As reported by Renee Ramsey for The North County Times.
OCEANSIDE —- Oceanside happily upped the ante on its Surf City status with a winning first edition of a three-day surf film festival that ended Sunday.
“It’s just amazing,” California Surf Museum President Daryl Dick said about packed screenings of new and classic surf films and a VIP reception with crowds that spilled into the streets during the inaugural California Surf Festival.
“We got a huge amount of press all over the world,” he added, citing headlines from as far away as Australia about the event, which Dick said he anticipates will be repeated next year.
“All the sponsors we’ve talked to can’t wait to do it again,” he said. “The key thing was to make sure everyone had a great time, and everyone did a great job.”
Crowds of camera-wielding fans accorded star status to world-famous surfing documentary maker Bruce Brown, the main attraction at the festival co-presented by the museum and the action sports network Fuel TV.
It was Brown times three, in fact, with Brown, his filmmaker son Dale and filmmaker grandson Wes contributing to the selection of more than a dozen classic and new surf films shown at Oceanside’s Crest Theatre.
Dick said ticket sales won’t be counted until later in the week, but added that the big turnout for the museum’s fundraising festival bodes well for the facility’s move next year to bigger quarters in downtown Oceanside.
The new museum will offer three times the space of its current location to house an expanding collection of surf memorabilia.
The festival celebrated the 50th anniversary of Bruce Brown’s filmmaking career, which began with “Slippery When Wet” in 1958, featuring a pre-Beach Boys jazz soundtrack.
But it was “The Endless Summer,” made in 1964, that was credited with introducing surfing to new generations of fans and enthusiasts.
At a $150 per ticket VIP reception for Brown on Saturday night, fans filled the museum, a gallery next door and spilled into the streets, politely jostling for photographs.
Many asked him to autograph bottles of Endless Summer, a beer produced by San Diego County’s Karl Strauss Brewing Co., in honor of Brown’s famous film.
Brown, 70, wearing a lei and a Hawaiian shirt with an Endless Summer motif, also attracted a standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 people to a theater that seats 408 for a later screening of “The Endless Summer.”
“It caught the imagination of a lot of people,” Brown said about what he called his first “big budget” surf documentary.
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