Video instructor's short film about Instagram star featured in international film festivals

Written by: 
Adam Case

Taylor “Tay” Steele, a BYU-Hawaii alumni and special instructor at the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship, has been accepted into various film festivals in Australia and California for his short film “Lumiére,” which focuses on the story of Instagram star Amber Mozo, daughter of the famous North Shore photographer Jon Mozo.

Steele told Herewith Magazine, “'Lumiére’ takes us behind the lens of North Shore photographer Amber Mozo to find what the ocean gives to her in spite of what it took away.

‘Lumiére’ is an emotional distillation of the story of Amber Mozo, daughter of iconic North Shore photographer Jon Mozo, who passed away from head injuries sustained photographing Pipeline when Amber was just 9 years old.”

Regarding how the idea for the film came about, Steele said, “I knew Amber when I first got out here. I got to know her story and then–as I got to know her more–her dad’s story. Then later this last year, she had asked if I wanted to go do a story about her in Tahiti. Sun Bum (a sunscreen company) was going to send us there, but we really didn’t know what we wanted to do. I thought it was going to be a lot shorter, but it turned into something way bigger.

“We were there in Tahiti for three weeks. Then I decided that I wanted to make the video a little longer. [I wanted to] talk a little bit about her dad’s story but not dwell on it because there had already been a video done about that by Devin Graham. I wanted to focus more on what Amber is doing now, kind of moving forward from that.”

McCall Skalla, a senior studying psychology who went to the premiere, said, “I thought all the places that they filmed at were cool. I was inspired by Amber’s story and her connection to the ocean that she got from her dad.”

The film premiered at Turtle Bay Resort. Steele said, “There was a ton of community support. There were a lot of people from BYUH and from the area who knew Amber.”

The manager at Turtle Bay told Steele it was the most amount of people he had seen at a film premiere in his 10 years working there. “That was really cool,” said Steele. “There were also a lot of people there who I didn’t know. For me, the sight to see was all the people there, not as much the movie. It was so cool to see all the support. It was definitely a night that I won’t forget.”

Trever Hanson, a senior marketing major form Utah, said, “I thought the thing that was most exciting about the event was the community aspect. There were so many people there from all over supporting Tay and Amber that it was almost more aspiring than the movie itself.”

After the premiere in Turtle Bay, Steele said he realized he had something special. He explained, “During the editing process, I made a video fitting the criteria to enter a contest in Australia.” The contest was REELERS 2017: The Surfing World Short Film Competition. “I found out after the Turtle Bay premiere that I [was] selected as a finalist,” Steele said.

“It was a really cool contest where three of the top surf filmmakers would be there, including Taylor Steele who was the judge over my category.” Taylor Steele is a surf videographer Tay shares a name with. Tay said, “I think everyone else thought it was a lot funnier than we did. I got to have a good conversation with him and he gave me some good advice.” He also mentioned how people always confuse them since they both make surf films.

Regarding Australia, Tay said, “I was really stoked. The editor-in-chief of Surfing World Magazine was there and was really excited to see me. It turns out he was commentating for the Volcom Pipe Pro and was staying there at Turtle Bay when we did the premiere and was able to go to our event. He was super excited that I had shown up for the event.”

The festival took place at Manly Beach, “where they were having the Australian Open of Surfing, so everyone was there. It was a cool atmosphere and a really good opportunity to network with people.”

Coastal Watch wrote about the event, “Tay flew out from Hawaii to attend the awards night. He scored twice with a runner up in the Story category and the Audience Choice Award.”

Steele said, “When I went to Australia, they went to Utah to do a screening. I heard that was an event with a better turnout than the premiere at Turtle Bay.”

Steele said he hopes to keep showing the film in festivals around the world. He mentioned, “I’ve submitted to a lot of film festivals, so I’m trying to keep it in that circuit for this year. It is going to be in a festival in San Diego later this year, which will be cool.”

Date Published: 
Friday, May 19, 2017
Last Edited: 
Friday, May 19, 2017