Newport Beach Public Library Foundation Presents “Five Hundred Summer Stories: A Life in IMAX” with Filmmaker Greg MacGillivray Jan. 28

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Quicksilver co-founder Bob McKnight, former Surfing Magazine senior editor Sam George, filmmaker Greg MacGillivray at the premiere of the 50th anniversary screening of “Five Summer Stories” at the New Port Theater in Corona del Mar.

Laguna Beach filmmaker Greg MacGillivray was busy last year. Very busy.

His 1972 surf movie, “Five Summer Stories,” widely acknowledged as the best surf film of all time, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a rerelease that had its premiere last August at the New Port Theater in Corona del Mar, followed by screenings around the country.

“Five Summer Stories” was also featured at last fall’s Coast Film Festival in Laguna Beach. In addition to the screening of the film, there was a performance by Honk, one of the bands that created the music for the film.

MacGillivray also released his visual memoir, “Five Hundred Summer Stories,” that is available at bookstores and on Amazon.

“Five Summer Stories” is also featured in a new exhibit at the Laguna Art Museum that opened in November and runs through March.

Now, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation will present an evening with MacGillivray on Saturday Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. MacGillivray will speak about his life as a filmmaker, and his many groundbreaking IMAX films that have raised awareness about the natural world.

Filmmaker Greg MacGillivray signs copies of his book “Five Hundred Summer Stories” at the screening at the New Port Theater

You can also expect MacGillivray to talk about the film “Five Summer Stories,” and his book, which highlights not only the making of “Five Summer Stories,” but his own stories of growing up in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, the challenges he faced as a young filmmaker, and the increased challenges – and successes – of making IMAX films.

The book contains anecdotes and insights into his career plus myriad photos, along with 40 QR codes that when scanned take readers to additional never-before-seen footage that highlight the stories MacGillivray is sharing.

The evening will include a light dinner, with music provided by Steve Wood and Beth Fitchett Wood of Honk. Steve Wood worked on 25 soundtracks of the MacGillivray-Freeman films including “Everest” with George Harrison, “To the Arctic” with Paul McCartney, “Grand Canyon Adventure” with the Dave Matthews Band, “The Living Sea” with Sting, and the music for “Five Summer Stories.”

Greg MacGillivray with an IMAX camera / Photo courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films

The evening will benefit the A/V Technology Fund for Witte Hall, the soon to be constructed Library Lecture Hall that will transform the quality, and character of programs and events of the Newport Beach Public Library and Library Foundation as well as the extended Newport Beach community.

Tickets for the event are $200 each, and include the lecture, book sale and signing plus a light supper and wine following the program, which starts at 7 p.m.

For more information on the Foundation and the benefit presentation of “Five Hundred Summer Stories,” visit

Witte Hall Details

According to information from the Library Foundation, Witte Hall will include technically advanced stage lighting and audio-visual equipment to maximize the patron experience. There will be computer-controlled lighting over the audience and above the stage to provide multiple lighting settings for lectures, performing arts, film, and other presentations.

The back wall of the stage will be a 9’x16’ LED video wall for slide and video presentations, film, and to display selected images for performances. Multiple state-of-the-art speakers and excellent acoustics will mean that the human voice, musical instruments, and sound from the video display will be clear, precise, and vivid everywhere in the auditorium. Additional advanced technology includes the capacity to livestream presentations and a wireless Assistive Listening System.

Rendering of the new Library Lecture Hall

The City and the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation have entered into an agreement in which the City will be contributing half of the cost of construction of the Hall and the Foundation will fundraise for the remainder. It is anticipated that the groundbreaking for the new Hall will be in 2023 with the Grand Opening in 2024.

Naming opportunities are still available for the Library Lecture Hall, now Witte Hall. Major donors will have permanent recognition on the Donor Wall in the Louise and Roy Woolsey Memorial Lobby at Witte Hall and at Grand Opening events.

The Newport Beach Public Library Foundation funds valuable library resources, programs, and services, and engages the community through the creation and sponsorship of diverse literary, cultural, and intellectual programs.

Established in 1989 as a collaborative public-private partnership with the City of Newport Beach, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation raised $2.2 million in private funds for the construction of the Central Library, demonstrating widespread community support for the library system. Over the past decade, the Foundation has contributed more than $7 million to fund programs, technologies, and services for the 1.2 million people who use the four Newport Beach Library branches annually.

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