BMCA somatic movement conference focuses on embodiment and brain research, with an indigenous education element
By Leslie Dinaberg
Monday, August 5, 2019 – 10:15
Santa Barbara, CA
Bringing together more than 70 presenters from around the world, the Body-Mind Centering Association (BMCA) presents its 34th annual interdisciplinary laboratory, research and workshop conference at UC Santa Barbara August 6-11.
brooke smiley. Photo by Peter Aguilar.
Hosted by brooke smiley, a lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance, this somatic movement conference features an array of workshops, panel discussions, presentations and performances. The theme, “Self and Other,” reflects the conference emphasis on the evolving indigenous embodiment in relation to dance, song and land.
“I wanted to create a focus on what it means to value our differences and also bring focus to our interconnectedness,” said smiley.
She anticipates approximately 130 participants at the conference, which is open to the public. “It’s interesting because we have a lot of people from different realms: science, dance, academia, choreographers, dancers, therapists and infant movement development specialists,” smiley said. “Movement research takes a lot of different forms out in the world. As host, I’ve been able to be supported in bringing a focus to an indigenous educational awareness about the land here, specifically before UC Santa Barbara was here, and the dances and the songs that came from the bodies in relationship to this land.”
With that awareness in mind, the Friday, Aug. 9 plenary session led by smiley, titled “Embodying Land in Dance and Song: Addressing Decolonization in Indigenous Ceremony and Performance,” includes a panel from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. An indigenous dance artist herself, smiley was recently named a 2019/2020 Advancing Indigenous Performers Fellow by the Western Arts Alliance, a program made possible by a lead grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Among the conference highlights:
• A two-part presentation by BMCA founder and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. “Engaging Self and Other through Embodiment, Part I” will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Part II will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.
• 2019 Guggenheim Scholar Ann Cooper Albright’s two-part “Cultivating the 3R’s: Responsiveness, Resistance, Resilience” (Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. ). Cooper is professor and chair of dance at Oberlin College.
• Two evenings of dance performances (Aug. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m.) in 1151 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Admission is free.
Founded in 1985, the BMCA is a professional organization dedicated to exploring, sharing and expanding body-mind centering work. Members reside around the world, including the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Inga Guzyte, courtesy photo.
Using recycled skateboard decks as her medium, Inga Guzyte (ingaguzyte.com) transforms her passion for skateboarding into sculptural art. Her new #RebelWomen series spotlights women from around the globe—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai, Frida Kahlo—emphasizing their strength, courage, fearlessness and wit.
“I am hoping to share rebellious and empowering stories,” says the 34-year-old artist, who lines her Santa Barbara studio with floor-to-ceiling stacks of skateboard decks (recycled from the nearby Lighthouse Skateshop) and waits for the right colors to show up before creating her sculptures. Born in Lithuania, and raised in Germany, she came to Santa Barbara at age 21 to learn English and immerse herself in the California skateboarding culture. Making her way into the male-dominated sport influenced her work.
Inga Guzyte self portrait, courtesy photo.
“Inga’s work is an exciting combination of vision, originality and high craft,” says Nathan Vonk, owner of Sullivan Goss Gallery (sullivangoss.com) in Santa Barbara, where a solo show of Guzyte’s work appears from June 1 through July 23. “While her pieces are made from brutal, broken materials, the finished products are both sophisticated and delicate,” he says. “With her #RebelWomen series, she has added to that appeal by including a message that is powerful, important and uplifting.”
International colloquium in dance and performance studies addresses issues of race and racism in American classical ballet
The beauty and artistry of ballet can belie the sometimes painful truths that exist behind the dance.
Calvin Royal III and Unity Phelan in George Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957), Vail International Dance Festival 2018. Restaged by Heather Watts. Photo by Eric Baiano.
“Those dances by George Balanchine and other 20th-century neoclassical choreographers reveal how the idiom of classical ballet has institutionalized and subverted American racism,” said Ninotchka D. Bennahum, a professor of dance and performance studies at UC Santa Barbara.
