Coastal Clash

By Directors Elizabeth Pepin
& Steve Welch

Many vivid images come to mind when the word “California” is mentioned.  Of course, this is home to the glamorous film industry, spectacular National Parks, and exciting amusement parks.  But these images all pale in comparison to the Technicolor vision of California’s awe-inspiring coastline: the miles of golden beaches with tanned sunbathers, hip surfers, and majestic views. 

But who does this priceless coastline belong to?  Wealthy individuals or the general public?  This is the provocative and important question that this documentary explores. This 56 minute documentary by directors Elizabeth Pepin and Steve Welch weigh the delicate balance between America’s strongly held private property rights and the more altruistic public access rights.

Whose coastline is it anyway?  It is the individual property owner or the general public? Both sides of the argument are dynamically and passionately presented.  The debate is a disturbing and intelligent discussion over who can and cannot access the beaches of California and the political and financial powers that protect and limit the interests on both sides of the debate.
Between the seawalls that are causing the beaches to disappear and the massive commercial and residential developments that are cutting off miles of beach access the “public beach” is becoming a rare – and crowded - commodity.  This is a real concern to the general public who cannot afford the multimillion dollar private homes and tourists who cannot pay for a premium beachfront hotel room.  And the real problem is the situation is getting worse, and if something isn’t done to halt the destruction and privatization of the California coastline future generations will severely suffers from limited access.

Coastal Clash is a well made and emotionally absorbing documentary.  The visual footage is both breathtakingly beautiful and intellectually disturbing.  However, it is a story worth knowing and undoubtedly you will never see the California coastline in the same light after viewing it.  This thought-provoking film is a call to action; a call for change.  An additional bonus: the documentary’s music is created by Santa Barbara native, and guitarist, Chris Shiftlett of the Foo Fighters who created 30 original pieces.

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