Newport Beach Film Festival Announces Action Sports Film Series
The 20th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) announces its Action Sports Film Series presented by Vans, an international showcase of films celebrating athletes, visionaries, filmmakers, cinematographers, pioneers and designers who have shaped the action sports culture and cultivated its progression with their innovation, energy and creativity. Emerging on the forefront as the largest action sports cinema event in the nation, the Newport Beach Film Festival Action Sports Film Series presented by Vans will take place from April 25 – May 2, 2019 in Orange County, CA, a location celebrated as the epicentre of the surfing and skateboarding industry, and the ultimate destination to experience exhilarating, cutting-edge adventure on the big screen.
Films will screen at Regency Lido Theater (3459 Via Lido Drive, Newport Beach), THE LOT in Fashion Island (999 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach), Edwards Big Newport (300 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach), and Triangle Square Cinemas (1870 Harbor Boulevard, Costa Mesa).
The Action Sports Film Series offers filmgoers an opportunity to experience breathtaking cinematography, fascinating cultural journeys, in-depth portrayals and compelling stories that explore the physical, emotional, historical and spiritual realms of surfing, skateboarding, skiing, kayaking and other extreme sports. The series will spotlight sixteen films from around the world and will feature interactive filmmaker panels, post-parties, athlete guest appearances, autograph signings and the participation of action sports industry leaders.
On Saturday, April 27 at 8:15pm the Festival will present the World Premiere of The Tony Alva Story at the Lido Theater. Written and directed by Rick Charnoski and Coan “Buddy” Nichols of Six Stair Productions, The Tony Alva Story chronicles the life of 61-year-old Tony Alva who is considered by many to be the godfather of modern-day skateboarding. Alva’s brand of aggression and bravado paved the way for skating as we know it. An interactive panel featuring skateboard legend Tony Alva, Jeff Grosso, and directors Rick Charnoski and Coan “Buddy” Nichols will follow the screening. “Nobody really knows the oldest age for a professional skateboarder because there hasn’t been very many old professional skateboarders,” professional skateboarder, Tony Alva in 1979. The Vans produced short film Love Letter to China will screen with the Alva documentary. Following the screening, the Newport Beach Film Festival and VANS will host the Saturday Night Spotlight Celebration at Via Lido Plaza at 10:00pm. The event will feature a hosted bar by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a DJ and culinary tastings from local restaurants.
On Friday, April 26 at 6:00pm, the Festival will host the North American Continental Premiere screening of Heavy Water. Directed by Michael Oblowitz, the film follows big wave surfer Nathan Fletcher through the evolution of his surfing and his relationship with big waves. A Q&A with director Michael Oblowitz will follow the screening.
The Festival will screen two films from South Africa, Can’t Steal Our Vibe and Satori. Directed by Graham Nash, Can’t Steal Our Vibe tells the story of a life-changing surfboard drive in South Africa featuring pro surfers Patrick, Dane, and Tanner Gudauskas, and South African pro Michael February. This passionate documentary follows these influential surfers to Cape Town, South Africa on a journey to inspire youth in impoverished townships across South Africa. “You know you give someone a surfboard, it can change their life forever, there something incredibly special just feeling the energy that’s transferring through this movement in connecting each other in worlds apart,’ stated Dane Gudauskas, Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation Co-founder. Directed by Rick Wall, the surf documentary Satori follows a group of passionate surfers who have dedicated their lives to the ocean and riding the huge waves on the shores of picturesque Cape Town, South Africa.
The Action Sports Film Series digs into historical archives and ventures behind the scenes of the sport of surfing to chronicle the photographers, cinematographers and board shapers who have helped to influence and advance the progression of the sport. A film about innovators compiled of never-before-seen footage from surfing’s Golden Age, Spoons- A Santa Barbara Story directed by Wyatt Daily will screen as part of the program. When Renny Yater and George Greenough made surfboards for one of the best waves on earth, they helped kickstart a revolution and influence generations of surfers and shapers. Directed by Brent Storm, White Rhino follows a team of professional big wave surfers and photographers as they chase down what could be the biggest surf ever seen, but what they find is much more than that.
