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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.


Interview with the best short doc winner at the Santa Barbara film festival 2021



“Winner of Best Doc Short at the Santa Barbara film festival 2021”


Director: Richard REENS

Interview by Eùmmanuel Itier

Q: How did you get involved with this inspiring Doc? What was the attraction to the subject matter?


Richard: I have been a filmmaker and especially a commercial director for years. Good friends of mine who funded this project know the main protagonist of my doc, Stany Nyandwi, for over 14 years. They thought his story would be a fascinating subject for a film. And this is how I ended up in South Africa with all my gears to meet with Stany and start this adventure. Within a week we had the footage we needed. We then realized we couldn’t do a movie about chimpanzees and Stany without having Jane Goodall. And a month later we were interviewing her in Canada! I love animals and this was, in great part, the attraction about this project. And even so I’m used to work with scripted project with a very precise plan of every shot you do, I was attracted to let myself go into a media, documentary filmmaking, where you have to follow your instincts and let the movie direct you as much as you direct it. There is a certain freedom in doing that.


Q: What is this doc truly about for you and what are the messages, if any?


Richard: This may sound a little corny but I think this movie is a LOVE story!  A love story in several respects. First, it’s about Stany’s love for the chimps. It’s also about his hardship and loss about his own family. And, of course it’s about Jane Goodall’s love and passion for the Earth and all these beautiful creatures she is always protecting and saving.


Q: What did you learn from working with Jane and Stany?


Richard: From Stany, I learned about being in the moment, being appreciative of what’s going right now. And be observant and appreciative of everything. And try to look at everything without cynicism and with Love. And with Jane, I learned about bravery, passion and focus. She is such an impressive powerful and inspiring woman. She is a living lesson in strength and in character.


Q: What was your biggest challenge making this movie?


Richard: Sleep! Haha! And it’s true with every movie. You never have enough time to shoot everything, and it seems like you never have enough time to sleep. Thanks god it wasn’t months of shooting.


Q: Was there an idea from, the get go, to do a short versus a feature?


Richard: What is funny is that at the beginning we were not even sure we wanted to make a short. The idea was to support Stany and create, maybe, a teaser, a video that could become viral and help with this lifework. But we thought there was more here. And when I showed the footage to my longtime collaborator Adam Henderson he agreed we had something that could be put in a film version. And here we are!


Q: How is it to win “Best Doc Short” in Santa Barbara?


Richard: This is a huge honor! First, we were so happy to be selected. And now to get this award is humbling. This is a huge boost and I hope this will help us get distribution. This is a story that needs to be seen and I hope this will help with Stany’s life and the life of the so many chimps in needs of protection. And I hope this will help me put my next Doc, about an ex Victoria Secret model who knows is focusing at helping and saving cats in Harlem. It’s called ‘The Cat Lady of Harlem’.


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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has star wattage and a wealth of premieres in a Mediterrean-style city by the sea.

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Carol Marshall, Felicia Tomasko, Vanessa McMahon, Marla and Mark Hamperin, Kim Deisler and Bruno Chatelin

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