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Are you a surfer, a filmmaker, a storyteller, an ocean-lover? We'd love to hear from you.

Santa Cruz, CA
United States

Schedule + Tickets



All Screenings At the Rio theatre, 1205 soquel ave, santa Cruz

Every Ticket gives you a chance to win goods from our awesome sponsors -                      Click here to check out the prizes at each screening.

 Plus, the first 200 people at every screening get a goodie bag!

General: $16 / Groms 12 & under: $10 / All-screening pass: $50

(plus 5% admission tax)

 A portion of all ticket sales goes to benefit Save Our Shores.



Director: Nathan Oldfield
Running time: 55 mins

The Church of the Open Sky is the latest feature length release from award winning independent Australian filmmaker Nathan Oldfield, creator of Lines From A Poem, Seaworthy, The Heart & The Sea and Gathering, which won our 2015 festival Jury Panel Awards for Best Short Film and Best Soundtrack. Shot on location in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka, the film features Dave Rastovich, Lauren Lindsey Hill, Tom Wegener, Belinda Baggs, CJ Nelson, Alex Knost, Johnny Abegg, Neal Purchase Jr, Jason Salisbury, Devon Howard and many others. 
A luscious visual love poem that explores gratefully lived surfing journeys. It is a sea soaked celebration of the exquisite preciousness of being alive.This film is an inspired and endearing representation of the surfing experience, where all participants are worthy and welcomed - to learn, play and grow together - in inclusive, sacred playgrounds beneath The Church of the Open Sky.


Director: Steven Blatter
Running time: 4 mins
A short film about a 2-year-old girl shaping her dream surfboard and french shaper Jeremy Ferrara making her dream come true.

Director: Luca Merli
Running time: 6 mins
A story of a dream mixed with reality. Wandering in Sri Lanka with stylish Sea babes Lola Mignot, Karina Rozunko, Sierra Lerback and Luki O'Keefe, they lived boundless and free, open hearted and with an open mind to the new world. Water of the Indian Ocean was their primordial element healing all wounds and creating magical and beneficial effects. 

Director: Zach Weisberg
Running time: 7 mins
This might be the world's first ever Western surf flick. It goes a little something like this: 
There was a gal – a cowgirl surfer, to be exact, named Leah Dawson. She believed people can do anything. And she had a nasty obsession with the Legend of The Iron Sea Horse. As the tale goes, there existed a Shangri-la oasis right smack dab in the middle of America's plains. It only revealed itself to that contrarian kinda character who truly believes that anything's possible.
A handful of brave explorers had passed through over the years never to be seen again, but she didn't care. She trekked by foot, by horseback. Heck, even by surfboard.
She had a vision. Always searching. And her belief in the indomitable human spirit might bring her to ruin. a surfer's paradise.

Director: Mike Bromley
Running time: 27 mins
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.

FRIDAY late: 8:30-10:30 PM


Director: Darren McCagh
Running time: 31 mins

Russell Ord wakes one morning in Margaret River, looks over the photos he's spent a large part of his life capturing and is filled with an overpowering sense of dissatisfaction. The shots are good and have graced the covers of surfing magazines worldwide, but deep down Ord knows he didn't walk away from a secure career as a fire fighter to just take "good" shots. He wants to go to bed at night knowing he's taken that "one" shot, the one he'll remember not because of the surfer's name or reputation, but for the position he had to be in to capture it. Just down the coast is a thick, evil, brute of a wave he knows will deliver the opportunity to capture just that. But as a loving husband with three kids it's not lost on him that the end goal, and that drive to have 'his moment', isn't going to come without sacrifice.


Director: Ira Opper
Running time: 45 mins

In the early eighties, while sailing in crude leaky boats off remote Lombok island in Indonesia, young California surfer Bill Heick and his friends stumbled across the perfect wave… a pristine barreling left reeling endlessly and empty over a shallow, live-coral reef. 
As treacherous as it was beautiful, this motley crew of modern-day surf argonauts named it "Desert Point" for its dry forbidding nature. These pioneers kept their treasure off the map for more than a decade and made it their life's mission to surf uncrowded Desert Point at the highest level possible… no matter the cost. But Paradise comes at a price… a constant balancing act between the surfing dream and the very real possibility of injury, armed robbery, maiming, and deadly cerebral malaria. And when exploration evolves into exploitation, there comes a point when the pioneers become the protectors. 
Join us for a journey on one of the last great dirtbag adventures of the 20th Century… one passed through three generations. And learning that if want to keep paradise, you need to stand up for it. 


Director: Tay Steele
Running time: 17 mins
From Hawaii to Tahiti, Lumière takes us behind the lens of North Shore photographer Amber Mozo, to find what the ocean gives to her in spite of what it took away. Lumière is an emotional distillation of the story of Amber, daughter of iconic North Shore photographer Jon Mozo, who passed away from head injuries sustained photographing Pipeline when Amber was just 9 years old.

Director: Drew Malone
Running time: 16 mins
Surfing New York is both complex and beautiful. With all the elements needed to align, hours on end can be spent hunting down good waves with no guarantee of scoring. Your best bet is to then surf through frigid winters which is where our story begins. NY surfer Joe is on the search where he is reminded that Time and Tide waits for no man.



