Ryan McDonald

Sunscreen Fest West back in Hermosa Beach

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by Ryan McDonald

Hermosa Beach resident Bill Sarine was looking for film festivals to show a short film he had been working on when he got an email from his brother with a list of possibilities. He began scanning the list and, to his surprise, found one that would let him walk to see his short film “Deal” on the big screen.

Sarine is one of many filmmakers eagerly awaiting the start of this year’s Sunscreen Film Festival West, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Hermosa Beach Community Center. The festival, which has been run out of the South Bay since 2013, features a mix of documentaries, shorts and feature films, as well as panel discussions featuring film industry professionals.

Event organizer Robert Enriquez said he is motivated by a desire to provide a place for South Bay residents to see independent films without having to schlepp to West Los Angeles or Hollywood. He notes that theaters showing a greater share of independent films, such as the Bijou in downtown Hermosa, or the former Pacific Theaters location in Manhattan Village, have long since closed.

But Enriquez, himself a filmmaker whose film “Adventure Harbor” premieres Friday night, also sees the festival as a chance to highlight unrecognized talent, especially from the area.

“We try to be a force for helping independent filmmakers get on screen; that’s part of the importance of a film festival. I’m proud that we’re able to do that, and I personally try to find as many local premieres as possible,” he said.

That includes Sarine. He spent years working for Disney in the production and development of live-action film and television, and would work on shorts and music videos during his weekends. Eventually, he decided to take “the leap” and devote himself to being a filmmaker.

“I just wanted to wake up every day and be a director. I may not always be directing the coolest or sexiest thing, but I’m grateful,” he said.


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