Petra & Pierce Michael Kavanagh, the founders of the San Diego Surf Film Festival & Misfit Pictures, are launching a new film fest for Fall 2015 called the Action International Film Festival. Held October 23-25th at a site to be determined, AIFF is promising three days filled with action & activism based films, director Q & A’s, live music & art and if past experience is any indicator there might be a beer somewhere nearby too.

We chatted with Petra & Pierce about the new festival and how it might differ from SD Surf Film Fest.

Lightning Bolts of Awesomeness

SoCal Sessions: AIFF is billed as “Action” & “Activism.” What does that mean & how do they complement each other on film?

Action International Film FestivalPierce & Petra: The Action International Film Festival will be a perfect blend of films focusing on high-energy “action” sports (surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, etc.) and global “activism” themes (environment, pollution, human rights, racial equality, etc.).

To us, these films genres compliment each other extremely well and lately we have even noticed a cinematic blending of these two symbiotic worlds. Some of the most important films that we have seen this year have thoughtfully blended the two. We are honored to present the AIFF as a platform to usher in the era of the environmentally-minded action sports filmmaker and present their amazing work to our hometown crowd. Our goal for the AIFF is for all the films to inspire the audience to create their own Action.

We are initiating the AIFF not because we want to but more because we believe we have to. These are powerful films that will change your lives.

By most accounts, the recent SDSFF was a huge success but it’s a pretty big production. Why decide to create another festival and how will AIFF be different?

Yes, the SDSFF keeps growing at an alarming rate every year but that just motivates us more and more.  How can we keep making it better than the year before?  We just keep putting our heart and soul into the entire thing and that seems to be working so far.

In regards to the AIFF, as filmmakers ourselves we travel to film festivals around the world to present our own films and while doing so we found so many incredible films that didn’t exactly fit the SDSFF’s criteria but that we felt were extremely important and absolutely needed to be seen by everyone. We are initiating the AIFF not because we want to but more because we believe we have to. These are powerful films that will change your lives.

The AIFF will be just like the SDSFF, we will put together a program consisting of amazing films, live music and art, great food, drinks and thousands of smiling faces. We know not to fix what isn’t broken.

With the Activism component to this festival & having experienced the SDSFF you seem to make drawing attention to social & environmental issues (worldwide) a priority of your film festivals. Why make it more than just sports porn?

Sports porn gets boring really quickly. Films need substance to truly resonate and these are the films we will be seeking out. We will have a full festival program spectrum that will admittedly include a couple of sports “porn” films but we will also present other films that completely balance out the program. For example, you may go in to watch a mountain-biking film and you leave wanting to build houses for the poor in Nicaragua. That’s what I mean by life-changing.

Action is a pretty broad category. What qualifies as an action sports film?

Hahahahhahaaa, good question. Who said “I don’t know how to define it but I know it when I see it…” ? They were talking about something else entirely but it works here too.  Action sports can be loosely defined as anything that gets your adrenaline pumping.  Climbing, skiing, hiking, surfing, diving, moto, snowboard, skate, skydiving, etc.

There was a time when most of these films were looked down upon in the world of filmmaking as nothing more than a novelty. The productions that are being created today rival the top Hollywood studios, plain and simple.

In addition to Films what will be going on at AIFF?

We will kick the entire event off with a VIP party on Friday night which serves as a big meet and greet with filmmakers, pass holders and industry folks alike. There will be live music and art, food, drinks and a whole lot of fun.

We continue the AIFF with a 2 day program of amazing film blocks on Saturday and Sunday.

Most films will be accompanied with filmmaker Q&As.

The 3 day AIFF will feature over 24 of the most important films of 2014 and 2015.  Yes, bold statement.

We will keep adding events to the festival schedule as we get closer to the dates.

Why should SoCal’ers, Surfers take a break from their regular routine of beer festival, brewery tour, beer festival to come to AIFF?

I guess you can answer that probably better than anyone. You came to the SDSFF for your first time this year and you looked like you had a blast. Maybe you can shed a little insight.

See you all there.

Anything else to add?

These questions were answered by both Petra and Pierce.

Rock on.

Lightning Bolts of Awesomeness

Those guys weren’t lying we did have a blast at SDSFF. We’ll be attending AIFF this year, and with our recent SDSFF experience we’ll have pretty high expectations. SDSFF was a pretty first rate event.

Night Rider FilmPart of what made SDSFF memorable was the great group of people participating and attending. Filmmakers and artists all following their passions, and a crowd of supporters. In fact, it inspired us to try our hand at film-making! We’re in production on a biking film short right now. Follow our progress online at or on Twitter & Instagram.

Want to submit your own film to AIFF? Check out their submission details here.