Mikey Corker grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and started working as a camera assistant on feature films. He got his break working on 5 big feature films as an assistant which led to becoming a trainee clapper loader and with that experience he was away. He took a break after 5 years and went travelling bought a digital camera and taught himself how to edit. Mikey found himself in Croyde, North Devon and fell in love with the place and surf community there. He started filming his friends surfing and adventure related brand content.
Savage Waters is Mikey’s first feature length film as a director. The film follows sailor and adventurer Matt Knight who was given a book which was a treasurer hunters journal published in 1892 about finding treasure on an island in the middle of the Atlantic. One passage in the book describes an incredible wave. Matt was drawn to the challenge of finding this wave in the middle of the ocean and he started hatching a plan to bring along his family, surfer and friend Andrew Cotton and Mikey to document it. Savage Waters produced by Whipped Sea is now touring the world at film festivals.
Tune in to find out about how Mikey got into filming, what it was like directing Savage Waters and what he has planned for the winter season shooting in Nazaré plus loads more.
Oli Russell-Cowan: How did the idea for Savage Waters come about?
Mikey Corker: Matt Knight was given a book by one of his old sailing buddies. Matt’s been a lifelong sailor. Matt’s been sailing around the ocean since he was a tiny kid.
Sailing and ocean adventures are in his blood.
He’s got a core group of guys that he was sailing tall ships with back when he was in his 20s. They were like a family, a brotherhood of sailors. They’re still best friends today. One of these guys this amazing guy called Shebs gave him a book, which was a treasure hunters journal published in 1892. The reason he gave him the book is because the author of the book had the same surname, his name was E.F Knight.
In the original book Knight’s story is about heading off into the Atlantic to go search for treasure that he had been told about on these hidden islands. Matt’s reading this book and there’s this one passage where E.F Knight is describing this wave. The way he describes it, any surfer will will hear that and go, he’s talking about a barrel. He’s talking about the crystal cathedral and the way the light shines through it. The location he describes is very remote and very hard to get to.
Matt’s getting excited about the idea that it’s out in the world. He’s getting even more excited about the fact that it’s a needle in the haystack. That’s just a red rag to a bull for Matt.
I was with Matt at the time we were working on something else. He mentioned this passage. Suddenly we’re sitting up late at night hatching plans and looking at maps.
Oli Russell-Cowan: Did he know anyone that’s ever been there?
Mikey Corker: We used Madeira as a base camp. That’s the nearest place as a jumping off point to get to the Salvage islands. So once we’re in Madeira, we started hearing of a fishermen that had been there. I felt like we were always hearing these rumours of somebody that knew somebody that knew somebody who had maybe been there, but we’ve never actually spoke to that person.
It’s really hard to reach. It’s a 24 Hour sail and it’s dangerous. It’s so dangerous that nobody’s actually took the time to say where all the rocks are.
That’s the problem there. It’s just these rocks in the middle of this massive expanse of ocean.
Oli Russell-Cowan: How did you feel about going there and documenting everything?
Mikey Corker: I’ve got so much faith in Matt’s skippering ability. Firstly, I know I’m in good hands. Secondly, I know that it’s sketchy. But I also know that this is why no one’s been there, it’s a good story.
There’s a level of anxiety or uncertainty about what we’re doing. And actually, I didn’t even realise when we started the kind of risks we were taking. It was only afterwards when you start really doing it. Then we had a few situations that we came a little bit close to the edge of comfort. Then you realise, okay, this stuff carries risks.
The ocean can be unpredictable.
Feature image credit: Tommy Lau PhotographyLast updated on Sep 26, 2022
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