Five films in the Action Sports Film Series spotlight top women athletes. Bethany Hamilton is rewriting the rules on being a fearless athlete. Directed by Aaron Lieber, Unstoppable tells the untold story of the heart of a champion and her resilience against all odds to become one of the leading professional surfers of our time. Directed by Finding the Line tells the story of Olympian and X Games Slopestyle champion Anna Segal and her Freeride World Tour, big mountain skiing sister, Nat Segal, use their skiing to understand fear and how it manifests in the two siblings’ lives. The short documentary Paige follows Paige Alms the best female big wave surfer on the planet, as she surfs the biggest waves in the world while being an inspiration to the next generation. Faces of Adventure: Michelle Steilen aka Estro Jen follows quad skater Michelle Steilen over the course of three days, looking at her passion for the sport that changed her life. We Are Epic chronicles six female cyclists who were chosen via an Instagram contest to become the Liv Trail Squad and complete the ABSA Cape Epic–regarded as the world’s hardest mountain bike stage race.
The program will feature a documentary about kayaking, a popular recreational sport in Newport Beach. Directed by Michael Brown and featuring Erik Weihenmayer, The Weight of Water follows the adventure of a blind kayaker balancing fear in the chaos of kayaking white water rapids . . . not to mention drowning, and the powerful desire to be free from a prison of darkness, as he kayaks the Grand Canyon with a cast of characters who each have a different take on how to approach the challenge of Lava Falls, the granddaddy rapid of them all.
Filmed in Huntington Beach, Surfing Circle of Honors for Surfers by Surfers tells the story of a local surf community participating in The Guinness World Record event for the largest recorded paddle out, a feat that required overcoming challenges while pursuing dreams. This “It Takes A Village” story demonstrates the power of teamwork.
Rounding out the program, two short films in the Action Sports Film Series depict adventures in the ocean and the mountains. As the cracks in our society spread, Beyond the Noise follows two surfers as they seek refuge in the vastness of the ocean, away from the deafening clamour of humankind. From the backcountry of Japan to British Columbia, Holy Shit. That Was Ten Years?! takes you on a snowboarder’s dream winter tour.
The Action Sports Film Series is supported by Community Partners including John Wayne Cancer Foundation (Block the Blaze Campaign), Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, Surfrider Newport Beach, Ben Carlson Memorial & Scholarship Foundation, and Makapo Aquatics Project.
For Festival passes, tickets and information, visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com.
2019 NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL ACTION SPORTS FILM SERIES LINEUP
Action Sports (Features)
The Tony Alva Story (World Premiere)
Written and Directed by Rick Charnoski, Coan “Buddy” Nichols /Six Stair Productions
Featuring: Tony Alva, Jeff Grosso, Steve Olson, Shepard Fairy, Gus Van Sant, Josh Brolin, Jeff Ament, Glen E Friedman, Robert Trujillo, Brad Bowman, Pete Ziehnder, Jeff Ho, Stacey Peralta
Skateboarding did not start out as a rebellious, anti-authority lifestyle activity. One of the key figures in the early evolution of skateboarding from a wholesome, contest based “sport” into the freewheeling art form that it is today was Tony Alva. At 61-years-old Alva, the oldest professional, skateboarder in the world, is considered by many to be the godfather of modern-day skateboarding. Alva’s brand of aggression and bravado in the 70’s set the stage for the way skateboarding would be forever defined. Vans’ The Tony Alva Story chronicles T.A.’s humble beginnings on the streets of Santa Monica to his rise to superstardom as part of the legendary Z-Boys, his inevitable drug-induced implosion and his ultimate rise from the ashes to accept his rightful place as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations of skateboarders the world over.
