into Dear & Yonder, a sweeping (but somehow still intimate) portrait of female surfers. So named because it encompasses those who surf the “dear” (their backyard breaks) and the “yonder” (far-flung waves), the film was enthusiastically received by those Lessler and Campbell approached—a cast that included Prue Jeffries, Coco Ho, Liz Clark, Ashley Lloyd, Kassia Meador, Stephanie Glimore, Linda Benson and Belinda Baggs, among others—and soon found a strong supporter in Roxy, who’d previously worked on films with Campbell’s husband, artist and surf filmmaker Thomas Campbell. “When we were working with Thomas, he started to plant the seed about his wife’s upcoming project, so Tiffany and I met to discussion her vision and direction,” says Danielle Beck, Roxy director of sports marketing and entertainment. “It’s a film about women and water, yes, but it’s an artistic adventure that speaks beyond surfing and love of the ocean. It explores what drives these women to be travelers, explorers and artists, and celebrates their individual style while getting their stories out there. It’s very exciting!”

Meador was another one who didn’t need much convincing to sign on, as she’d been a longtime fan of Thomas Campbell’s surf films and also of Tiffany Campbell’s first film. “A few of my friends were in Going Nowhere Faster, and it was a fun movie with a lot of good skating,” she says, “so when I heard she wanted to make a surf film, I thought it was a great idea. From the beginning, I felt confident it would show where the women’s water lifestyle is and where it’s headed, and do so in a very beautiful way: It doesn’t just involve the top eight women’s shortboarders, but also longboard stylers, waterwomen, shapers and soul surfers.”

“We just chose the stories that were interesting to us, and looked for people who had the same sentiments that we did,” Campbell says. “And it was pretty cool, once we started approaching different women about being in the film and telling people what we wanted to do with it, they were all so stoked.” Campbell and Lessler’s ultimate mission was to get off the world tour and document the often-untold stories of women’s surfing. But, Campbell points out, “we thought it was important not to be in peoples’ faces about it being a girls surfing movie. We just wanted to show these women—and let you take what interests you.”

For Belinda Baggs, though, and many like her, the fact that the film was a girls surfing movie is a huge part of what made it so special. “I’ve never worked on a ‘girls’ surf film before,” she says. “I am usually one of the only women working with a group of guys, so this was an entirely different assignment.” And unlike during the filming of GNF, this time, Campbell didn’t sit anything out. “They were organized and creative and, no matter how tired we were, always keen to surf if the waves were good,” Baggs says. “Food and rest were always second to water time, which is just how I like to operate!”

Filming the yonder parts of the film took the duo to Australia, Mexico, Tahiti, Indo and, most memorably, the Tuamotus Islands, to visit Liz Clark on her round the world sail. In the process, Campbell’s own view of surfing changed, due mainly to hours sitting on the beach, watching. “It’s really difficult to stay on the beach when the waves are perfect, and if not for the movie, I would never have done it,” she says. “But I stayed put on the beach for hours, not just watching, but analyzing it, on an almost microscopic level, through the viewfinder. So when I would finally get in the water on those days, everything becomes intuitive. It’s like I’ve been blessed by the surf fairy.”

“When they weren’t filming, they were in the water spazzing out, surfing as much as they could,” Meador says of Lessler and Campbell. “They aren’t just filmmakers making a surf film, they’re surfers making a surf film. I think that’s going to set this apart from the rest.”

**Check Dear & Yonder for local tour dates***

See our “Backstage” gallery for photos from the Venice premier!

-Kate Williams


2 Responses to “DEAR & YONDER”
  1. kellee on July 21st, 2009 11:28 am

    I saw the premier of this in Galveston Tx. It was so amazing. I think everyone should see this even if you are not a surfer.

  2. Kicker Films on December 22nd, 2009 9:58 am

    Dear and Yonder DVD is available at Kicker Films -