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A few words with filmmaker Ben LaLande “Primitive,” featuring Kalum Bruhwiler


Filmmaker Ben LaLande is putting the finishing wraps on an interesting short film that captures the life of, yes, another Bruhwiler from Tofino that rips. This time it’s Kalum. If you follow WY, you would have seen some of our interactions with Sepp, who is Kalum’s uncle, and most probably a huge influence. Well, it’s Kalum’s turn in the spotlight now and from what we’ve seen, it looks like Ben has captured not only the essence of surfing in the Pacific Northwest but the awesome surfing of Kalum as well.

We caught up with Ben and sent him a few questions. He was gracious enough with his time to shoot back a few thoughts.

What Youth: Born and raised?

Ben LaLande: Quebec City, Canada

WY: Currently residing?

BL: A bit all over the place, ha. I go back and forth between LA and Quebec.

WY: What brought you to Tofino?

BL: I’d been to Tofino before but had never done the full mission to Dropbox and those other waves up North. I’d been wanting to do that for a while so it was cool to check that off my bucket list while doing this shoot. It’s so surreal up there.

WY: How did you get into filmmaking?

BL: When I was 13 I started shooting skate videos with my buddies. From there I lined up a couple projects with local brands and eventually moved to California for college. That’s really when filmmaking became more serious for me.

WY: How about surf-specific stuff?

BL: In 2018, I took 6 months off school to travel and focus on shooting surfing. I went to Hawaii, Australia, Indo and Tofino and met a ton of people along the way, namely Liam Mac who helped me with this project, and Alex Smith whom I’ve worked with a ton in the last few years.

WY: Obviously the Bruhwiler family is legendary in Tofino, how did you meet them?

BL: The first time I went to Tofino, I met Liam Mac who’s one of the best surf photographers there. We stayed in touch and kept talking about shooting something together again. Then last fall, I was stuck in Canada because of Covid and thought it would be a good time to line up a project with him. He’d known the Bruhwiler forever and so he connected me with them.

WY: It’s a big family, can you give the readers an idea of the whole “family tree” and how everyone is related.

BL: I didn’t really get to meet everyone in their family but definitely got to see how tight they all are. Giselle (Kalum’s grandma) had four kids: Sepp, Raph, Francis, and Catherine, who’s also Kalum’s mom. Giselle is truly a Tofino legend and she pioneered surf culture in Canada. Without her, I don’t know whether pro-surfing would be a thing in Canada. Being able to interview her was amazing.

WY: What Youth and many other media outlets have covered Sepp in the past, do you see Kalum reaching the level of exposure Sepp has attained?

BL: Absolutely. Kalum is probably the most dedicated surfer I’ve met since I started shooting surfing. He’s so on it and does everything he can to reach the pro-level. He definitely had a path paved for himself and he’s fully taken advantage of that opportunity.

WY: Does the family surf together?

BL: Definitely. When I was there, Kalum surfed with his mom Catherine a couple of times. I think family missions up the coast are pretty common for them.

WY: Who’s idea was it to make this film?

BL: Liam Mac is the person who brought up the idea of shooting something with Kalum. He lined up a call with Kalum and I, and that’s where I got to learn a little bit more about him. Then I built a concept around his story.

WY: Awesome. Thanks for your time and good luck with the release and any other future projects

Director/DP: Benoit Lalande
Editor: Benoit Lalande
Producers: Camille Hébert & Liam Mac
Additional Footage: Nate Laverty & Ben Gulliver
Photographer: Liam Mac & Julien Jeanson
Music: Forest Swords
Mix: Keith White

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