The inaugural three-city Save the Waves Film Festival Tour, a non-profit fundraising effort for clean beaches, will kick off tonight at 6 p.m. in Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theatre.
Along with live music, the eco-friendly event will premiere several ocean-themed films produced by local filmmakers includ- ing Groundswell, Ode to California, Yukon Kings, Black Diamond, Chasing the Swell and Upcycling. Profits from the $12 to $100 admission will go towards the Save the Waves Coalition, which promotes the preservation and protection of endan- gered surf zones around the world.
Surfer and filmmaker Sachi Cunningham said Chasing the Swell attempts to explore the vibrant scene of big-wave surfing by filming surfers dur- ing a huge groundswell in Waimea Bay, Hawaii and Mavericks, California.
“I wanted to kind of find out why [these surfers] had such a passion for big-wave riding, and why they pushed themselves to extreme limits to ride these waves,” Cunningham said. “I just hope that the audience will have a better understanding and appreciation of their hard work and the mindset that it takes to go into riding big waves.”
Cunningham said his other featured film, Unidos por Aguas Limpias, or “United for Clean Water,” focuses on beach cleanups in Chile in the after- math of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s coastline.
According to Katie Westfall, a graduate student at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and part-time conservation director at Save the Waves, the six-minute film is meant to motivate com- munity members to help protect the ocean and coast. Cunningham said the movie’s premise started with a few beach cleanups in Chile, but soon grew as their efforts were recognized and they began receiving calls from all over the country asking them to host more events.
“We took footage from various cleanups and synthesized it and put it together in one piece, to show the efforts of the Chilean people in the wake of disaster,” Westfall said. “We wanted to reinforce that we have this unbelievable connection to the ocean … the local communities should be in charge of taking care of themselves. We should be thinking globally but acting locally.”
Ode to California filmmaker Patrick Trefz said his film reveals the innate connection people have with the ocean as well as the allure of California’s past and present.
“I drew inspiration for this project from beatniks back in the 50s and 60s,” Trefz said. “This is kind of like a critical anecdote of modern-day California with some of the traditional mythical values that make [California] such an interesting place to roam around in.”
According to Trefz, the work is critical of industrialism and emphasizes the creativity that can be found all around in the natural environment.
“To me, being creative means being involved and paying attention to your surroundings,” Trefz said.
The festival will also make stops in Santa Cruz on Nov. 9 and its place of origin, San Francisco, on Nov. 16. Tickets can be purchased online at www. savethewaves.org/filmfestival.