Or how to be a man while everyone else is looking at their phone…
Chris Malloy, the middle pillar of the triumphant genetic triumvirate that is The Malloy Brothers, is a working class hero. A man of the people. A bronzed populist with a penchant for dusty beards, big trucks, and lush, vibrant cinematography that would make Clint Eastwood cry.
He gets his hands dirty these days working on commercial projects at Farm League, which is most certainly not a Branded Content Agency.
Malloy and friends (Jason Baffa! Greg Hunt! The Gothic Dolphin himself, Alex Kopps!) do Farm League because “life is too big (and fun and great and instructive) to keep separate from work. And that faking it is the lamest, worst, most uninspired thing a person can spend their time on.”
(Which is something we here at BeachGrit salute! No fake “big,” “fun and great and instructive” lives!)
Farm League’s done a bunch of short films, commercial spots, and even kickstarter films, working with companies like Nike SB, The North Face, Patagonia, and Ole Smoky moonshine. And Chris himself has directed spots for Dodge, Jeep, and Gerber. And they’re pretty damned good. Gritty. Durable. Steinbeckian, almost.
Most recently Chris released The Fisherman’s Son, a bioflick about Ramon Navarro and his fight to save Chilean uberwave Punta de Lobos.
And The Fisherman’s Son is good. It’s a story told well. Which is rare in surfing, especially in surf films (which Malloy claims The Fisherman’s Son is not).
I told Sir Derek Rielly I’d be chatting Chris up, and he told me the theme of my conversation should be: How To Be A Man When Everyone is Looking At Their Phone.
Well, here’s what Chris had to say.
On surf films: I look at surf films as these sketches, on ideas or periods of time. You know, they’re not linear. And they’re a great way to dabble and play with colors and sound.
On The Fisherman’s Son: I’ve known Ramon for almost ten years. I’ve been going down to that region of Chile for a long time. Early on, Ramon was this neat little Chilean kid that surfed really well. And then we met his family and got to known him really well, and he just kept getting better and better. To watch his rise was really inspiring on a personal level. And when he got on the world’s stage he decided to use his voice to protect the place he came from. I approached him about the film. We knew each other, and he trusted me.
On the commercial grind: I come in, work super hard for ten days straight, then go home for a month. I’ll fish and surf, spend time with my family.
On hopping on the Patagucci express: You know, we signed on ten years ago. At the time, people thought we were nuts. Patagonia wasn’t a real surf brand.
On Patagonia’s pater familias: We were friends with Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia founder) from climbing and surfing with him. I loved his gear and his philosophy. After a while it was like, Gee, we should work together. And when we approached him he was like, “If you guys are down to follow that philosophy, and put in some elbow grease, that might work. I’m not looking for dancing bears.” He didn’t want guys that just put stickers on their boards.
On Patagonia’s surf industry takeover: As far as Patagonia’s success, that comes from surfing. Not from the surf industry, but from the surfing community. Ten years ago there was a shift. People started caring about where things came from. And then there was the demand for better cold weather gear, of course.
On designing clothes: Patagonia’s close to where I live. It’s awesome. In, like, every department I have someone that I’ve known for ages. And it isn’t about big ideas for me. It’s about a pair of boardshorts that are so simple it’s ridiculous that we’re working on it. But we design this shit for ourselves! Whether it’s a board or a piece of gear, we focus on one thing until it’s exactly how we want it.
On where he chooses to focus his directorial eye: The more I’m involved in filmmaking, the more I’m drawn to just really good stories. I wish I was more consistent with what I get excited about. For me, my future is always the next story that moves me.
But if John John called and said he’s found some crazy slab somewhere, and wanted to go there and film for a month, I’d jump on it.