With a line that stretched almost the entire block of Garden Street between Marsh and Higuera streets, filmmaker Trevor Povah could never have imagined that the premiere of his latest film would produce such a turnout.

He and the staff at Downtown Brewing Co. ultimately turned away more than 100 surf enthusiasts who braved the wind and rain of downtown San Luis Obispo in hope of seeing Povah’s latest film venture, “Lost in the Middle,” because there simply wasn’t room for any more people.

Povah, a Cal Poly graduate who is now a filmmaker-turned-photographer and an emergency medical technician for San Luis Ambulance, was almost bewildered at the turnout his film screening generated.

“I’m just completely blown away,” Povah said. “I had no idea that it would sell out so fast. (Neither I) nor any of my team expected it.”

“I’ve never seen it so sold out here,” agreed Townsend Brown, Povah’s public relations agent for Northern California. “Not to overdo it, but no other film screening at Downtown Brewing Co. will even touch this one.”

“Lost in the Middle” is focused entirely on surfing on California’s Central Coast, ranging from Ventura to Big Sur. The surfers featured in the film are also based on the Central Coast.

“This film was made for the surfers of San Luis Obispo County,” Povah told the crowd, which responded with a roar of cheers. “It features killer local music and will only be sold in San Luis Obispo surf shops so that the money can stay local. There are no interviews, no B.S. – just surfing.”

All of the music in the film is also from San Luis Obispo County-based bands such as Resination, Still Time, Killview and The Expendables. The music in the film varied greatly but was still quite appropriate, the soundtrack ranging from fast-paced punk to reggae to melodic jam music with trumpets and keyboards.

The premiere had an unmistakably local feel to it, with the crowd cheering both for friends whose surfing was featured in the film and for the bolder tricks and barrel rides. Six of the surfers from the film were present at the screening.

The film, which, according to opening credits, was “made for the surfers who inhabit the cold, fickle, shark-laden coastlines” of Central California, highlighted various characteristics that have come to define San Luis Obispo County, such as the presence of otters, seals and signs warning of shark sightings.

The featured surfers wore full-body wetsuits for the entirety of the film.

In stark contrast to the chilly weather outside, the venue itself was standing-room only and was humid to the point that perspiration could be seen on most people’s faces in the crowd. The staff at Downtown Brewing Co. could be heard remarking that they’d never seen the downstairs portion of the venue so packed with people, even for their most sold-out concerts.

The premiere also featured sets by two bands: Local artist Shane Stoneman opened with members of Santa Cruz-based Wasabi before the screening, and local reggae group Resination played an acoustic set afterward.

The film also has a bonus section, which features the same surfers riding waves in other parts of California as well as in Costa Rica and Indonesia. However, the focus of the film is clearly on California’s Central Coast.

The overall presentation of the film was quite seamless, with accompanying animations of surfboards being made and other surf-related elements providing the transitions from surfer to surfer. The camera angles in the film range from aerial views to underwater perspectives, reflective of Povah’s expertise in both still-image capture and filmmaking when documenting extreme sports.

“Lost in the Middle” is set to hit San Luis Obispo surf shops this week and is also available on www.redpotion.com, along with examples of Povah’s photography.

The immense response the screening received prompted Povah and the staff at Downtown Brewing Co. to schedule another film screening for Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

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