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Coast Film and Music Festival draws well in return to Laguna Beach

Moorea Howson, star of the film "Queen Moorea" is given the red carpet treatment at the Coast Film and Music Festival.
Moorea Howson, star of the film “Queen Moorea” is given the red carpet treatment as she arrives for the Legends of Laguna Beach Filmmaker Showcase during the fourth annual Coast Film and Music Festival on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Coast Film and Music Festival returned to Laguna Beach last week, as filmmakers and fans of the outdoors gathered to celebrate the ideas of exploration and environmental protection.

Introduced to the Laguna Beach community in 2019, the festival has shown more than 200 films to its audiences.

The event was held from Nov. 9 to Nov. 13 at various venues around town, including the Festival of Arts, Laguna Beach Beer Co., Sueños, Marine Room Tavern, Seven 4 One, and The Ranch.

Russell Long and Andrew Corradini, from left, of the Great North Special, exchange solos during the Coast Film Festival.
Russell Long and Andrew Corradini, from left, of the band Great North Special, exchange solos during the Coast Film and Music Festival on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Approximately 4,500 people attended during the five-day event, including sellout crowds on opening night and on the final day of the festival.

The festival closed with a 50th anniversary celebration of “Five Summer Stories,” the surfing documentary produced by Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman.

MacGillivray gushed as he watched, and narrated, selected clips from the film on Sunday evening, accompanied by a live performance from Honk, a band that got its start in Laguna Beach. The group also toured with the Beach Boys and Chicago.

Festival co-founders Enich Harris, left, and Ben Warner, join in a round of applause for filmmaker Greg MacGillivray.
Festival co-founders Enich Harris, left, and Ben Warner, join in a round of applause for filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, in jacket, after a showing of his film “Five Summer Stories” on its 50th anniversary, during closing night of the Coast Film and Music Festival on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Sam George, the former editor of “Surfer” magazine, introduced the festival’s finale by highlighting the music behind “Five Summer Stories.”

“Suddenly, we’re sitting there watching a surf film where the score was actually written for the film,” George, a professional surfer, said to the crowd. “The impression was this movie, and this music, was made for us, and it was made about us. That’s why the footage, … it had the impact, but the magic of ‘Five Summer Stories’ was in the music.”

Honk members Beth Fitchet Wood and Craig Buhler perform at the screening of "Five Summer Stories."
Honk members Beth Fitchet Wood and Craig Buhler, playing two saxophones at once, perform at the screening of “Five Summer Stories” at the Coast Film and Music Festival on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Attendees enjoyed various offerings, including a curated art exhibit, food trucks and a quirky silent disco. Those participating in the disco put on sets of headphones, and if they were tuned in to the same music as a fellow dancer, their headphones would light up the same color. No one else could hear the groovy beats.

The Coast Film and Music Festival partners with nonprofit organizations focused on environmental stewardship, among them Laguna Canyon Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, Protect Our Winters, One Percent For The Planet and Coast Film Foundation.

Finalist Kalani Cummins, center, is named the winner in the Follow the Light surf photography grant competition on Saturday.
Finalist Kalani Cummins, center, is named the winner in the Follow the Light surf photography grant competition in honor of Larry Moore, for whom the contest is named after, during the Coast Film and Music Festival on Saturday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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