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Newport Beach Film Festival: Action Sports Film Series

 In Newport Beach, surfing isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life. So, as a cinematic ode to such an important aspect of our coastal culture, it’s only fair that surfing should get its own series at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Launched in 2005, the Newport Beach Film Festival Action Sports Film Series is, as festival organizers describe, “an international showcase of films celebrating athletes, visionaries, filmmakers, cinematographers, pioneers, entrepreneurs and designers who have shaped the action sports culture and cultivated its progression with their innovation, energy and creativity.”

A host of so-good-you-can-almost-smell-the-salt surf films will be showcased this year, along with other high-octane, aquatic documentaries. In case you’re wondering about the line-up, these are the movies that make up the 2018 Action Sports Film Series:


The Big Wave Project

Synopsis: The Big Wave Project is a masterful, award-winning documentary on the art of big wave riding from veteran Australian surf filmmaker, Tim Bonython. For five years, Tim followed a tight-knit crew of the world’s best big wave surfers as they each attempted a personal goal – to ride the world’s biggest wave. Tim is allowed into the inner sanction of this ‘band of brothers’ as they vividly, and humbly, describe their motivations and fears, and display death-defying feats at the prime big wave locations around the world.

BEYOND – An African Surf Documentary

Synopsis: Africa, despite its size, still remains a mystery for many. It seems that a faint barrier prevents us from establishing a close connection to this giant continent and its abundance of cultures – It feels like as if it lies in the past not in the present. Through BEYOND, the filmmakers immerse themselves in a region of West Africa to establish a close connection between Africa and Europe through one connecting topic: surfing. 

Emocean – A Surfer’s Connection to the Sea

Synopsis: Emocean started out as a surf film but quickly turned into something so much more than wild waves and barrel rides. This is a documentary with soul; a salty blend of stories by the eclectic assortment of people sharing tales of adventure, adrenaline, inspiration, love and loss and their relationship with the ocean. Emocean is a beautiful ride to countless coastal locations. Some locales are well-known like Hawaii’s Pipeline and California’s Mavericks and others are remote spots tucked high up in North West Australia and deep in South Australia.  

Perilous Sea
Synopsis: Inspired by the classic maritime novels about the cruel and dark North Atlantic, Perilous Sea follows a group of professional surfers around the different frozen and rugged corners of the North. Striving to be the first surf film to take place entirely in the North Atlantic the film is complete after three years of production. “Perilous Sea” was shot on location in Iceland, the Canadian Maritimes and Ireland.
Surfing to Cope
Synopsis: This film follows surfer Brianna Cope as she attempts to make the World Championship Tour while coming to terms with a physical challenge that has shaped her life.
Time Well Spent Documentary

Synopsis: Time Well Spent was created by James Fazio, a surfer and filmmaker who wanted to give a life-changing trip to four young men from different walks of life who all have found refuge in the ocean. As the boys surf perfect waves around the globe and experience a journey of a lifetime, they also learn what it means to give back to people even less fortunate then themselves. In the end, the filmmakers aim to show the four boys that no matter who you are or where you’re from, you can make an impact on the world.

Depth Perception

Synopsis: What happens when you take a Young Gun, a veteran, some chick and this other guy and drop them off in the middle of the snow-coated Canadian wilderness with a few boards and enough lenses to make even Marilyn Monroe blush? We wanted to find out. And so we did all that. Then we made Depth Perception. The film invites you to join Austen Sweetin, Travis Rice, Robin Van Gyn and Bryan Fox on an expedition. It’n to learn about nature. An expedition to ride some of the best backcountry on the planet. And, occasionally, an expedition to violently fall down a mountain to the peaceful hum of a violin. Mmm. Yeah. Depth Perception is somehow as earnest as it is tongue-in-cheek.

The Moment

Synopsis: In the backwoods of Canada, three small groups of adventurers are about to change the world. The activity of biking is a great hobby for many people around the globe, but these adrenaline junkies have discovered a new way to enjoy it, unbeknownst to the world and each other. Creating one of the most extreme sports imaginable, the inventors share their story of accidentally changing history and the cycling community forever.

Kim Swims

Synopsis: A freak accident left Kim Chambers with a mere one-percent chance of walking unassisted again. Diagnosed with Acute Compartment Syndrome in her right leg and just thirty minutes from amputation, she was determined to prove the doctors wrong. Despite much uncertainty and multiple surgeries, Kim spent two years rehabilitating her leg and has now regained almost full functionality. As part of this rehabilitation, Kim started to swim in a pool for the first time since primary school in New Zealand. On a dare, she went swimming in the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay and fell in love. Since then, she has done some of the toughest open water marathon swims around the world. Kim is only the 3rd woman and 6th person ever to complete the Ocean’s Seven challenge – the open water swimming equivalent to the Seven Summits of mountaineering. These seven swims – that span the globe – are chosen for their particularly difficult water conditions (strong currents, cold water, etc.) with significant wildlife risks such as sharks and jellyfish. She is now considered one of the most successful marathon swimmers worldwide.

China Doll – Love, Obsession and Hard Traditional Climbing with Heather Weidner

Synopsis: Through self-discovery and hardship, Heather Weidner becomes the fourth woman in history to climb a notoriously difficult route in Upper Dream Canyon, Colorado. This short documentary focuses on her passion as well as her relationship with her husband Chris.

Yas Mas – Snowmads in Greece

Synopsis: In January 2017 big mountain skier and adventurer Fabian Lentsch and his Snowmads Truck hit the road and headed to Greece, straight into the winter of the century in the Mediterranean country! In the new NINE&ONE production Ya Mas – Snowmads in Greece, Fabian, together with the Snowmads crew,  reveals new paths and scores spectacular skiing lines in regions that don’t appear on any free-ride map yet.

Kiss the Joy: The Story of Joan LinVan Blom
Synopsis: The film documents the life of Joan Lind Van Blom, the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in the women’s single sculls. In 1973 she was the first U.S. woman to reach the final in the event at the world championships. She repeated that feat in 1975 before winning silver at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Eight years later, she won a second silver medal –  this time in the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Camino Voyage

Synopsis: A crew including a Writer, two Musicians, an Artist and a Stonemason embark on the Camino by sea, in a traditional boat that they built themselves on an inspiring, and dangerous, 2,500 km modern day Celtic odyssey all the way from Ireland to Northern Spain.

Click here for the full 2018 Newport Beach Film Festival schedule.

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