Filmmaker Robert Enriquez describes his feature “Adventure Harbor,” which opens the seventh annual Sunscreen Film Festival West in Hermosa Beach Friday, Oct. 18, as “Goonies” or “E.T.” meets “Stand By Me” with a “Stranger Things” vibe.
Enriquez, who is the festival director, directed and produced the film that was shot last summer mainly in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, using many local crew and actors, including who have taken part in the festival's mentor program.
“They actually got paid gigs... real credits,” Enriquez said.
Enriquez said “Adventure Harbor” is about two boys, one whose parents are divorced and other who lost his mother, who stumble across a mystery in the harbor.
“As they move forward in their relationship (parents) they get to a point were they have to start blending together, but the two boys don't hit it off,” Enriquez said. “When they get pushing into a situation where they are all living under one roof, the two boys take a journey into the harbor one night and they meet some local kids. While they are cruising through the harbor and finding new things, they discover this sea creature that's lost her family. So they all have to work together to save the girl and get her back to her family in doing so they all become a family of their own.”
The story was written by Florida-based Jennifer Phillips.
“She wanted me to make the film there (Florida),” Enriquez said. “But with the time window I had, she let me rewrite it and do it in the South Bay. I'd change it to the harbor area and I got permission from the city of Redondo Beach, they were great to work with.”
Garrett Barghash, a 2014 Mira Costa High School graduate who graduatedfrom the USC Film School of Cinematic Arts in May, worked on the film festival's first two local documentaries, “Run Paddle Chug!” as a cinematographer in 2016, and “Jazz V. Punk” in 2018, as cinematographer and co-producer.
In this first feature film, Barghash was co-producer and worked on visual effects for “Adventure Harbor.”
“Each project is a learning experience.... always up the ante on the next one, “ said Barghash, who now works at Legendary Entertainment as an office production assistant, working his way up the ranks.
Barghash said the time frame they were working with was a major challenge.
“We were rushing a lot and we didn't have the biggest crew, but we had a pretty dedicated crew,” Barghash said. “What we were able to accomplish in like one day was pretty impressive... we had passionate people working on a passion project and that's what made it fun for everyone.”
Bridger Hart said he's been making films since he was 10 years old.
The Hermosa Beach resident graduated Mira Costa in 2017 and embarked on a filmmaking career. He has spent years learning visual effects software to “create magic from using these tools” and to find creative ways to what he “envisioned in my mind that drove me to start writing content.”
Hart was 19 years old when he was the director of photography for “Adventure Harbor.”
Besides the time constraints, Hart said the challenge was shooting in an actual harbor.
“We were working on a dock that is a few feet wide and water on either side and carrying lots of gear... people were hosing down boats while filming,” Hart said.
With about two weeks to shoot, Hart said he learned about the “power of local connections.”
“We had a lot of local people who were just helping us out, offering places to film. There were a lot of people in the community coming together to make this happen,” Hart said.
Redondo Beach's Wyatt Bernard, who attends Redondo Union High School, started acting in commercials when he was 4 years old and has several film credits including R.L. Stine's “Zombie Town.”
Bernard was 13 years old last summer when he played Travis, one of the boys who discover the sea creature.
He got the part only a few days before filming started so “getting the script down correctly and getting the personality down for the character” was a challenge. But he worked with a “awesome group of people.”
“Even though it was hectic at times, getting the script down and everything, it was 100 percent worth it,” Bernard said. “It was a really fun set.”
Sunscreen Film Festival West
The Sunscreen Film Festival West opens with “Adventure Harbor,” Friday, Oct. 18, beginning at 7 p.m.. The festival runs through Sunday, Oct. 20, culminating with an awards ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Hermosa Beach Community Theatre.
The Hermosa Beach Community Theatre is located at 710 Pier Ave.
For more information, including schedule and tickets, visit ssffwest.com.