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08/22/2012 - created by Chris Yates

Children of the Wind

The Feature Length Documentary on the Bonaire Boys--Wins The Audience Award At The Aruba International Film Festival

We have good news to report on Children of the Wind --the feature length documentary that’s been in production for that last two years. It had its world premiere on June 23rd at the Aruba International Film Festival in a big red carpet splash attended by most of the films producing team and protagonists including Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins), Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra), Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui), Patun Saragoza, Elvis Martinus, director Daphne Schmon and producer Robert McCormick. The film centers on Tonky and Taty Frans, Kiri Thode and mentor Elvis Martinus, with supporting roles by the kids and pros of Lac Bay on Bonaire. Despite a population of just 15,000 residents, the island continues to produce world champions at every age level of freestyle windsurfing as once again demonstrated by the results of the ProKids World Championships two weeks ago. The film is character-driven and follows Tonky, Taty, and Kiri from their humble beginnings to international fame in the sport of windsurfing, transforming not only their island but the face of the sport worldwide.

An overview of the production team’s strategy for taking COTW to the film festival circuit prior to general release, and a full report on their experience at the Aruba Film Festival replete with terrific photos can be found “here” (http://childrenofthewindmovie.com/2012/08/strategy-overview-and-our-experience-at-aiff/).

Children of the Wind was brought to life by Robert McCormick (Actor & Producer), Daphne Schmon (Director), and Director of Photography Peter Robertson whose resume as a camera operator include films in the “James Bond” and “Harry Potter” franchises. As avid windsurfers, and after visiting the island of Bonaire for many years Robert and Daphne had developed a strong bond with Elvis Martinus, who was the Antillean Champion and also the founder of the Bonaire Windsurf Place. The film uncovers the legacy of windsurfing on Bonaire from its origins to the present. A turning point in that legacy was Elvis’ belief that the only way to keep windsurfing alive was through the involvement of the kids. In 2001 he searched for the funds to send thirty young Bonairean sailors to the North American Championships held in Florida among whom were Taty Frans, Tonky Frans and Kiri Thode, who now dominate the world of Freestyle windsurfing by consistently finishing in the top five on the PWA World Tour.

Just getting to the Championships was a huge achievement but once there the Bonaire boys dominated by taking home twenty trophies. A truly remarkable achievement when you consider that Bonaire has a population of less than 15,000 people with no formal training facilities or funding to help develop their sailors. The story was aired that night on CNN news—putting Bonaire on the windsurfing map and making the rest of the world sit up and take notice.

Children of the Wind captures both the magic of the Bonairean people and the magic of island life itself. Kiri, Taty and Tonky are at the forefront of the documentary with their mentor and life-time friend Elvis. Not only have they helped to put Bonaire on the global map but they have inspired a whole new generation of talent, which is starting to come through the ranks now after dominating the ProKids World Championships. Names such as Bjorn Saragoza and Amado Vrieswijk (Starboard / Severne) are already beginning to aim their assault on the PWA Freestyle World Tour.

In 2010 a trailer of Children of the Wind was released and it took the world by storm as it received over 10,000 views in under a week. However it is only now that this compelling documentary, which stares adversity in the face, is starting to receive the attention that it truly deserves as made clear at the recent Aruba International Film Festival.

Off the back of this amazing feat Children of the Wind has managed to achieve what no other windsurfing documentary has done before, as it has captured the hearts and minds of the non-windsurfing community. Demand was so high on the island that on the closing night of the festival, an additional two screenings were added to the listings, both of which totally sold out. This is no mean feat when you consider that even the big Hollywood premiers were not selling out. The amazing journey of Children of the Wind is only just beginning and their sights are now firmly set on the big film festivals around the word and they will keep us posted as to where and when.

One thing is clear from the reception the film received in Aruba, where almost all of the audience who attended the sold out screenings after the premiere were non-windsurfers—and who voted it their favorite, Children of the Wind has the chance to reach outside the realms of the once niche market. But perhaps more importantly this amazing documentary has the power and potential to inspire others, particularly disenfranchised youth, by showing that no matter how adverse the situation may seem, any obstacle can be overcome. So, Children of the Wind, could and will attract new people into our wonderful sport, but it also has the power to change people’s lives for the better. 

To see the compelling Children of the Wind trailer just click HERE.

There is no official release date for the DVD as the film will play the festival circuit first, but it is expected that the release will take place in early 2013. We will keep you updated with the latest news, alternatively visit the Children of the Wind website HERE.

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