Unearthed short film “Paradise Nebraska” starring, me

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“Paradise, Nebraska” is a visual, visceral story of daydreams and desires which ultimately concludes that reality is what we make of it.”—Jason Mathew Moore, Director

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In the summer of 1998, I got a call from a UCLA college student named Jason Moore which ended up being one of the best phone calls I’ve ever received. The call was made to offer me a part in a short film called, “Paradise Nebraska” that would take me to both Fiji and Kansas. The story that was pitched to me was about a bored farm boy who dreamed of surfing. I didn’t need to read the script, I was in no matter what!

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Along with the film crew, (including Brad Anderson who was the cinematographer on the old Volcom films) I spent a week in Fiji on a small island called Batiluva which had a sick little left reef break called Frigate’s Pass out front. For the purpose of the film, they rented the whole island and break out, just for me. The waves were perfect the whole time, head high, glassy little tubes, all for me—this was the “Paradise” portion of the film.

After Fiji, we flew to Kansas to film the “Nebraska” part. I guess Kansas and Nebraska are pretty much the same thing so I didn’t argue. In three days, I learned how to drive a tractor, which was actually pretty fun. I didn my own stunts (pretending to surf on the tractor, falling off the tractor, etc.).

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The film eventually won a bunch of awards at film festivals and even wound up with a long run on HBO. I have it somewhere on VHS, but haven’t been able to find it until a few months ago, and here it is …

Paradise, Nebraska (Short Film) from Jason Moore on Vimeo.

Thanks Jason for this incredible experience and thanks for posting it, now I can finally show my kids that I was once an young, hot, actor, who surfed ha ha.

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“A young man surfs big waves at an isolated beach in paradise. Then, the film cuts to the same young man sitting on a John Deere tractor, pulling a cultivator through a field on a sunny, cloudless day in the American Midwest. Has he been daydreaming? Soon, he’s standing on the tractor seat, then he steps up onto the hood above the tractor’s engine: he’s surfing as he plows. Is he about to wipe out? The camera goes back to the South Pacific where the solitary lad continues to shoot the curl. Ah, paradise! Ah, Nebraska! Written by: jhailey@hotmail.com on IMDb.com


Winner, UCLA Spotlight Award for Best Experimental Film. Invited to over twenty film festivals and distributed to dozens of broadcast networks, internet websites and DVD compilations both domestically and internationally.