These ballets — such as the iconic, Civil Rights-era Balanchine ballet “Agon” from 1957 — reveal the complex relationship ballet and preeminent cultural institutions share with racial consciousness in the United States before and after World War II, she added. “Dance artists asked to undertake these roles have the capacity, the moral responsibility to shift our consciousness or to raise our consciousness. No work of art belongs solely to its time,” Bennahum said.
These topics and others will be considered when distinguished scholars and world-class performers gather Monday, April 29 in UC Santa Barbara’s ballet studio for the colloquium “Race, Ballet, American Dance,” a day of discussion and demonstration. Co-curated by Bennahum and Stephanie Batiste, an associate professor of English and of Black studies, the conference is the inaugural event of the International Colloquium for the Study of Dance and Performance Studies.
“We will pose the question, ‘What is the value of these actual works of ballet as historical archive?”
Combining elements of live performance and music, discussion and filmography, the multidisciplinary colloquium — which is free and open to the public — will explore the critical role of art in capturing and commenting on American history, specifically examining how racism has been institutionalized in American classical ballet.
“The history of the civil rights movement is written by ballet choreographers and modern choreographers,” said Bennahum. “Dancing bodies play a vital role in getting audiences, in raising public awareness to issues of injustice, to issues of joy and love and sexuality, and things that are not so easy to articulate with words.
“But these are not happenstance dances, these are dances that happened in very particular moments of time,” she added. “The relationship between African American vernacular dance, African American choreographed ballet and Russian, British, American ballet, really became a symbol of race relations in the United States.”
Participants will enter the event through a lobby exhibition featuring an archival collection of photographs curated by Bennahum from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library, the largest and most comprehensive archive in the world devoted to the documentation of dance.
“I really feel that it’s very important for students that we show them dancing bodies they cannot see in Santa Barbara,” Bennahum said. “The gravitational center of dance in the world is New York and I just felt we had to bring it to them, and we had to bring it in the form of performance and in the form of art exhibit, images on the walls, so they see that this is an intellectual, academic subject they can study. But it cannot happen without performance because without that the archive is missing. You have to have a sense of the geography of the stage. For these kids learning to dance, to know and feel their way through history, kinesthetic awareness is really significant.”
Further to that end, the colloquium’s featured guests include Heather Watts, former principal dancer of New York City Ballet and a distinguished lecturer, who will present and stage two seminal works: George Balanchine’s “Agon,” with music by Igor Stravinsky, and Jerome Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun,” with music by Claude Debussy. The pieces will be danced by Calvin Royal III (principal dancer, American Ballet Theatre) and Unity Phelan (soloist, New York City Ballet), accompanied by New York City Ballet Orchestra pianist Cameron Grant.
“In different ways, at their premieres both Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957) and Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun” (1953) addressed issues of race,” said Watts. “I’m looking forward to sharing and examining these works at the colloquium, focusing on their impact felt not only in the mid-century civil rights era in which they were created, but also today as they live on through new generations of dancers.”
Also performing is Alicia Graf Mack, chair of dance at The Juilliard School and former principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Alonzo King/LINES. Her piece will be followed by a conversation with Lynn Garafola, professor emerita of dance at Barnard College, Columbia University and “preeminent ballet scholar in the United States who, with her husband (American historian Eric Foner of Columbia University) is a really important race scholar,” noted Bennahum. Garafola also will lecture on the African American Presence in Postwar American Dance.
An artists’ roundtable early in the day will provide insight direct from dancers themselves, while a later artist-scholar discussion will offer a multi-pronged analysis of what has taken place during the conference.
“My research on Black dance often has a lot to do with analysis of form and in terms of movement and repertoire,” Batiste said. “Dancers often think about dance in ways that are really different from how scholars think about dance. Those two approaches to how the body makes meaning together in one space show the value of what scholars bring and what dancers bring to same work of art.”
Batiste gave much of the credit to Bennahum for putting together the colloquium, while Bennahum extended credit to Watts, to donors John and Jody Arnhold and to Majewski. “Dance is very expensive,” said Bennahum. “Classical ballet is very expensive and they have made this possible for the university, and believed that UC Santa Barbara, above every other place in the country, was the place to create a laboratory, a think tank, about race and ballet.
