What do Annette Benning, Oliver Stone, Terry Gilliam, Hugh Jackman and Dave Rastovich have in common? They all will be appearing on the red carpet this week at the opening of the 61st San Sebastian Film Festival. Yep one of the world’s premier film festivals will have a dose of salt and sand on the red plushpile, as American artist and surfer Chris Del Moro’s film Bella Vita, which stars Rastovich, premieres on Sunday night. We caught up with Dave to discuss the film, his ties to Europe, his girlfriend and a whole lot more.

You’ve been to Europe countless times, what’s the attraction?

Dave: In Europe there is something great for ever surfer. All the diversity in culture, landscape and wave conditions make new experiences everyday. I have surfed in most countries in Europe that have coastline and every spot has its own unique charm. Be it the strong waves on the Atlantic coasts, or the 'close together' waves in the Med. If you have the right board and attitude, life will be fun.


What’s your relationship with Chris Del Moro?

Chris and I have surfed and traveled together for years now. We have dreamed up, and carried out, ecological conservation campaigns all over the world and have had a blast while doing that. He has got an incredibly artistic mind and makes the flat days of surf as much fun as the days when it is overhead.  Though he comes from California he has actually spent big chunks of his childhood in Italy, and I think that has given him a bit more depth and diversity in his life interests than you would find in most Californian surfers.

How did you get involved in the movie Bella Vita?  

My father’s side of my family comes from the Adriatic sea, on a small island called Vis, and so when Chris invited me to go to Italy and be in the film I was stoked to be in a familiar part of the world and to actually surf too!!  I think the end result of Bella Vita is something really fresh and rich to add to our surfing culture. Italian surfers have a lot of heart, and passion for surfing and because surfing is a bit younger in Italy, there is more flexibility in the way that Italian surfers will ride the boards that are good for their waves, generally long boards and fishes, and they adopt attitudes and preferences that suit their lifestyle.  A lot of other surfing countries can be stuck in tradition, and rigid thinking, namely riding what they have told to ride, not necessarily what is appropriate for their conditions.  Italy has a very jovial and fun loving surfing crowd, people are fired up about surfing, but not necessarily about competitive surfing.  In Italy there is more emphasis on the surfing life, than surfing status.  And that is refreshing.

And how was it to have your girlfriend Lauren Hill, along for the ride?

Lauren and I have been surfing and traveling together for years and she continuously impresses me with her style and grace in the water. Equally impressive is Lauren's ability to articulate the surfing experience from a ladies point of view.  There are not many women surfing in Italy and Lauren was doing her best to change that while traveling there.  Our line ups need more women to balance out the male dominant sword fight that is most line ups, and Lauren is one of our culture’s great voices for female surfers.

Lauren, eco-feminism at its best. Photo courtesy Billabong