Windswept Saved by Iron Man

Filmmaker Favreau Remembers His Roots

By Danielle Lipiec

The Ocean Beach Community Fund (OBCF) will be showing the film “Chef” for the first of its two free movie nights, on Friday, July 6, at 8:30 p.m., at the Ocean Beach ball field. The chosen film, directed by writer, actor, producer and past Ocean Beach resident Jon Favreau, will be shown as part of his continuing personal efforts towards the Community Fund. Favreau has supported the fund’s work for the Ocean Beach community in the past, and more specifically so, for the ongoing restoration of Windswept. The free movie event follows Favreau’s own donation to the Windswept restoration project, a place he frequented during his childhood as a member of the Ocean Beach Youth Group (OBYG).

Favreau grew up as an involved member of the Ocean Beach community, participating in multiple children’s parades and as a camper at the OBYG. As director of a number of films including “Swingers,” “Elf,” “The Jungle Book” and the “Iron Man” franchise, Favreau has come far from his humble beginnings. He is presently working on the animated production of “The Lion King,” and is executive producing and writing a live-action “Star Wars” series for Disney’s emerging streaming platform.

Success aside, Favreau has managed to stay involved in Ocean Beach. With existing ties to the community, it seems he felt compelled to offer his help in the restoration process of Windswept. “He still has Fire Island in his blood. His heart is still here,” said longtime friend of Favreau and OBCF Co-chairman and Co-treasurer Rita Silver. While Silver noted that Favreau hasn’t made his way to Fire Island in many years, his continued involvement in the community is evident through his contributions.

“He’s sent four hand-signed posters that we’re going to put at the ball field and auction off on the upcoming movie night,” Silver said.

Favreau’s movie “Chef” will be shown free of charge with complimentary popcorn, courtesy of OBCF.Donations to OBCF like Favreau’s have been imperative to the organization’s ongoing efforts to complete projects like Windswept around the village.

Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Village of Ocean Beach and its inhabitants were tasked with deciding how to go about restoring all that had been destroyed, including Windswept. After choosing to use the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund restoration efforts, the community had to take into account what FEMA would not be paying for. “If FEMA considers it an upgrade, they won’t pay for it,” said OBCF Co-president Holly Etlin. The organization has worked on fundraising for Windswept for two years, raising $150,000 to pay for new additions to Windswept that FEMA would not cover, such as boat racks, a public launch ramp, and ground floor decking.

These add-ons serve to fulfill the anticipated new purposes for the building. “Windswept is envisioned by the village as not being just the home of the Youth Group, but being a place that all sorts of activities that are available to the whole village can happen. When camp is not occupying the building, it will be available for everybody to use,” Etlin said. “The village is very lucky in that after Windswept gets done, between that and the Community House, [it] is going to have a plethora of places for recreation, meetings, classes, and other things that enhance life on the island.”Windswept is slated to finally open this summer, with a ribbon cutting date to be announced.