Directors: Matt Crocker & James Dean
Running time: 1 hour 34 mins

Europe is, and always has been a travelling surfer's dream. Wildly diverse coastlines, curiously "other" cultures and perfect waves: a beguiling mix for those hardy souls who first explored the Old World for surf and adventure. What transpired was an annual winter pilgrimage, from the bitter North to the sunlit South. A quest for perfect waves and life changing experiences in the most culturally diverse continent on the planet. 50 years on, we join a new generation of European surfers as they trace the steps of the pioneering few who first tackled Europe's waves and sculpted its extraordinary surf scene.


Director: Shane Knock
Running time: 2 mins
Based on a true story. A lost, broken boy who lived in a cave is redeemed by the transforming power of the ocean.

Director: Josh Rufford
Running time: 4 mins
An animated adventure about a couple of unlikely friends seeking fun waves and good times... 

SATURDAY late: 8:30-10:30 PM


(Some French and German with English subtitles)
Director: Alena Ehrenbold
Running time: 44 mins

Searching for the answers to questions of life, the three surfers Annabel, Rachel and Alena embark on a lifetime adventure to Hawaii – the birthplace of surfing. 
Blue Road tells the story of Rachel, an Australian surfer who decided to follow her family roots and to live surrounded by mountains despite her passion for surfing. The story of Annabel, a French girl who gave up her professional surfing career and the traveling that comes with it, to return to her cold, silent home in the north of France to follow another passion – drawing. And Alena's story, who grew up in a landlocked country, but chose to leave her home and her job to dedicate her life to the ocean. But did they make the right choice?
Blue Road is a movie about the pursuit of happiness and poses the question, which role passion should play in life? Through the different lives of the three protagonists and their common adventure this documentary offers an authentic vision of women's surfing today.



Director: Graham Nash
Running time: 24 mins

After Patrick, Dane and Tanner Gudauskas' first surf trip to Jamaica in 2014, they were compelled to come up with a way to help this budding surf culture, full of passion for the ocean, but lacking in the infrastructure of surf equipment to achieve their true potential. Jamaica has a talented crop of young surfers led by Billy "Mystic" Wilmot, but they don't have any access to modern equipment or even surf shops due to high import taxes and tariffs. 
The Gudauskas Brothers began to brainstorm ideas on how to make a positive impact on this surf culture and came up with a "Surfboard Drive," setting out on social media and asking people to donate any old surfboards they may have. After a month of getting the word out to local communities, they ended up gathering over 200 surfboards! 
Fast forward to 2016, the Gudauskas' shipped the boards to Kingston Harbor, Jamaica, the home of the Wilmot family and ground zero for the Jamaica surfing scene. This is the story from conception to execution. Director of Photography for Positive Vibration is local filmmaker Kyle Buthman, whose film, Brainwork: Anthony Tashnick, won the 2015 festival Audience Favorite Award for Best Short.

(Japanese with English subtitles)
Director: Dominic de Salis
Running time: 4 mins
A short film based on the personal journey of Byron Bay based Japanese shaper Masami Yaguchi. It follows the narrative of Masa who became infatuated with a culture in a time and place where surfing was seen as uncouth, and explores what drove him to move to a foreign country with an alien culture in pursuit of his passion.

(Chinese with English subtitles)
Director: Anders Melchior
Running time: 6 mins
More and more young Chinese pursue their own dreams and seek a higher degree personal freedom. Their mindset stands in stark contrast to the Chinese society's cherishing of permanent jobs and predictable futures. Awen's mom wants him to become a fisherman like his ancestors. Awen, on the other hand, just wants to surf. Anders Melchior's last film, Bruce Gold - Last of the Great Surfing Hippies, won the 2016 festival Audience Favorite Award for Best Short.

Director: Bruce Buttery
Running time: 6 mins
One man's mindfulness in the pursuit of truth and the perfect wave, detailing his approach to environment, passion and surfing. Filmed on location in beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal and in the bustling city of Durban.

Director: Chris Case
Running time: 5 mins
The Brotherhood charts the relationships and fraternity in the Irish big wave surfing community and how they train hard for the surf and to rescue each other when things go wrong. It captures every hard-hitting moment from the Irish big wave spot, Mullaghmore, during the 2016/17 season, including 5 XXL nominations, 2 double wave hold downs and multiple mind-blowing angles.

Director: Vinny Stelzer
Running time: 8 mins
This is Matt Chapman, a surfer from Jersey that after a long stint in semi-professional competing decided to call it a day and focus on studying towards a more sustainable career. His perseverance and determination to achieve success is the driving force that has led him to start competing again. I call it 'Grit'

Director: Kohl Christensen
Running time: 9 mins
Kohl Christensen adds a dimension of storytelling to his notorious big wave pursuits in Stonehead, a fictional tale of a group of surfers that embark on a boat to a mysterious island in search of the largest waves of their lives. The list of surfers charging includes Kohl and Nick Christensen, Aron Gold, Mikey Pietsch, Danilo Couto, Ben Wilkinson, and Dusty Middleton.

Refunds may be issued up to 24 hours before the ticketed event. Four-screening passes are refundable up to (and including) September 25, 2017.