“We’re at a very tense moment in history,” she concluded. “Art plays a significant role in that conversation in these moments in time.”
Six decades strong, Arts & Lectures keeps education at the core of its mission
Arts & Lectures brought Duke Ellington to town in 1972, courtesy photo.
When cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma takes the stage at the Granada Theatre Saturday, April 27, to explore the role that culture can play in helping us to imagine and build a better future, he’ll also serve as an ambassador for UC Santa Barbara’s Arts & Lectures (A&L).
Ma’s visit to Santa Barbara — which includes a free, open-to-the-public, master class with UC Santa Barbara students, and the above-mentioned lecture, “Culture, Understanding and Survival” — marks a high point for the program.
“Our relationship with Yo-Yo is very special,” said Celesta M. Billeci, A&L’s Miller McCune Executive Director. “I think it’s unique to any program in the country, and I can say with confidence he has a very special relationship with us.” That relationship, she added, extends to Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife, Dilling.
This season, A&L has also co-commissioned a project with the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded by Ma in 1998. The genre-defying global musicians will perform the world premiere of “Take Their Stands” Friday, April 26, at the Granada.
“This is really research in action in the arts,” Billeci said. “We gave the money to this ensemble to create new work. They’ve created five new pieces they will premiere and will tour all over the world. And we did this here at UCSB. So that’s a real testament to the quality of this program and to being a leader in the arts.”
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.
During the week prior to their performance, the musicians will be on campus working with students in the music, dance and religious studies departments and in the Givertz School of Education.
For example, Silkroad members Haruka Fuji and Sandeep Das will conduct a lecture/demonstration and Kayhan Kalhor will conduct a Dastgah practicum in world music; Kojiro Umezaki and Cristina Pato will hold a workshop with Gevirtz School of Education student teachers; Ahmad Sadri and Wu Tong will lead a meet-the-artist conversation on Asian religious traditions; and Aparna Ramaswamy will share Bharatnatyam dance traditions with students in the theater and dance department.
Education, Billeci stressed, is at the heart of A&L’s programming. “Its purpose is to really be intertwined with the academic program and be a supplement for the academic experience of students on this campus,” she said. “It’s not peripheral; it’s definitely to the core of the academic mission.”
To that end, Billeci, Associate Director Roman Baratiak and their team, particularly program manager Heather Silva, work closely with academic departments and individual faculty members to set priorities for the types of lectures and performances they bring to campus. “The speakers and artists we bring are not just coming here and doing their public presentation,” explained Caitlin O’Hara, A&L writer and publicist. “They’re going to campus for class events or master classes. They’re very heavily enmeshed in the campus as part of their stay.”
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s recent visit is a prime example. Prior to her public lecture she met with honors students from the College of Letters and Science. “Frankly, I think some of our speakers are shocked at how much we expect them to do,” Baratiak quipped.
“We also present a lot of free events for students,” added Billeci, noting the recent concert with ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro in Storke Plaza. “This is the second time we’ve had him do that. He did it before and the students went nuts for him. They just love him. And he just loves them. He’s a great ambassador for our program and for music overall.”
Plans to bring performers to A&L are often in the works years ahead of time. With the dance series, for instance, Billeci meets with faculty members several times throughout the year to understand who they are interested in having come to campus. Professors and lecturers often build class visits into their curricula, and when these companies perform, hundreds of students are in the audience.
“On our lecture side, our education coordinator will reach out to academic departments and individual faculty members and say, ‘Here’s an opportunity,’” explained Baratiak. They can elect to send their students to an event or, if time can be spared in the performer’s or presenter’s schedule, he or she might meet with students. “We have collaborations with the College of Creative Studies, the writing program, pretty much most departments,” he added.
“I think we’ve got one of the most exciting and interesting public lecture programs in the country,” said Baratiak, whose 40-year tenure with the program began when he was a student at UC Santa Barbara. “So it’s obviously something that I think all of us are proud of here at A&L.”
Baratiak is particularly enthusiastic, he added, about the annual free summer film series presented at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.
