Docos can’t wait for government funding

Somewhere Near TapachulaDirector Stefan Hunt says real-life stories such as Somewhere in Tapachula cannot wait for filmmakers to raise funds or obtain Government support.

“I didn’t initially think about [Government funding] because I’d rather do the documentary,” Hunt told Encore.

Hunt’s fund-raising doco will have its premiere tonight in Sydney.

Somewhere Near Tapachula was shot in Tapachula, Mexico, a city in the southern state of Chiapas. It follows the stories of 54 children living at Mision Mexico, a refuge founded by Australian couple Pam and Alan Skuse.

The Skuses introduced surfing to Tapachula, and have used the sport as an effective therapy for the children to work on their personal issues. Having heard about Hunt and Jonno Durrant’s previous effort Surfing 50 States, the Skuses contacted Hunt to request a copy of the DVD to screen at Mision Mexico.

Hunt decided to volunteer at the refuge, and during his stay in Tapachula, decided to make the documentary. He contacted Durrant, who found support in the US from a company that provided a Canon XL2 camera and other equipment.

“We just wanted to share the story in a really raw format, make it as real as we possibly could to inspire people to get behind the refuge and support it. That was the key goal.

“But now we’re hoping to evolve from it; we’ve been talking to public broadcasters and the ABC is very keen on the story,” said Hunt.

According to Hunt, the film will initially be promoted to the surfing community, but it has a broader appeal in Australia.

“It has the potential of a mainstream appeal. Maybe I focused on the surfing a little too much, but there’s a fascinating story of an Australian couple changing the lives of these children and that’s been of interest to the media and the audience.

“We could have shot it in HD to make it more sellable, with the support of a broadcaster and trying to get the funding to do it six months after the initial discussions. Or we could do it when we were in the moment, and I can be quite impatient,” said Hunt.

The premiere will be supported by Mexican fast food chain Guzman y Gomez (GyG), which is also a supporter of Mision Mexico. The project, however, was not developed as branded content because the filmmakers were not aware of GyG’s involvement with the refuge until they reached the post-production stage.

The DVD will be given to those who attend the premiere, and will be available for sale at all other screenings. Hunt said they were in discussions with distribution companies, but in the meantime, they will try to place the initial print of 5,000 copies at surf shops, GyG restaurants and online through

Somewhere Near Tapachula will debut tonight at Dendy Opera Quays, Sydney. Tickets are available from

The film will then be screened at:


26 – Hornsby

27 – Paddington


1, 3 – Manly

6 – Port Macquarie

9, 13 – Byron Bay

10 – Coolangatta

12- Brisbane

14 – Gympie

17 – Noosa

19 – Maryborough

21 – Dubbo

23 – Canberra

25- Adelaide

27, April 3 – Melbourne

30 – Frankston


1 – Torquay


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