Heavy Water (North American Continental Premiere)
Director: Michael Oblowitz
Featuring: Nathan Fletcher, Bruce Irons, Daniel Fuller, Darrick Doerner, Herbie Fletcher
This documentary follows big wave surfer Nathan Fletcher through the evolution of his surfing and his relationship with big waves. Tracing his lineage back to his grandfather, one of the pioneers of Oahu’s North Shore, Fletcher and fellow surf and skateboard legends share stories of the pursuit of their passion. A voyage through the eyes of the surfing community that delves deep into the roots and
mind-set of the board sports culture, culminating in a spectacular, never-before performed stunt, as Fletcher once again attempts to raise the bar of what is possible.
Director: Brent Storm
Featuring: Bruce Irons, Mark Healey, Kalani Chapman, Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel, Kohl Christensen, Brian Bielmann, Kai ‘Borg’ Garcia
A parallel story from the big wave surfers and photographers who witnessed the largest surf ever seen. This story is based on one photographer’s journey to capture the wave of a lifetime. In pursuit, three epic swells hit the South Pacific shorelines, providing conditions only madmen could dream of. Hear the story behind these historical days from the men themselves who dared to challenge the ‘White Rhino’.
Finding the Line
Director: Bjarne Salén
Olympian and X Games Slopestyle champion Anna Segal and her Freeride World Tour, big mountain skiing sister, Nat Segal, use their skiing to understand fear and how it manifests in the two siblings’ lives. Throughout their careers as professional skiers, Anna and Nat have both constantly been challenged by fear and have learned to deal with it in almost contrasting ways. A heartfelt journey on the knife’s edge of big mountains throughout Canada and France pushes them to their physical and emotional limits. The extreme skiing mecca of Alaska pushes them beyond. The Australian sisters soon realise that the most important lessons lie within each others’ approach. Equipped with greater insight, they negotiate the fine balance between staying in their comfort zone and taking too much risk, learning that sometimes to move forward, you need to understand what is holding you back.
Director: Rick Wall
Satori is ‘a glimpse of truth’ or a sudden moment of awakening. To have the confidence to overcome your fears and unlock your passions you need to be completely present. This cinematic film documents a group of close-knit big wave surfers who have dedicated their lives to the ocean and riding the huge waves on the shores of picturesque Cape Town, South Africa. Their passion is riding huge waves at two surf breaks situated in South peninsula, the infamous Dungeons below the sentinel mountain in Hout Bay and Sunset Reef 1km out to sea off the small seaside village of Kommetjie. While each surfer is surfing these waves for different reasons, the film discovers that there is a connection that they all feel and believe in. This connection is the raw beauty of the ocean beneath them.
Spoons – A Santa Barbara Story
Director: Wyatt Daily
Featuring: Reynolds Yater, Bruce Brown, Al Merrick, Bob McTavish, Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, Jon Pyzel, Marc Andreini, Shaun Tomson, Ryan Lovelace, Conner Coffin, John “Ike” Eichert, Bob Cooper
Dusty archives have been painstakingly tracked down and remastered to bring a new perspective to one of the most crucial periods in surfing’s evolution. This is a film compiled of never-before-seen footage from surfing’s Golden Age, with outtakes and extras from some of surfing’s most well known filmmakers to tell a history that has never been told before. “Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story” looks at how two innovators in surfing, Renny Yater and George Greenough, created surfboards to suit their specific approach to one of the best waves on earth: Rincon. Their work became a precursor to much of what surfing is today. From Santa Barbara to Australia and back again, this story chronicles California’s particular influence in surfing and celebrates the roots that helped grow it into a cultural icon.
Director: Aaron Lieber
Bethany Hamilton’s inspirational and untold story follows her journey from childhood into motherhood – the ups, downs and her powerful resilience against all odds to become one of the leading professional surfers of all time. In 2016 alone Bethany’s capacity to inspire reached new heights as she beat a six-time world champion and the top-ranked surfer in the world at a major competition. From chasing her toddler, to chasing the biggest waves, Hamilton is continuously rewriting the rules on being a fearless athlete, and brings new meaning to the phrase “Surfs Like a Girl”.