The truth is, over the last 60 years, A&L has enabled Santa Barbara audiences to spend time with some incredible individuals and performers: Upton Sinclair, Robert Oppenheimer, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Allen Ginsberg and The Dalai Lama (on three separate occasions), to name a few.
In addition to Yo-Yo Ma, A&L has more recently brought to the local stage Joan Baez, Trevor Noah, Laurie Anderson, Gloria Steinem, Bill T. Jones, the NYC Ballet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Sonny Rollins and Twyla Tharp.
A&L also presented talks by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (“We were the only university in the country that got that date,” Billeci pointed out) and comedian Jon Stewart (“We presented him to 5,000 students in the Thunderdome”), and a concert by alumnus Jack Johnson, who performed at Harder Stadium.
The talk by former vice president Joe Biden at the Arlington Theater also stands out. “We were doing a free simulcast for students on the campus, and as soon as it ended he jumped in the car and came to campus to meet with the students who’d watched the simulcast,” recalled O’Hara. “He sat and talked with them. I’ve had so many students talk to me and say how impactful that was.”
Similarly, a recent — and free — lecture by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, also was a high point for students, according to O’Hara. So many students wanted to hear her talk that simulcasts to overflow rooms were required to accommodate them.
“If you go back 60 years,” Billeci remarked, “this program is really really amazing.”
On the community outreach side, the A&L initiative dearest to Billeci’s heart is ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! The program offers free performances and educational activities to students, at-risk youth and families in Santa Barbara County. “We have made the long-term commitment to bring high quality arts — not average or mediocre — the very best in music and dance to these communities and to the folks who live there,” Billeci said.
Putting on more than 100 events every year is a team effort, and Billeci is quick to credit the contributions of A&L staff, which includes roughly 75 work-study students. “Often Roman and I get a lot of credit, but this does not work without the amazing group of people that make this machine move,” she said. “For the size of this program — a nationally respected, top-five program in the country — this group of people is so dedicated and so hard working and it’s my privilege and my pleasure to work with them every day.”
Pairing student work with local, national and international artists, the nonprofit Youth Interactive’s new Downtown Santa Barbara Gallery is a dynamic new space for the grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy students to showcase and sell their work alongside an impressive array of professional artists.
You’ll find contemporary work in various mediums, from works on paper, sculpture and assemblage to painting, photography and new media. Everything in the store is artisanal and handmade and the proceeds go back to support the youth and the arts in our community.
Youth Interactive Gallery, courtesy photo.
Home of the original State Theatre and more recently the Unity Shoppe, the large open space celebrates Poetry Month in April with Word Up!, a fundraiser led by Santa Barbara Middle College students during First Thursday Art Walk from 5 – 8 p.m. on April 4. The gallery also showcases the work of Santa Barbara printmaker Bay Hallowell in an exhibition called Truth be Told, showcasing a compilation of works combining art and text.
Later in April comes an exhibition titled Grounded, a group exhibition of painting, photography and sculpture connecting us to the ground we walk on and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with works by artists Cynthia James, Ryuijie and Luis Velasquez.
Youth Interactive Gallery, courtesy photo.
Among the youth-led business with their work consistently on view in the gallery are:Infinite Treasures, students create handmade jewelry while learning valuable business skills; Pier Pressure Designs, a team of teens makes beautiful bags out of recycled sails donated by SB Yacht Club, and fabric donated by Patagonia and others; Havok, a group of young entrepreneurs who design original works of art on T-shirts; RBY (Resurrected by Youth), a team of high school kids learning carpentry, business, marketing and general entrepreneurship skills; andThe Creative Studio Team, which creates and sells art while managing the gallery.
Youth Interactive’s State Gallery (1219 State St., Santa Barbara, youthinteractive.us) is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays, with extended hours during exhibit openings and special events.
Annie Leibovitz delivers an hour-long illustrated lecture followed by a Q&A with Pico Iyer. A “Library of Congress Living Legend,” Leibovitz’s body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time, with subjects including actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs and more.
Brooke Shields “Got Milk” campaign photo by Annie Leibovitz.
