Armed with just a 16-millimeter camera and more than 700 feet of film, art and design sophomore Jo Anna Edmison spent her summer recording strangers surfing and skateboarding.

On the sunny boardwalks of Venice Beach, Edmison began to piece together her original film, “Stoke Chasers.” In each dreamy, sun-kissed frame, not only does she hope to convey an aesthetically pleasing product, but also a message of women empowerment.

Growing up, Edmison said that instead of trying surfing, skating and other male-dominated sports, she was encouraged to try cheerleading and dancing. By the time she wanted to get on a board, her male friends outranked her in skill.

“I’m trying to get to the root of the problem of why we aren’t encouraged to try these things from the get-go, and how we can nurture a community that’s more accepting and more equal with the guys’ side of it,” Edmison said.

With her all-female film, Edmison said she wanted to highlight the girls who overcame outside intimidation in male-dominated sports.

“The main thing that has been really awesome with this film is meeting these people and building these communities of people who inspire each other,” Edmison said.

Edmison is one of many students whose work will debut at Cal Poly Surfrider Club’s first original film festival, Make Waves,  which will debut Apr. 24 from 6-9 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Lab (building 7).

Cal Poly Surfrider | Courtesy

Last year, the Cal Poly Surfrider Club screened films from Save the Waves, a partner organization. This year, Make Waves is a festival of its own organized by environmental management and protection sophomore Marissa Miller, the club president.

Miller collected film submissions from students, friends of students and members of organizations similar to Surfrider, which were then selected by the club’s film fest committee. As a part of Earth week, she said, this festival will highlight the beauty of the outdoors and people’s connections to the planet.

“Everything I’m involved in is just trying to get people to think about their impact on the world, and what they can do to make the world a better place,” Miller said. 

In addition to an hour’s worth of short films and one feature-length film, the festival will also include live music, art displays, prizes and zero waste food and drinks. Tickets are donation-based, and all proceeds will fund future Surfrider projects.

According to Miller, there are a multitude of ways get involved with Surfrider, from volunteering at beach cleanups to marketing or event planning.

“I hope that this film fest inspires people to think about the different ways they can contribute,” Miller said.

Tickets are now available to the public for Make Waves.

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