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Moviemaker, documentary main character share experiences with Jordan audience

By Fares Al Abed - Nov 29,2017 - Last updated at Nov 29,2017

Tiago Pires (left) and Julio Adler (centre) speak to the audience before the screening of Adler’s documentary ‘Saca’ during the European Film Festival in Amman on Monday (Photo by Fares Al Abed)

AMMAN — “Surf can be seen as a sport or a spiritual journey,” said Julio Adler, the Brazilian director of “Saca”, a movie screened on Monday as part of the 29th European Film Festival (EUFF).

Depicting the life of award winning surfer Tiago Pires, “Saca” follows the Portuguese surfer throughout his exceptional journey. 

Speaking at a presentation about the documentary and the world of surfing, Adler said there are “many ways to look at the water sport”.

The first male Portuguese surfer to qualify for the World Surf League (WSL) Elite Tour, Pires was also present at the screening, held at the Haya Cultural Centre. 

The recently retired professional started surfing at the age of nine, and won numerous competitions including the sub-14 national championship in 1994 and the sub-16 in 1995. 

A year later, 16-year-old Pires joined the national circuit.

“Surfing is about 4,000 years old, and nobody knows where it began specifically, some say in Peru, some say in Hawaii,” Adler said.

“With the evolution of this sport, nowadays, some people can manage to build wave pools [simulated surfing environment]”, Pires said, adding: “The future of surfing is unpredictable, because wave pools are starting to get really good”.

In 2020, surfing will be part of the Olympics in Japan for the first time, he noted.

Throughout its history, the sport has seen a series of milestone changes, some of which were not pleasant for fans. 

“At some point, surfing was banned by missionaries in Hawaii,” the director said, noting that the 1960s and the following decade witnessed the creation of a professional surfing circuit around the world.”

At first, according to Adler, this circuit was small and limited, with prize money of each of the 10 different global contests, running through the year, ranged between $10,000- $15,000 in total.

“Meanwhile, at this time, you can make a $100,000 out of one contest,” Adler said. 

The EUFF, which is organised by the EU Delegation in Jordan and European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), is running until December 2 at the Haya Cultural Centre.

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