“Whether she’s photographing the famous and powerful—or simply the woman next door—Annie always captures something unexpected and deeply personal,” says Oprah Winfrey.
This event takes place on Thurs., Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Lara Favaretto, Coppie Semplici (Simple Couples) , 2009, Installation view at Sharjah Biennial, UAE, 2009, Courtesy the Artist and Galleria Franco Noero.
First solo U.S. West Coast exhibition for Turin, Italy-based artist + first exhibit fully conceived under the direction of MCASB’s new Chief Curator Abaseh Mirvali.
“It was important that I begin my tenure at MCASB by providing a platform for an artist whose work while conceptually impeccable, so poignantly examines the human condition. I wanted to honor what moved me and share her work with the community here,” says Abaseh Mirvali, MCASB’s recently appointed Executive Director and Chief Curator.
Opening on Tuesday, February 12 (with a public reception from 6-8 p.m.) is Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara’s (MCASB) newest contemporary art exhibition, a solo show featuring works spanning Artist Lara Favaretto‘s more than 20-year career. Presented in collaboration with Rennie Collection, Vancouver, Canada, this exhibition marks Favaretto’s solo U.S. West Coast institutional debut, as well as the first show initiated under the direction of Mirvali.
On view through April 28, the exhibition’s execution reflects many of the core values that Mirvali has brought to MCASB after a well-established career in the global arts circuit. “I have been following Rennie Collection for man years now since we share a similar artistic philosophy as well as social responsibility,” says Mirvali.
According to statement from MCASB, “Throughout Favaretto’s work, the artist incorporates found materials. Trash may be recycled, while lost and discarded items are re-purposed. Her installations and sculptures often show the artist’s interest for the past, the forgotten, the disregarded. Yet, Favaretto’s overall oeuvre also questions why certain objects survive over others, contemplating their legitimacy in relation to the forgotten, while exposing their inevitable destiny: wear, corrosion, erosion, and breakage. Favaretto could be regarded as the continuation of a series of 20th-century artists whose major concern was questioning the meaning of art, sometimes through play and dark humor.”
“… (Favaretto’s) artistic production—however colored by notes of Abstract Art, Arte Povera, Kinetic Art, Land Art, or Minimal Art—is composed of aspects that in addition to questioning the intellectual status of a piece of art, are also interrelated to our humaneness. Her work is ephemeral, transient, spontaneous, unpredictable, changing, and even vulnerable, like us,” says Mirvali.
Lara Favaretto, Lost & Found, 1998, Courtesy the Artist; Rennie Collection, Vancouver, Canada; and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin, Italy, Photo by Blaine Campbell.
The exhibition will be shown across four different exhibition sites, including:
MCASB’s main space, showing Favaretto’s installation Coppie Semplici (Simple Couples),comprised of moving car wash brushes that alternate between high-speed mechanical rotations and stagnation. Removed from their original context, the brushes spin aimlessly as they deteriorate over time. Also on exhibit in the Museum’s main space will be a work from Favaretto’s ongoing series of collected suitcases, Lost & Found. After obtaining a forgotten suitcase—found at state-run auctions of lost and found items from the Italian railway system, flea-markets, and dumps—Favaretto combines the existing contents with new, unknown items, then locks the case and throws the key away, never allowing the contents to be revealed.
On view in a downtown storefront (907 State St.) from Feb. 12-Apr. 28 is Tutti giù per terra (We All Fall Down), one installation of a number of works by Favaretto that follow a consistent form: sealed rooms within rooms containing industrial fans that flush tons (literally) of confetti around the space progressively. Through its materiality—or lack of it—this piece embraces a plethora of dichotomies which speak to our human condition and exemplify our binary nature: perpetuity/impermanence, noise/silence, creation/destruction, growth/decay.
The Glass Box Gallery at UCSB will have two concrete works from Rennie Collection on view from Feb. 13-22 opening a dialogue between activity and passivity, movement and stasis, anger and boredom. Fistingand Boringare part of a series in which Favaretto uses her body to imprint a particular action in a block of recently-poured concrete. As intended by the artist, over time the blocks are subject to wear from exposure to sunlight and air. The title of each work—always a human action—captures the individual state of mind or gesture that has been performed by Favaretto. Glass Box Gallery is the UCSB Art Department’s student-run exhibition space in Building 534 (Space 1328).
