Art and design senior Jo Anna Edmison did not have a set plan when she started capturing the stories of female surfers and skaters with her film camera. Three years later, she had turned her footage into an eight-minute short film that has been viewed around the world, and will now be featured in an in-person screening in San Luis Obispo.
The short film “Stoke Chasers” shares the experiences of several young female surfers and skaters from Southern California and the Central Coast who push their limits as they try to break into the surfing and skating subculture, Edmison said.
“I wanted to cover a lot of girls that haven’t been really represented in these sports, and kind of give them a spotlight and dig deeper into why they weren’t pushed to do these things in the first place,” Edmison said.
Shot on 16mm film, the film has a “retro vibe” that echoes the feel of the 1966 surf documentary “The Endless Summer.” Despite being more expensive and inconvenient to shoot on film versus a digital camera, Edmison said this choice was intentional to show her commitment to telling the girls’ stories and pay homage to the girls that were not captured doing these sports when “The Endless Summer” was filmed.
“I wanted to be able to capture these girls on a medium that they weren’t [filmed] on when the medium was popular,” Edmison said.
Video by Sofia Silvia
Edmison said one of her favorite moments from filming was watching one of the skaters, Hannah Tallman, improve her skills through dedication.
Tallman, a Redondo Beach native, said she got into skating after watching her brother do it. Although she felt that skating was reserved as a “boys-only” sport, the social stigma only made her more determined to do it and be different.
“Girls can do the same stuff that boys can do,” Tallman said. “A lot of people don’t realize that there are a lot of girl surfers and girl skaters because we don’t get the same exposure that guys do. But we’re out there — we’re doing it.”
Earlier this year, “Stoke Chasers” was shown at the Mountainfilm film festival in Colorado, which was held virtually. It was the only 16mm film out of about 200 films that were shown at the festival.
“What Jo Anna is doing is super unique and it’s also really rare for someone that young to still be into film — it’s kind of a lost art,” producer and co-founder of SLOMotion Film Hayley Nenadal said.
Nenadal said she believes that film festivals’ transition to a virtual format this year due to the pandemic has helped boost “Stoke Chasers” viewership across the globe, as many can attend the festivals regardless of their location. The film has been viewed across the U.S. as well as in Canada, England and Brazil.
Nenadal, a San Luis Obispo native, said her favorite part about her involvement in producing the film is how images of the film’s locations, like Morro Bay and Cayucos, are now being viewed around the world.
Now San Luis Obispo residents will be able to view the film on Saturday, Dec. 5 at an in-person screening at Whalebird Kombucha.
Edmison said that the event will be held outdoors with socially distanced seating in an attempt to balance safety and enjoyment.