An A-Frame of a film, "Finding Pura Vida" is a locally produced documentary on surfing community's penchant for cause travel, which is to say sojourns to surfing destinations with more than just exhilaration in mind.
Set in Costa Rica, the film premiers Saturday as part of the inaugural Charleston International Film Festival. It will be screened 4-6 p.m. at the Terrace Theater.
The project is the latest from Organic Process Productions, co-produced by Fuzzco, a Charleston-based creative studio. The documentary also sports an original score from local musicians Bill Carson and Ron Wiltrout.
"Finding Pura Vida" follows surfers who pooled their resources to undertake a one-day surf clinic for a group of orphaned children from San Jose, Costa Rica. Seven years on, volunteer and pro surfers from around the United States and Costa Rica travel annually for the event, called the Pura Vida No Pro. Since the inception of the event, organizers have purchased a building and founded a transitional home for orphaned teenage boys.
Accompanying the film is a book, presented as a photo-journal, which melds the photos of professional photographers with the photos of children who were given disposable waterproof cameras and charged with capturing their favorite moments.
Proceeds from the sales of both the DVD and book will go to provide additional financial support to the Hospico de Huerfanos orphanage in San Jose.
The event's media director and avid surfer, Tim McManus of Peninsula Media of Charleston, says he determined to take on the project in hopes of inspiring other surfers to reach out to local communities when they travel. Nearly two dozen Charleston surfers now make the trip to Costa Rica each year to volunteer, he says, and have developed a special relationship with the local community and its children.
"It has really been amazing to see how the involvement of the Charleston surf community has organically grown over the years," he says. "What we get as volunteers is just way beyond anything we could get from a standard surf trip."
Go ahead, carve a wave.
Jumpin' at Juilliard
Filmmaker and novelist Nick Smith of Charleston is at the helm of the documentary "Kids Go to the City," in which 12 Charleston-area students in the "Summer in the City" program participate for four weeks (June 8-July 7) in an artistic residency at The Juilliard School of Music in New York. The selected students will reside at the famed school while "pursuing their dreams in theater, musical theater, dance and voice."
"Summer in the City" is a program of the local South of Broadway Theater Company.
Pre-production of the film has just gotten under way.
The students involved are Helena Ball of the Charleston County School of the Arts; Erik Brower, Corinne Tyo and Sarah Callahan of Summerville High School; Nova Gilliard, Jodye Carroll and Evan Woods of Wando High School; Caroline Todd of Northwood Academy; Hunter Watson of Dorchester Academy; Kaylan Becker of Fort Dorchester High School; Michelle Query of Stratford High School; and Yoanna Akis Voice of the Ellis School.
Courses of intensive study are designed for each participant individually, augmented by a variety of group workshops, classes and master classes with accom-plished artists and teachers.
Stone-faced actor, commentator and financial writer Ben Stein has outdone himself. This is not a compliment.
The same fellow who dismissed the mortgage and credit crisis as nothing to be concerned about; the same fellow who shilled shamelessly for the West Coast fisheries industry just before the salmon season was called off due to dramatically diminished stocks (Stein exhorting us to "eat all you want"), now is behind one of the most disingenuous documentaries of the year
Whatever the merits of Stein's argument in the "satirical" documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"— and most of them are quite dubious — the film is undercut by the former Nixon speechwriter's underhanded method of presenting his case.
Stein claims a conspiracy of atheists — Heaven forfend! — has hi-jacked science, education and the media. The film's asserts that the scientific community has mounted an intellectual Berlin Wall between Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and the rival "scientific" notion of Intelligent Design. Stein says that within the scientific community there are those who question the validity of Darwinian thought, a suppressed minority who must remain silent for fear of retribution by colleagues composing this atheist elite.
The film also concludes that the theory of evolution is responsible for the Holocaust and leads to a devaluation of human life. When you wade past the laughable hyperbole of such a claim, you must acknowledge that the scientific establishment, in and out of academe, frequently has been hostile to ideas that challenged the widely accepted view. But science also is alone among all human endeavors in that, ultimately, it is self-correcting.
If Intelligent Design is valid, it will win out. But it shows no signs of doing so, mainly because it is not science. Intelligent Design is a sanitized version of so-called Creation Science, or Creationism. And "Expelled" is right-wing political invective, just as execrable as those left-wing creeds that conveniently ignore evidence that does not support their claims about everything from oil industry profits to global warming to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Song remains the same
Black Sabbath's classic "heavy metal" song "Iron Man" was not inspired by the Marvel comic book character, who gets his own film, "Iron Man," opening Friday.
The song is actually the story of a time traveler who tries to warn the world of humanity's imminent destruction and ends up causing it. Kind of like some politicians we know.