The Saltwater Film Society will make Saturday, April 24 a day of delights for everyone who loves the ocean, surfing, adventure and travel by showcasing some of the best new independent surf and ocean-based adventure films from around the world at the Strand Theatre at 345 Main St. in Rockland. In addition to the films, there will be prizes, giveaways, a Surf Art show and mid-festival reception, a visit from Maine’s own Grain Surf Boards in their vintage panel truck, and more.

There will be two sessions of films, one starting at 3 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Tickets for either session are $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for those younger than 18. Full festival passes are $14/$10. Advance tickets are available at the Strand Theatre by calling 594-0070 weekdays between noon and 4 p.m. or online at rocklandstrand.com.

The five films in the festival lineup, made by some of today’s most talented surf filmmakers, explore the beauty of the oceans and the deep connection and pull to the ocean that is so strong for so many people — and central to the experience of those who surf. Session I offers three films that run just under an hour each, and Session II will have a half-hour short and a feature length Maine premiere. Following is a schedule and synopses.

“Dear and Yonder: Daring Stories of Ladies United By the Sea” is a 2009 film from the United States created by Tiffany Campbell and Andria Lessler with principal cinematography by veteran filmmaker Thomas Campbell. This film tracks the unbridled progression of top professionals Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho, Silvana Lima and Sofia Mulanovich as they immerse themselves in Indonesia’s green caves and aqua faces, but it also introduces many other up-and-coming and lesser-known female surfers and wahinis. The intimate documentary explores the spiritual side of surfing and the rich history of women’s contributions to the sport.

“Ishmael,” a 2003 U.S. film by Ben Keller, will be of special interest here as it chronicles the New England surfers who suffer the buffeting of the North Atlantic. Ten avid surfers from Maine and northern New England talk about the sensations of local surfing and the need to explore New England’s wintry seascapes, accompanied by some of the hardiest surfing in America. There is a small, dedicated and ever growing core group of people who patiently wait for the waves, no matter the season; this film proves there are fishermen who surf.

“Little Black Wheels,” a 2010 Australian film that is the latest from surfer and filmmaker Mick Waters, comes from more expected surfing grounds. It documents his family’s five-month surf road trip around Australia. Traveling with a 2-year-old, his pregnant wife, a dog and a camper van, life is stripped back to its basics. No boat charters, Internet swell predictions or expensive budgets were used in the making of this film. Featured are Dave “Rasta” Rastovich, Dain Thomas, Mick Hughes, Johnny Abegg, Antoine Cardonnet, Beau Young, Jimmy McMillan, Brett Schwartz, Ry Craike, Mark Healey, Dave Macaulay and Family, Kristian Spencer, Danny Wills, and a host of other underground surfers. This film also showcases Maine’s Grain Surfboards.

“Powers of Three,” a 2009 film from Ireland, will open Session II Saturday night. The West Coast of Ireland produces an unpredictable selection of waves with the scale, power and weight that can comfortably compete with what the rest of the world has to offer, and “Powers of Three” explores the burgeoning big-wave Irish surf scene by following three remarkable surfers. Fergal Smith, Tom Lowe and Mickey Smith are more than just athletes; they are artists driven by obsession, prepared to suffer and sacrifice in pursuit of their art. While they can surf almost anywhere, they have made it their purpose to surf in this magnificent (and potentially deadly) location. This is a stunningly beautiful film, filled with rich images of Ireland and its rugged coastline.

“180° South” will close the festival with its Maine premiere screening. The inspiring new film from director and surfer Chris Malloy and his collective at Woodshed Films documents the adventures of surfer and climber Jeff Johnson retracing the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard (rock climbing legend and founder of Ventura-based Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins, on which they drove, mountain climbed and surfed their way to Chilean Patagonia. Along the way, Johnson encounters big surf, snowy mountains, a dangerous ocean crossing, pulp mills, cowboys, dams and more on his way to climb Cerro Corcovado in Patagonia. He meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature and have come to Patagonia to help use their influence to help protect it. The film is a road trip movie, a historic document and an environmental call to arms, but mostly a meditation on what matters most in life – staying true to one’s own vision and values.

“180° South” will continue at the Strand through Thursday, April 29. Also on screen at the Strand during the festival will be the award-winning photography of professional surf photographer Nick Lavecchia, and attendees at the festival will have a chance to win an Alaia surfboard by Jon Wegener. The Alaia is a traditional handcrafted wooden finless surfboard that was used by the ancient Hawaiians. Wegener Surfboards now replicates and produces the Alaia in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the popularity of these unique boards is growing fast. This is a rare opportunity to win one of these boards.

In addition to featuring films about surfing and the ocean, Surf Film Fest 2010 will offer a Surf Art Show and opening at The In Between Gallery, located in-between Rock City Books & Coffee and the Black Parrot on Main Street. Portland’s Corduroy Boutique & Gallery will be installing a one-day-only gallery collection showcasing surf art from artists around the country.

The art will be up all day, and the opening reception will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in between the two film sessions. The exhibit will be a mix of photography, prints, paintings and mixed media. Some artists represented will be Jamie Watson, Ty Williams, Seamouse, Ryan Tatar, Nick Lavecchia, Luke Taffee, Tammi Snodgrass, John Culqui and Dan Tedeschi.

For more information about Surf Film Fest 2010, visit rocklandstrand.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.