City of Saint Paul To Host “Island X” Film Screening, Surfing and Filmmaking for Youth Workshops

Island X Film Screening – Saturday, October 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the City Rec Hall: Ben Weiland is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker specializing in documentary, adventure, and commercial work. He and his team will be traveling and touring Alaska to present their new film Island X, a beautiful, culturally rich surfing documentary which they filmed on Saint Paul Island in 2020.

Island X is a film about a journey beyond the edge of the surf map and overcoming life’s toughest setbacks. After losing his entire life’s work in a fire, internationally renowned surf photographer Mark McInnis assembles a team of surfers (Pete Devries, Noah Wegrich, and Josh Mulcoy) and sets out on a grueling mission to track down undiscovered waves on the most unlikely of islands, located in the far north, in the violent Bering Sea. His goal is to regain the inspiration that originally started him on the path of surf photography. After reaching the island, the crew meets up with a local native Alaskan-Ricardo Merculief-who has been surfing perfect, empty waves for over 10 years by himself on his family’s ancestral land. With Ricardo’s guidance, the surfers ride world class waves that challenge their understanding of what is possible in one of the harshest environments on the planet, while Mark finds the key to continue his path of photography and overcome life’s biggest setbacks.  Check out the Island X Film trailer at:  Also showing will be Peter Picked a Seal Stick.

This event will be combined with the Aleut Independence Day festivities: Before the film screening, bring a dish to share at the potluck starting at 4:30. After the film, stay after for questions and answers and storytelling.

Filmmaking Workshops – Sunday, October 22, 1:00-4:00 p.m.: This event will be held in the City Council Chambers. Ben and his team will offer a filmmaking workshop for Saint Paul youth. This workshop will cover all the different aspects of equipment, planning, filming, and editing. Learning filmmaking basics gives youth the tools to explore and express their creativity and imagination. This workshop will be a safe space for our youth to use new skills, bring ideas to life and take a closer look at their own individual talents and aspirations. The Filmmaking Workshop will include film and storytelling, using a camera, creating and composing shots to tell your story, adding music and sounds, and editing.

Surfing Workshop – Saturday, October 21, 1:00 pm:  This event will start in the Rec Hall.  Ben and his team will offer a surfing workshop for the youth on Saint Paul Island. Surfing teaches youth tenacity, and it shows youth how to learn from their failures. As an environment that inherently teaches patience and self-discipline, surfing helps develop the mental fortitude necessary to overcome many of the challenges we all have to face. By learning to remain calm during a surfing wipeout, youth become better equipped to defeat the other wipeouts they will confront in life. Since surfing is all about personal expression, some might even say surfing is a form of art. The City Parks and Recreation Division will provide surfboards and wetsuits in a variety of sizes. The Surfing Workshop will start with on-land instruction of wind and wave conditions, ocean safety protocols, step-by-step mechanics of paddling, standing up and maneuvering the board, and appropriate fitting and donning of the wetsuit. The group will then drive to the surfing location on the island where there will be 2-3 hours of in-water surfing lessons with 3 instructors experienced in surfing some of the most remote and coldest frontiers on Earth. NOTE: The date/time for the in-water portion of the workshop may be rescheduled due to weather conditions, if necessary.

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