Film shot locally by Andy Warhol in 1968 to premiere in La Jolla

'San Diego Surf' to screen Saturday

LA JOLLA, Calif. - A movie shot in La Jolla by renowned artist Andy Warhol will premiere on the West Coast for the first time.

Though "San Diego Surf" was filmed in 1968 and sat unfinished for decades, the discovery of it is causing quite a stir.

"San Diego Surf" begins with a kitschy splash of color and sound. The music and look will remind watchers of the beach and surf movies of the 1960s. It is a rare glimpse into the mind of an artistic giant.

"He's the father of pop art," explained Hugh Davies, director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. "It's almost like a piece of archeology to find it."

The 90-minute movie was shot on 16mm film and revolves around an unhappily married couple who rent their beach house to local surfers in 1968.

Never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage shot by La Jolla resident Lee Pratt shows Warhol at work.

When many think of Warhol, images of his colorful celebrity silk screens or everyday items turned into icons, including Campbell soup cans or Brillo Pad boxes, come to mind.

However, Davies said Warhol was a force in film whose influence can even be seen on reality TV today.

"Its corniness and sort of goofiness is what gives it this sort of veracity that you're eavesdropping on a real conversation rather than watching a movie," said Davies.

In June 1968, a month after filming, Warhol was shot in New York.

"He didn't die until the 80s, but that was in essence the end of his active shooting of film," said Davies.

In the mid-1990s, the Andy Warhol Foundation commissioned the co-filmmaker, Paul Morrissey, and the foundation curator to finish editing the movie Warhol began along La Jolla Shores and Black's Beach.

"I think it speaks to the continuing importance of San Diego that a great artist would hone in on San Diego and La Jolla to make this piece," said Davies. "He was well ahead of the curve 45 years ago."

The premiere of "San Diego Surf" is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

The showing is sold out, but high interest could lead to another screening.

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