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|"I see [Surfrider's members] as watchdogs," says filmmaker Scott Walker.|
A big-screen look at the fight to preserve Southern California's remaining coastal open space will premiere next summer if all goes well with a Kickstarter campaign launched by a Santa Barbara-based surfer and filmmaker.
Headed up by Scott Walker's Highliner Studios, the planned 30-minute documentary, "The Twenty," focuses on the beach town's chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and its land-preservation efforts during the past 20 years.
At stake, the foundation's chapter chair Sandy Lejeune told ESPN.com, are roughly 20 miles of undeveloped seaside ranches and farmland along Highway 101 between Winchester Canyon and Gaviota State Beach, a stretch of rural coastline known as the Gaviota Coast.
For the past two decades, the Gaviota Coast has been a formidable battleground between the forces of large-scale development and those who prefer the rolling, bucolic acreage left alone.
"Looking back on the history of our chapter," Lejeune said," I was drawn to the fact there are people here that have spent 20 years -- not realizing a dime for their efforts -- volunteering in a very dedicated fashion to protect something that they're never going to own. I was very impressed with that."
Among the hundreds of activists who have drawn a line in the Gaviota sand over the years, the documentary cherry-picks 20 men who have closely followed the foundation's mantra of "constant pressure, endlessly applied" against proposed development projects along that coast.
"I see [Surfrider's members] as watchdogs," Walker, 32, told ESPN.com. "They're there to ensure that everybody is playing by the rules. They will alway be there, and they'll always speak out and always be a thorn in the developers' side."
"[The movie] isn't going to be 20 talking heads," Walker added. "It's going to be experiential, a walk through the history of the land and a way to get to know the coast, with an overlay of these 20 men who have worked to try and protect it."
Launched on Oct. 15 at Kickstarter, the fundraising campaign features a four-minute trailer narrated by singer-songwriter Jake Smith, aka The White Buffalo.