ENCINITAS — Concern for the ocean comes naturally for most locals. Having grown up next to the ecosystem, the connection between sea and man is understood thanks to local residents’ vigorous use of the beaches and ocean.
On July 1, the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association, or DEMA, along with the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter, took this understanding one step further by providing solutions to environmental issues via a monthly film festival.
Though in its first year, the free family-friendly Cottonwood Creek Environmental Film Series, held the first Thursday of the month from May to July, “was a natural transition” from the weekendlong festivals of the last two years, according to Program Assistant Carris Rhodes. “We want to raise awareness, (show) how things function, (talk about) water issues. This brings out people.”
The setting was an outdoor theater, with folding chairs facing an overhead projector at the Smog Test Only Center at 682 S. Coast Highway 101. And bring people out it did. The house was full to the point that one family, with beanbags from home, had to settle beyond the front row.
Before kicking off the feature presentations, the audience was asked whether anyone rode, skated, bladed, walked, charged an electric car or used public transit to get to the event, and those who said yes received a raffle ticket. The most creative means of transportation to the event was a vegetable oil car.
After Coaster passes and Ace Hardware gift cards were handed out, the series started. Marty Benson’s comedic shorts were up first, reminding viewers to do without plastic bags, pick up their cigarette butts and reduce household water use. The crowd favorite involved a James Bond-type man modeling the correct behavior with the ending message, “It doesn’t take a double agent to stop senseless waste.”
Next up was “The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water” by the Surfrider Foundation. The film’s executive producer, Belinda Smith, walked the audience through the downside of proposed desalination and made clear that “in nature, everything is connected.”
Encinitas resident Cyrus Sutton’s film “Riding Waves” rounded out the night. Though free of the previous clips’ environmental edge, Sutton’s work was a fitting finale, as it showed the role of the ocean in a surfer’s life. The message was that just as those featured in the film — Rob Machado, Joel Tudor, Dane Reynolds, Donavan Frankenrieter and John Peck — respected the source of the ride, so should we all. Due to the success of the series, Rhodes said she sees the walk-in movies continuing come spring.
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