Fifth Annual Coast Film & Music Festival sells out opening night

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The Fifth Annual Coast Film & Music Festival kicked off Wednesday with a sold-out crowd of outdoor and adventure-film lovers eager to watch a special screening of “Wild Life,” an eco-documentary highlighting the lives of conservationists Kris Tompkins and her husband, entrepreneur Doug Tompkins.

This film, directed and produced by the Oscar-winning duo of Elizabeth Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, explores passion, purpose, grit and the significance of global conservation.

Coast Film Festival Co-founders Ben Wong (left) and Ben Warner (right) present opening night festivities at Hobie Surf Shop on Wednesday. Photo/Jim Collins

“We are deeply honored to have showcased this iconic film to our community,” said Ben Warner, co-founder of CFMF. “Each year, Hobie Surf Shop turns into an interactive screening room and kicks off the festival in a distinctive fashion, and this year, the atmosphere was truly electric.” 

The Tompkins, who fell in love in mid-life, left their immensely successful outdoor brands, including Patagonia, The North Face and Esprit, to embark on a visionary mission to establish National Parks in Chile and Argentina. “Wild Life” provides an intimate look at the highs and lows of their quest, which ultimately led to the largest private land donation in history. 

The opening night of the Coast Film Festival was a sold out affair. Photo/Jim Collins

Pre- and post- Q&A sessions set the stage for this award-winning film. The discussions were led by sports commentator and producer Pat Parnell, with speakers including Patagonia rock climbing ambassador and filmmaker Timmy O’Neill, Tompkins Foundation board advisor Chris Evans, executive director of the Marisla Foundation Beto Bedolfe, professional snowboarder and Founder of Protect Our Winters (P.O.W.) Jeremy Jones and author/naturalist Obi Kaufmann. Additionally, Oscar-nominated director, environmentalist, and co-founder of MacGillivray-Freeman Films Greg MacGillivray, activist Barbara MacGillivray, pro mountain bike icons Hans Rey and Richie Schley, along with other filmmakers and pro athletes in the genre were in attendance. The evening was further highlighted by book signings from Obi Kaufmann and Jeremy Jones, renowned authors on topics of nature and conservation.

Coast Film Festival opening night at Hobie Surf Shop. Photo/Jim Collins

The Coast Film & Music Festival will continue from Thursday through Sunday at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, featuring the inaugural Coast Summit presented by A New Earth Project. This full-day symposium will bring together distinguished filmmakers, athletes and environmental experts to collectively explore the profound influence of storytelling on environmental stewardship and social transformation. The evening’s program includes live music and a lineup of outdoor-themed films under the ‘Get Outside’ theme. For more information, visit coastfilmfestival.com.

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