Haakenson: 'Cold Thoughts' movie to make debut

Joe Surf

September 05, 2012|By Joe Haakenson

Timmy Turner's long-awaited film "Cold Thoughts" debuts Thursday night at Huntington Beach High School's Academy for the Performing Arts auditorium, so don't think twice about seeing it.

Turner is Huntington Beach's own surfer-turned-filmmaker, and a survivor in every sense of the word. His story is well-chronicled — a staph infection in his brain nearly took his life a little more than six years ago and resulted in numerous surgeries, including the removal of three quarters of his skull.

His skull now is made of polymethyl methacrylate, which was connected by titanium plates and screws to what was left of his existing skull.


Turner, though, hasn't been one to sit around and dwell on his plight. He not only was a surfer, but a filmmaker who created acclaimed films, such as "Second Thoughts" in 2004 and "The Tsunami Diaries: A Voyage to the Epicenter" in 2006.

So when doctors advised against him getting into the warm tropical waters like those featured in his films in Indonesia, Turner adjusted. Put simply, there is a higher chance of contracting another infection in warmer waters, so Turner said fine, he'd go cold.

But cold to Turner wasn't 55-degree water temperatures in Huntington in the winter. It was more like 35-degree temperatures off Alaska, or British Columbia, or Iceland.

"Cold Thoughts" chronicles the adventures of Turner and his surfing buddies as they caught waves and camped out on snow-covered beaches while keeping an eye out for bears and other wildlife.

And that was the easy part.

For Turner, sleeping in a tent in Iceland wasn't as difficult as being trapped all summer in a room with videotape.

"I went through a lot of hours of tape, logging it all and registering it in my head," he said. "Logging tapes … I was overloaded with it. I shot it, I logged it, I surfed in it and then I had to go through the whole process over again with my editor to get a fresh set of eyes."

Turner admits he makes films like he surfs: don't think about it, just go hard and don't look back.

"I didn't have a script," he said. "It was just like, here's a box of tapes, we're going and we're gonna tell my story. Pretty much we just winged it like we always do in these movies.

"I didn't go to these places and say we're gonna have this shot and this shot and this shot, and have everything written down. I just went with the flow and comprised the story as we went on."

Turner is excited about his latest film, but says it's different than his others.

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