Heroes of the Coast Film Screening: Benefitting California Beach Cleanups

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Accompany the Surfrider Foundation South Orange County Chapter for a screening of the documentary, Heroes of the Coast! This documentary tells the saga of how individuals of California organised to save the coast and set up the California Coastal Commission.

This fundraising event will help California beach cleanup programs, also including the California Coastal Commission’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day Program and the Surfrider Foundation South Orange County Chapter year-round beach cleanup efforts. Jim Moriarty, CEO of Surfrider Foundation, will be our keynote speaker.

Other dynamic coastal advocates will talk to our group also on what you can do to guard and preserve our finite coastal resources and support the California Coastal Commission’s magnum opus.


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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013 7:00pm
Ocean Institute Dana Point, CA
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Free Preview Screening Of Heroes of the Coast

(Feb. 27, 2013) — On Thursday night (Feb. 28), a free preview screening will be held at the Santa Monica Public Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) of Heroes of the Coast — the Documentary. The film shows how Proposition 20 was passed which created the CA Coastal Commission and led to the 1976 Coastal Act.
Among those interviewed in the documentary are Long Beach attorney (and former Coastal Commission chair/member) Mel Nutter and former LB-area environmental advocate (now Hawaii resident) Don May.

In a release, Earth Alert says:

The hour-long documentary tells the story of 50 years of California coastal protection activism and legislation, with emphasis on the events leading up to the passage in 1972 of Proposition 20. Prop 20 created the California Coastal Commission (CCC). February 2013 is the 40th anniversary of when the CCC first began operating as a state agency.
Interviewees featured in the documentary include many major figures in the coastal protection movement, including Ellen Stern Harris, Don May, Bob Sollen, Naomi Schwartz, Linda Krop, Jerry Smith, Warner Chabot, Bill Kortum, Alan Sieroty, John Dunlap, Joe Bodovitz, Sylvia McLaughlin, Peter Douglas, Lew Reid, Phyllis Faber, Bill Press, Brad Lundberg, Mel Nutter, and Michael Fischer. Among these, three (Ellen Stern Harris, Peter Douglas and Naomi Schwartz) have passed away since the time of the interviews were recorded.

The documentary is based on the Heroes of the Coast (HOTC) video archive of 59 interviews with California coastal activists, Coastal Commission staff and those who experienced the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill (see www.earthalert.org and www.heroesofthecoast.com).

Producer/director/writer Janet Bridgers described the origins of the project, saying “We compiled the HOTC video archive over the past eight years, beginning with an interview with Ellen Stern Harris, a friend and mentor, often described as the ‘mother of the Coastal Act.’ That first interview was recorded at the Adelphia public access studio in Santa Monica in August 2004. Ellen succumbed to breast cancer in January 2006. One interview led to another. We recorded two half hour interviews with Peter Douglas, the long-time Coastal Commission executive director in 2006, then another hour and 15 minute interview with him in August 2011, his last major video interview.”

“Small grants and donations along the way made it possible to proceed and we had help from the Coastal Commission to distribute archival quality copies of 19 of the interviews to coastal university libraries. But only scholars are likely to wade through so much content, so it became clear we needed to distill the interviews into a documentary that would be more accessible. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer, with a matching fund from the League for Coastal Protection, we were able to proceed in September with the documentary,” Bridgers said.

“Heroes of the Coast — the Documentary begins with the drama of two disasters,” Bridgers said. “The first was political, when voters in Sonoma County in 1968 were persuaded by corporate-financed advertising to cut themselves off from ten miles of beach at Sea Ranch. The second, still etched in the memory of many, was the 1969 Santa Barbara oil blowout. There were many other threats to the coast at the time including plans to turn Highway 1 into a four-lane highway, numerous plans for coastal nuclear power plants, and more plans for high rise hotels, condominiums, marinas and golf courses,” she added.

Bridgers described the sequence of historical events: “Californians reacted to the oil spill with an unprecedented sense of alarm. When efforts to pass legislation failed three years in a row (1970-1972), the Coastal Alliance launched an initiative. It qualified for the ballot through the efforts of thousands of unpaid signature gatherers. The Alliance then successfully campaigned for passage of Proposition 20 in the 1972 general election.

“This victory created the California Coastal Commission and lead to the legislature’s passage of the Coastal Act in 1976. It has prevented unrestrained development and asserted the Constitutional right of access to beaches. Our documentary celebrates the leadership that focused the will of the people, through direct democracy, to preserve the beauty and availability of the coast for all.

“Forty years later, most young people are unaware of this legacy,” Bridgers said. “Our hour-long documentary brings the story back to life on the screen with beautiful coastal footage and images and the dynamic personalities of those who made it happen,” she added…
Free preview/screening Heroes of the Coast — the Documentary
Feb. 28, 7 p.m.
Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.