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filmfestivals.com is covering live from Santa Barbara with pictures and videos.
 
SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to making a positive impact utilizing the power of film. SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film.

In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for our program expansion. This marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center focused on the art of film and is an incredible opportunity to expand our mission of educational outreach. Particularly important to SBIFF is making available high quality learning opportunities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Our programs and reach are more robust than ever before.


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Interview with Casey McGarry director of two shorts showing at SBIFF: “ELECTRIC LADY” et “VUJA DE”

Director: Casey McGarry 

Two Shorts at the Santa Barbara film festival : ELECTRIC LADY – VUJA DE

Q: Tell us about the genesis of these two docs?

 

Casey: For the last 6 years or so, I’ve been making SB themed short to medium-length documentaries for the film festival and there’s no better feeling than lifting up your local community using this particular medium. Finding an inspiring, unique and local story on an ordinary person who lives among us here in Santa Barbara has become an enjoyable hobby and pastime for me. There's something really special about the now running tradition (Since 2017) of the best local docs playing Closing Night especially at a packed Arlington theater surrounded by all familiar faces. I think this year will be just as magical in such a cool and inventive space, like a drive-in at the beach. 

I wrote a non-fiction essay on the roller-skating group in Central Park in college, and I guess I’ve always had a fascination with roller skating because it’s just looks so cool. My childhood friend Grant Nestor who started the retro throwback corduroy shorts company in town called “Hammies” also co-founded the rolling skating group here called ‘SB Rollers” in 2020 with a guy named Terrance Brown (one of the main characters in the film). I’ve been following the group since their beginning towards the onset of the pandemic and immediately thought it’d be cool to do a film project with them. Then a few months back, I stumbled upon Ana Coffey’s story online in a Santa Barbara Memories forum on Facebook, and it was like discovering gold. I knew I had to track her down and find the bigger story... trace it to the beginning of roller skating on the beach in SB. So, I packed up my truck and drove to Tucson, AZ where she’s been living since 2007 to visit with her and to document her story. That’s how the film “Electric Lady” came to be.  

 

 

Q: Tell me about the challenges you faced with these films?

 

Casey: Strangely I couldn’t get any of my usual cameramen or editors to work with me on these films as they all were busy on other assignments. So I had to do pretty much everything on my own. So it was a little tough to work by myself, mainly. It was tough to complete them on time for the festival of Santa Barbara. As far as reaching out to the Electric Lady, Ana Marie Coffey who I has discovered through a Santa Barbara Facebook memory page, it wasn’t so simple. I had to reach out to her and explain her I was working already on an idea about the Santa Barbara roller skaters, a local group of people skating. But she was in Tucson, Arizona. So this was quite an adventure to get to pack up my car and get to her in Tucson! And it was a race to the finish line. Now I’m happy she is in town and she can be here for the premiere of the movie.

 

 

Q: What do you hope the impact is with these two films:

 

Casey: It’s all about making positive films to inspire people. I hope that through these two inspiring individuals, people awake to find their own dreams and put them in motion. In such an appalling and tumultuous year that was 2020 with all the police brutality, protests and unrest in the streets, not to mention again the seemingly never-ending pandemic, I felt that I had to tell this story now because how timely it was and everything it represented. Also, both Ana Coffey and Terrance Brown (the 2 main characters in my film) are black and this is Santa Barbara, certainly not a place known for having a very large and diverse African American population. Between the BLM movement and the roller skate boom of 2020, this was a film dying to be made. Also, the SB Rollers' skate meet up is every Sunday at the bottom parking (lot C) at SBCC and that’s where the drive-in screens are being built for the film festival, so Mickey Duzdevich (Sr. Programmer at SBIFF) thought it’d be the perfect film to play this film in that setting, naturally. 

 Making “Vuja De” was just icing on the cake for me.  Michael is a great artist and such a fascinating guy that he was an easy subject to make a film on. A Philadelphia transplant to SB and freelance writer, John Paul Titlow, (the producer of the film) introduced me to Michael and told me I had to see his art but especially his studio space, “The Rondo” (formerly Artist Gary Chafe’s studio). The building is a character itself and a really neat artifact steeped in Santa Barbara History. 

 

 

Q: How surprised were you to be part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival?

 

Casey: I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen with the film festival this year or if there was even going to be one at all. I, for one, didn’t know if I had anything to offer but then I realized if anybody did, I had to get my act together and do some work because there’s always a good story to tell in this town and I bet the film fest needed me most now. What else was I doing anyway during a pandemic besides eating microwavable mac and cheese and watching old episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  I hope that maybe I can do a feature version of the “Electric Lady” as I think it can be expended and there are more things to explore with her. Also, I wrote a musical feature about a talented music engineer that passed away a few years ago. So I hope I can find some more support for me and my twin brother with whom I have a production company. I’m super pumped with “Electric Lady” playing at the drive-in theatre at the Santa Barbara film festival. It’s going to be right near the beach where she was skating so it’s a perfect fit.

Electric Lady (Select Scenes): 

Vuja De (Rough Cut): 

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