UPDATE, APRIL 28, 2:23 P.M.: Already the biggest ticket seller in NBFF history, Dirty Old Wedge seeks to pile on even more with a fifth and final festival screening at 7:30 tonight at Triangle Cinemas in Costa Mesa. Tickets are $15 and, as this is being typed, it’s not sold out yet so hurry.
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 28, 8:06 A.M.: Facing a boisterous audience at the Lido Theatre that had given Dirty Old Wedge a fourth sellout at this month’s Newport Beach Film Festival, NBFF CEO Gregg Schwenk announced Wednesday night that the action-sports documentary had just become the biggest ticket seller in the festival’s 17-year history.
As I wrote in “Dirty Old Wedge Gets Huge Push From Newport Beach Film Fest,” director Tim Burnham’s first project sold out three screenings before the festival even opened on April 21. Leslie Feibleman, the longtime programmer of action-sports movies at the festival, says local surf films have a history of selling out theaters but added the world-famous Wedge surf break in Newport Beach holds extra special appeal.
That was evident from the loud cheers, laughter and even sobs last night’s crowd emitted during Dirty Old Wedge‘s hour and 2 minutes on the big screen.
While watermen and/or Newport Beach residents made up a good portion of the audience, the warm reaction was not only a result of homerism. Dirty Old Wedge is a damn fine movie, giving a historical perspective on the manmade wave phenomenon, props to the original (and very, very few) body surfers who first braved the wall of saltwater in the late 1950s/early ’60s and exposure to the “Wedge Crew” who protected the break for decades.
It’s chock full of shots of amazing wave rides as well as archival footage, much of it hilarious as the Wedge Crew were notorious cut-ups. Burnham’s compelling documentary ends on a hopeful note for the future of the bodysurfing culture down there at the end of the Balboa Peninsula.
For all those who did not get in to see it (or want to see it again), pre-orders of the Dirty Old Wedge DVD, which is to be released by the end of summer, are being taken at www.somethingkreative.com.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.