Tide Lines director/producer Andrew Naysmith and producer Arwen Hunter.

Oak Bay Johnny sails into film festival

Andrew Naysmith, the man behind Johnny Oak Bay Productions brings Tide Lines to the hometown crowd

Andrew Naysmith, the man behind Johnny Oak Bay Productions brings Tide Lines, an adventure and environmental documentary to the hometown crowd. The film is about Victoria brothers, Ryan and Bryson Robertson, and their friend Hugh Patterson, who made a pact to traverse the globe, surfing along the way.

The film premiered at the Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films at the Vancouver Aquarium last September.

Director/producer Naysmith looks forward to the Victoria screening on Wednesday.

“It’s one of those things that has come full circle,” Naysmith said. “The project started here and now it’s coming to a close here. It feels amazing to be at this stage.”

Naysmith, 36, was born in Victoria and attended Monterey school and Oak Bay High. Naysmith, his wife, photographer Liz Rubincam and two children, Henry, 3, and three-month-old Beau still live just five homes shy of the Oak Bay border.

Naysmith’s interest in film came about early when he would take his dad’s video camera to film friends skateboarding and snowboarding. However, he never thought much of it until he was older.

After finishing high school, he traveled a bit then attended the University of Victoria for a year, taking general courses. He then went to Selkirk College in Nelson to study hotel management but broke his leg snowboarding during his final year. Feeling down and burned out after graduation, he sold everything and moved to Australia. While managing a small restaurant in Bells Beach he got an opportunity to work in the kitchen on a boat that did surf charters to Indonesia.

On the boat, he filmed.

“In five months I accumulated a bunch of footage of insanely good surfing and I put together shorts,” Naysmith said. “I rented a studio in Melbourne for 48 hours and put this piece together for (the charter company). I was paid $200 and thought how this was really cool. I look at the $200 now I realize that wasn’t much.”

Having discovered his passion, he returned to Canada and studied film at the Art Institute of Vancouver and then at Gulf Island Film and Television School. In 2004, he founded Oak Bay Johnny Productions, a name coined by a friend as Naysmith is from Oak Bay and his middle name is John.

He mostly produces short films, documentaries and promotional videos. Some work he’s most proud of includes a short that showed the reaction of two kids waking up in a hospital after a pipe bomb blew up in their hands. Another featured a woman truck driver in South Africa, where he also created shorts about HIV.

Naysmith enjoys human interest and educational documentaries.


“I love listening stories from different people around the world and telling their stories that wouldn’t get out there in any other way,” Naysmith said. “I most definitely would love to do (more of) that.”



Victoria pulls cash together for Tide Lines

Andrew Naysmith spent almost six years developing his first, feature length documentary and there is one thing he would do differently.

Secure funding ahead of time.

Tide Lines, about Victoria brothers, Ryan and Bryson Robertson, and their friend Hugh Patterson, as they traverse the globe surfing while educating and cleaning beaches along the way.

The three sailed off in June 2007, in Khulula a boat bought in Los Cabos, Mexico. The film documents how the young men spent the next three years and how in their search for good surf, they came across tropical beaches littered with plastics and garbage.

“It’s a journey of transformation for these guys,” Naysmith said. “There is adventure, romance and yes, an environmental story as well.”

Naysmith knew the guys from school and before they set sail he sat with them to hear the plans.

“The more (they) told me, the more I was like, ‘You know, you have to film this. It’s going to be an amazing story’,” Naysmith said. “I helped them buy the camera, showed them how to shoot and when they left, it was ‘Okay, let’s keep in touch. Every time you make it to land, send the tapes home.’”

When shoeboxes of tapes in various stages of corrosion arrived, Naysmith realized he couldn’t completely rely on home videos to carry the film. He hired professionals at different locales to interview the guys then met up with them near the end of the journey.

“Most important to me was to get them to tell their story to someone. To have some specific questions I had answered,” Naysmith said.

After finding garbage at every beach they surfed the trio started visiting schools to educate kids about recycling. They also did a 100-metre radius beach cleanup and categorized the garbage.

The global tour took three years over several trips due to work commitments. Khulula sailed the final leg into Vancouver in September 2010. It then took a few years to complete the film due to lack of money. Financial support eventually came from environmental groups and businesses, and a Kickstarter campaign. Local musicians provided the soundtrack for the film.

“I did have some self doubts because we weren’t able to compete with the budget of other documentaries,” Naysmith said. “But I think we are there (in terms of quality).”

Tide Lines will play at the Vic Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 8:45 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 12 p.m.



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