At Orange County Fifth District Board Supervisor Katrina Foley’s second “Women Making a Difference” Awards held on Saturday, March 18, she recognized a local leader for her efforts in showing what women can bring to the film industry.
Maureen “Mo” Langley, founder of the San Clemente Women’s Surf Film Festival, was honored in the awards’ film category during the event at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.
Other categories included arts, blogs, books and publications, podcasts, print news and television news, public information, radio, social media and the stage.
Langley started the film festival five years ago to fundraise for her nonprofit, Sandy Feet Initiative, which supports the siblings of children with special needs with recreational activities. She said that receiving the award was exciting and she’s still overwhelmed, as she acknowledged that her annual event is still growing.
“When I realized how many films there were that women had done about women’s surfing, I wanted them to be recognized and for people to have a chance to see them,” said Langley. “To be recognized for that was amazing. It was amazing from a nonprofit (standpoint), amazing for women surfers everywhere.”
The festival in January—the latest of which she threw herself into preparing just as in previous years—was another success.
A sold-out crowd attended, and the women filmmakers there enjoyed the interest people displayed in their art and expressed a desire to come back next year. The event expands each year, Langley said, which is another encouraging factor.
She’s learned over the years that the people she has worked with aren’t getting the recognition they deserve even as they make poignant films about the environment or other women in surfing.
“They’re just so darn impressive with what they’re doing,” she said.
Langley added that she takes her role in facilitating access to women’s films seriously, and that she is intentional about interacting with the filmmakers before, during, and after the festival, which serves to grow relationships.
Foley included a statement in a press release about the award event, congratulating all the nominees for their storytelling pursuits and encouraging women supporting other women.
“These stories are essential to retaining the history and experiences of our residents in Orange County,” she said. “I’m proud to celebrate esteemed women who care about others and understand that lifting up those in pain or struggling lifts up us all.”
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