What Not to Miss Next Week: The Action Sports Film Series Presented by Vans

Just like last year, this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival (the 20th iteration of its kind) will feature an entire swathe of films dedicated to action sports and adventure. The set, titled Action Sports Film Series will celebrate “athletes, visionaries, filmmakers, cinematographers, pioneers and designers who have shaped the action sports culture and cultivated its progression with their innovation, energy and creativity,” according to an official release.

The Newport Beach Film Festival Action Sports Film Series presented by Vans will take place April 15 to May 2, 2019 in Newport Beach, a bastion of surfing, skateboards and action on sea and land. N

Films in the series 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 2019 Action Sports Film Series includes:

The Tony Alva Story

Synopsis: 61-year-old Tony Alva 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. This film chronicles Tony Alva’s humble beginnings on the streets of Santa Monica to his rise to superstardom as part of the legendary Z-Boys, a punk skater subculture. His inevitable implosion and his ultimate rise from the ashes to accept his rightful place as a beacon of hope has given inspiration for generations of skateboarders all over the world.

Notes: The screening will be folowed by an interactive panel featuring skateboard legend Tony Alva, Jeff Grosso, and directors Rick Charnoski andCoan “Buddy” Nichols will follow the screening. 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.

Heavy Water

Synopsis: Professional big wave surfer Nathan Fletcher traces his lineage back to his grandfather and pioneer of Oahu’s North Shore. This film, told through the life of the surfing community, delves deep into the roots and mindset of board sports culture and follows Fletcher and fellow surf and skateboard legends as they tell their stories of pursuing their passions.

Notes: A Q&A with director Michael Oblowitz will follow the screening.

Can’t Steal Our Vibe

Synopsis: Tag along on an adventure from San Clemente to Cape Town as the G-Boys and Michael February immerse themselves into the vibrant culture of South Africa.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,” said Dane Gudauskas, Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation Co-founder.

Satori (plays with Can’t Steal Our Vibe)

Synopsis: Follow a group of surfers who have dedicated their lives to the ocean and ride the huge waves on the shores of picturesque Cape Town, South Africa. Their passion for riding these waves lies at two surf breaks situated in the South peninsula: the infamous Dungeons below the sentinel mountain in Hout Bay and Sunset Reef one km out to sea off the small seaside village of Kommetjie. While each surfer is surfing these waves for different reasons, we discovers that there is a connection that they all feel and believe in.

Spoons – A Santa Barbara Story

Synopsis: Dusty archives have been painstakingly tracked down and remastered to bring a new perspective to one of the most crucial periods in the evolution of surfing. This is a compilation 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. A story of craftsmanship, work ethic, renegades and tradition, this film goes beyond the time spent in the ocean to define how one spends a lifetime. 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.

White Rhino

Synopsis: 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’. 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.


Synopsis: 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. 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.”

Finding the Line

Synopsis: 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. A heartfelt journey on the knife’s edge of big mountains throughout Canada and France push them to their physical and emotional limits.


Synopsis: Follow 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

Synopsis: Follow, if you dare, quad skater Michelle Steilen over the course of three days, looking at her passion for the sport that changed her life.S

We Are Epic

Synopsis: 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.

The Weight of Water

Synopsis: Follow the adventure of a blind kayaker balancing his fear of drowning with his fear of remaining paralyzed in a prison of darkness. 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 grandaddy rapid of them all.

Surfing Circle of Honors for Surfers by Surfers

Synopsis: 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.

Ocean Quest XPRIZE Competition Documentary (plays with Surfing Circle of Honors for Surfers by Surfers)

Synopsis: Ocean Quest shares the experience of an unlikely team of junior high and high school students who advance to the semifinals of the international Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition to map the ocean floor. This is youngest group of students to advance to the semi-finals of any XPRIZE competition and shows the determination that caused these students to overcome historic odds to achieve the impossible.

Beyond the Noise

Synopsis: As the cracks in our society spread, two surfers seek refuge in the vastness of the ocean, away from the deafening clamor of humankind. Beyond the Noise follows two surfers as they seek refuge in the vastness of the ocean, away from the deafening clamor of humankind.

Holy Shit. That Was Ten Years?!

Synopsis: 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.

To learn more about the 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival and purchase tickets for the above action sports films — or really, any of the awesome films — visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com.