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Local News

‘Hana Surf Girls’ Screening a Benefit for Santa Barbara High Wrestling Team

The film's Lipoa Kahaleuahi and director Russ Spencer will be on hand to answer questions

A South Coast-based film company is screening Hana Surf Girls, which premiered at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, to raise funds for the Santa Barbara High School boys’ wrestling team.

The benefit screening by Bison Films will be at 7 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 24, at the Marjorie Luke Theatre on the campus of Santa Barbara Junior High, 721 E. Cota St. Tickets will be sold at the door for $6.

Lipoa Kahaleuahi, one of the stars of the surf film, will answer questions and sign autographs. Director Russ Spencer will introduce the film and answer questions.

“Many Santa Barbarans missed the film when it played at the film festival back in February, and we wanted to give them a chance to see it,” Spencer told Noozhawk. “The Santa Barbara High School wrestling team is underfunded, and we wanted to help them with their season this year.”

Hana Surf Girls was always meant to be a film mainly for high school students because it is so much about the issues that they face: coming of age and having to decide what to do when they grow up,” Spencer said. “The film is empowering for people that age, especially for girls, because the two main characters overcome many common obstacles, in part by living a clean, active lifestyle that values friendship and being close to nature over style or popularity.”

The film is the fifth documentary feature from Spencer, who has worked with such actors as Jeff Bridges and Rob Lowe. Spencer said he produced Hana Surf Girls in as low-key a manner as possible.

“There were no setup shots, nothing faked, nothing concocted,” he said.

Working with no corporate backing and no crew, Spencer said he immersed himself in the girls’ world as they went about their daily lives.

Hana, a remote town on the island of Maui, provided the original location for article that was optioned and became the film Blue Crush. In 1998, writer Susan Orlean traveled to Hana to research an article about surf girls for Outside magazine. After the article was optioned, the film’s locale was changed to Oahu and the story radically altered.

Hana Surf Girls embodies the purity and freshness of Orlean’s original vision,” Spencer said. “I tried to make myself almost invisible … to blend in as much as possible so that normal life would not be affected by my presence.”

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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