Bruce Brown (director)

Bruce Alan Brown (December 1, 1937 – December 10, 2017) was an American documentary film director, known as an early pioneer of the surf film. He was the father of filmmaker Dana Brown.[1]

Bruce Brown
Brown in the mid-1960s during the making of The Endless Summer
Born
Bruce Alan Brown

(1937-12-01)December 1, 1937
DiedDecember 10, 2017(2017-12-10) (aged 80)
OccupationDocumentary filmmaker
Spouse
Patricia Hunter
(m. 1960; died 2006)
Children3

Biography edit

Brown enlisted in the U.S. Navy right after high school, serving on a submarine.[2][3] He shot his first hobby film photographing surfers from California with an 8mm camera while stationed in Honolulu in 1955.[2][3] After he was discharged, Brown returned to California and enrolled in Long Beach City College but dropped out to work as a lifeguard.

Brown's films include Slippery When Wet (1958), Surf Crazy (1959), Barefoot Adventure (1960), Surfing Hollow Days (1961), Waterlogged (1962), and his best known film, The Endless Summer (1964), which received nationwide theatrical release in 1966.[4] Considered among the most influential in the genre, The Endless Summer follows surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August around the world. Thirty years later, in 1994 Brown filmed The Endless Summer II with his son Dana.[5]

He also made a number of short films including The Wet Set, featuring the Hobie-MacGregor Sportswear Surf Team and one of the earliest skateboarding films, America's Newest Sport, presenting the Hobie Super Surfer Skateboard Team. These short films, along with some unused footage from The Endless Summer, were included in the DVD Surfin' Shorts, as part of the Golden Years of Surf collection. Brown went beyond surfing a few times with films about motorcycle sport, On Any Sunday (1971), which is held in high regard as one of the best motorcycle documentaries of all time, On Any Sunday II (1981), Baja 1000 Classic (1991), and On Any Sunday: Revisited (2000). He made a guest appearance in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One".

In 2003, Brown and Alex Mecl revived Bruce Brown Films, LLC to protect Brown's legacy and intellectual property, including his trademarks, copyrights, and vast film archives.

Brown died of natural causes in Santa Barbara, California, nine days after his 80th birthday.[6][7]

Posthumous documentary edit

After the death of Brown's wife and filmmaking partner Patricia in 2006, he went into a depression, unable to leave his home. This was a significant change from his previously very active lifestyle. His children, including the eldest, filmmaker Dana Brown, embarked on a camper road trip with the senior Brown to reconnect him with the groundbreaking surfers that had been his friends and compatriots since the 1950s. The trip was filmed, capturing Bruce Brown's return to joy.[8][9]

Originally planned as a series of webisodes, after Bruce Brown's death the project became a feature-length film, ultimately titled A Life of Endless Summers: The Bruce Brown Story.[10] It was completed in 2020 and featured in the Newport Beach Film Festival's shortened season that August. Due to Covid restrictions, the film was shown at a makeshift drive-in theater at a local mall.[11] The film went on to limited release in a number of film festivals in surfing Meccas.[12]

Filmography edit

Year Title Director Writer Producer Cinematographer Editor Notes
1958 Slippery When Wet Yes Yes No Yes Yes
1959 Surf Crazy Yes Yes No Yes Yes
1960 Barefoot Adventure Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Surfin' Shorts Yes Yes No Yes Yes
1961 Surfing Hollow Days Yes Yes No Yes Yes
1962 Water-Logged Yes Yes No Yes Yes
1965 The Endless Summer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1966 America's Newest Sport Yes No No Yes No
1967 Hare & Hound Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1967 The Incredible Pair of Skis Yes No No No No
1971 On Any Sunday Yes No Yes No No
1975 The Edge Yes No No No No
1994 The Endless Summer II Yes Yes No No Yes
2000 The Endless Summer Revisited No No executive No No
2003 Step Into Liquid No No executive No No
2014 On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter No No executive No No

Awards and honors edit

 
Brown was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach, California.

References edit

  1. ^ Kampion, Drew (December 11, 2017). "RIP: Bruce Brown, 1937-2017". Surfline.
  2. ^ a b Remembering Bruce Brown, Director of The Endless Summer Outside via Internet Archive. Retrieved June 29, 2023.
  3. ^ a b ‘Endless Summer’ Filmmaker Bruce Brown Dies at 80 Variety. Retrieved June 29, 2023.
  4. ^ Langer, Emily (December 12, 2017). "Bruce Brown, Documentarian Whose 'Endless Summer' Caught Perfect Wave on Film, Dies at 80". Washington Post.
  5. ^ Sandomir, Richard (December 12, 2017). "Bruce Brown, 80, Dies; His 'Endless Summer' Documented Surfing". New York Times.
  6. ^ Haro, Alexander (December 10, 2017). "Bruce Brown, Father of Surf Films, Has Died". The Inertia.
  7. ^ Marble, Steve (December 11, 2017). "Bruce Brown, Who Turned Surfing into a Cultural Phenomenon with 'The Endless Summer,' Dies at 80". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ "A Life of Endless Summers: The Bruce Brown Story (2020), Official Trailer HD". YouTube.
  9. ^ "Bruce Brown Legacy Depicted In "A Life of Endless Summers"". Surfer Today. June 29, 2020.
  10. ^ Murphy, Deanna (August 6, 2021). "Exclusive QA with filmmaker Dana Brown". Ranch and Coast.
  11. ^ Connelly, Laylan (August 7, 2020). "Newport Beach Film Festival to screen one spotlight film at drive-in showing". Orange County Register.
  12. ^ "Coronado Island Film Festival Kicks Off "Summer Surf Series" with the Hotel Del Coronado and Dana Brown Films". Coronado Times. August 3, 2021.
  13. ^ "Bruce Brown: Creator of Classic Motorcycle Film, 'On Any Sunday'". Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "Bruce Brown Enters Surfers' Hall of Fame". Surfer. July 22, 2010. ISSN 0039-6036.
  15. ^ Connelly, Laylan (20 September 2019). "Remember The Endless Summer? Statue of filmmaker Bruce Brown joins other surf icons in Dana Point". Orange County Register. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  16. ^ Connelly, Laylan (22 February 2018). "Bruce Brown exhibit in San Clemente will highlight filmmaker's life work beyond 'The Endless Summer'". Orange County Register. Retrieved 11 May 2022.

External links edit