The Weight of Water
Director: Michael Brown
Featuring: Erik Weihenmayer
This is a story of a blind man balancing fear in the chaos of kayaking white water rapids . . . not to mention drowning, and the powerful desire to be free from a prison of darkness. He embarks, alone in his own boat, into the home of the most iconic white water in the world, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Erik has already overcome some stunning challenges for both sighted and blind people, including climbing Mount Everest. Whitewater kayaking is different, the water moves unpredictably, the rocks that make up that canyon walls are absolutely unforgiving, the roar cuts him off from his guide’s voice and threatens his kayak, his friends are also in equal jeopardy and fighting for their own survival. He soon discovers that all of the preparation and practice are not going to be enough. As the Grand Canyon’s crowning rapid, Lava Falls draws closer, Erik’s fear grows till it nearly paralyzes him. When disaster inevitably strikes, Erik is then faced with a powerful choice and a rare chance to change the outcome. This choice defines the journey.
Action Sports Shorts
Can’t Steal Our Vibe
This documentary follows a grassroots initiative unifying two cultures worlds apart through a common love of wave riding. In 2017, professional surfers PVW co-founders Patrick, Dane and Tanner Gudauskas along with South African pro, Michael February, hosted a surfboard drive to benefit the Waves for Change organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Their goal was to provide surf equipment to the youngsters coming out of the poorest townships in the region and provide a positive outlet for them to overcome the adversities of poverty, violence and abuse. Tag along on an adventure from San Clemente, California to Cape Town as the G-Boys and Michael February immerse themselves into the vibrant culture of South Africa in hopes of sparking the next generation of young surfers.
Love Letter to China
Skateboarding is freedom. In 1989 when George Powell, the owner of Powell Peralta Skateboards, flew to Beijing China was transforming from a closed market Communist society to an open global super power. George had one goal: to bring skateboarding to the biggest country in the world. The only problem: there were no skaters or skateboards anywhere in China. This episode of the long-running web Vans series, Loveletters to Skateboarding, reveals how skateboarding took hold in China and opened the hearts and minds of the Chinese youth.
Follow the best female big wave surfer on the planet, Paige Alms on her journey in Hawaii to surf the biggest waves in the world while being a great inspiration to the next generation. Follow the best female big wave surfer on the planet, Paige Alms on her journey in Hawaii to surf the biggest waves in the world while being a great inspiration to the next generation.
Beyond the Noise
Distracted by realities of our own invention, the natural world becomes invisible, technology is our king. As the cracks in our society spread, two surfers seek refuge in the vastness of the ocean, away from the deafening clamour of humankind. Unchained and dangerously close to freedom.
Holy Shit. That Was Ten Years?
YES Snowboards has been around for a decade. It is still rider owned and operated, and rider loved. This film is all about YES, the positivity, the passion, and the drive. From the backcountry of Japan to British Columbia, this film takes you on a snowboarder’s dream winter tour.
Surfing Circle of Honors for Surfers by Surfers
The Guinness World Record for the largest recorded paddle out required overcoming challenges while pursuing dreams. This “It Takes A Village” story demonstrates the power of teamwork.
Faces of Adventure: Michelle Steilen aka Estro Jen
Michelle Steilen is an internationally ranked quad skater, Hollywood stunt double, business owner, innovator and skate designer, who is single-handedly shaping the roller skating industry for the better. Based in Long Beach, CA, this documentary short follows Michelle over the course of three days, looking at her passion for the sport that changed her life.
We Are Epic
In 2017, six female cyclists were chosen via Instagram contest to become the Liv Trail Squad and complete the ABSA Cape Epic–regarded as the world’s hardest mountain bike stage race.
About the Newport Beach Film Festival
Celebrated as one of the leading lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the Newport Beach Film Festival presented by Pacific Sales seeks to bring to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. Committed to enlightening the public with a first-class international film program, a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the NBFF focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of studio and independent films from around the globe. The 20th annual Newport Beach Film Festival runs April 25 – May 2, 2019 and will spotlight over 350 films from around the world. The Newport Beach Film Festival presented by Pacific Sales, is sponsored in part by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fashion Island, and the City of Newport Beach.
Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans®authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans® has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans.