Del Mar beachfront Cinema Series gets ready for big screen

By Claire Harlin

Staff Writer

Former East Coast residents Emma and Ian Leggat were sitting outside enjoying a drink in Del Mar one day a few years ago when they began to reminisce about the outdoor cinema events they used to attend back in New York City.

“They are such great events that we’ve seen in a lot of other cities, and we thought it was strange that Del Mar, of all places, didn’t have that,” said Emma Leggat. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just start this?’”

It was that conversation that gave rise to the annual outdoor, family Cinema Series, which is in its second year and on its way to being a staple summer gathering. Hosted and organized by Friends of Del Mar Parks, the event brought out a large crowd last year, and this year organizers are expecting an even bigger turnout on Sept. 10 and 24 at Del Mar Shores.

But unlike last year’s event, which was funded through corporate sponsors, Friends of Del Mar Parks is seeking the monetary support of the community itself. They launched a fundraising campaign via, a funding platform for creative projects that provides information on the Cinema Series and facilitates online donations.

In just three days since the campaign was unveiled on July 26, the series has raised more than $600, Leggat said. But the Cinema Series is far from its $5,000 goal, which will cover operational and promotional costs.

“We thought this would be a fun and interesting way to engage the community, instead of having corporate logos everywhere at the event,” said Leggat, adding that letting community members donate will give them a sense of ownership in the series.

The 2011 Cinema Series kicks off Sept. 10 at sunset (around 7:30 p.m.) with a trio of award-winning films that put a new twist on the traditional surf flick. “Dear and Yonder” looks at the history of women’s surfing, and “The Physics of Surfing” will offer a scientific glimpse into the logistics of surfing, explaining everything from how it works to what makes the perfect swell.

Special guest Maggie Franks will also be present for the screening of “The Board Meeting,” a historical look at surfing, including the inspiration and origin of the San Diego Clothing line Old Guys Rule.

“We did some research on what are some thought-provoking, unique and interesting films that are related to the ocean in some way,” said Leggat. “We also looked at film festivals to find these films.”

The Cinema Series events will be free, but organizers hope those planning to attend will consider donating in advance. Prizes are offered at each contribution level, with the highest being $250 or more. A donation of that amount will win you a VIP, red-carpet experience at the event, in which organizers will set up a blanket and chairs at a prime viewing spot and include a candy bucket or chocolate-covered strawberries — your choice.

For $100 or more, donors will get a deluxe cheese-and-cracker plate and a “director’s wine sampler kit,” fit with four 50ml bottles, one each of Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvingnon.

To make a donation, visit https://

  1. For more about the films, schedule and updates, visit