In the Santa Barbara Funk Zone district, Favaretto will place a glossy plaque reading “Defense D’entrer,” or “Do Not Enter,” at the Museum’s future location (35 Anacapa St.), forbidding visitors to pass over the plaque. By restricting the entrance to the land, the artist raises questions regarding private property and the need to safeguard an empty lot. MCASB will announce future events to take place there over the duration of the exhibition.
Lara Favaretto, Simple Couples, 2009, Car wash brushes, iron slabs, motors, electrical boxes, wires, site specific installation, Courtesy Rennie Collection, Vancouver. Photo: Blaine Campbell.
Favaretto’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany (2018); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2017); Rennie Collection, Vancouver, Canada (2015); MoMA PS1, New York, USA (2012); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2012); Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin, Italy (2005); and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bergamo, Italy (2002). Group exhibitions include Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2018); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA (2017); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK (2016); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (2005); and the Venetian Pavilion, 51st Venice Biennale, Italy (2005).
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara is located at 653 Paseo Nuevo. For more information, visit mcasantabarbara.org.
Award winning young Santa Barbara artist Andrew Roy displays 26 stunning works in a solo show at Elsie’s (117 W. De La Guerra St., Santa Barbara). Titled “Visions From Beyond,” the show opens on Thursday, February 7, with a First Thursday Artist’s Reception from 6-8:30 p.m. The exhibit remains on view through March 5.
Andrew Roy, “Monarch.”
A member of both the Abstract Art Collective and the Santa Barbara Art Association, Roy’s works are in private collections throughout the United States. Born and raised in Alaska, Roy made Santa Barbara his home in 2012. Working with oil pastels on paper and also with acrylics on large canvases, his art has been shown in numerous galleries and shows, including Sullivan Goss, Gallery 113, CASA, the Santa Barbara Tennis Club, Channing Peake Gallery, ArtSEE/JCC and the Faulkner Gallery West.
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) opens with world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. Closing night film is Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, directed by Wyatt Daily. Just announced: Rami Malek to receive Outstanding Performer of the Year on Friday, Feb. 1. Plus tributes to Viggo Mortensen, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan and more, including 64 world premiere and 59 U.S. premiere films.
“SBIFF is an event that brings together a plethora of visitors—international, national and local filmmakers, Oscar contenders, vital educational programs,” said Executive Director Roger Durling at a kick-off press conference earlier this month. “We have entered this year with a renewed sense of purpose and continuity with the festival and understand more than ever the important role we play in the community. As such, we have chosen to bookend our festival with two films about iconic people and places in Santa Barbara to highlight the resilience, vitality and the talent within the Santa Barbara community.”
Here’s an overview of the entire festival, which runs from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 9.
SBIFF 2019 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG®, on Wednesday, January 30, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. A feature film documentary about Mike deGruy, an irrepressible biologist turned award-winning filmmaker who swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist. In 2012, deGruy died tragically in a helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron. Told through the eyes of his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed: we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.
Following the film, the Opening Night Gala, sponsored by Amazon Studios, will take place in Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. Always a fun event, the party features entertainment, food, libations, and a chance to celebrate the start of SBIFF.
The Festival will close Saturday, February 9 at the Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story directed by Wyatt Daily. The Closing Night Film is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story is an exploration of how one of the most significant corners of the world produced, and continues to produce, some of the most talented surfers and innovators. Deeper than all is a story of craftsmanship, work ethic, renegades and tradition. This is a film that goes beyond the time spent in the ocean to define how one spends a lifetime. Following the film, SBIFF will end with a final celebration at the Closing Night Party sponsored by Amazon Studios.
SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy Award frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 34th SBIFF proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film.
Michael B. Jordan (Creed II, Black Panther) will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award presented by Belvedere Vodka on Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m.
All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre with the exception of the Variety Artisans Award which will be at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai.
MIchael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.
SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders.
Producers Panel will be on Saturday, February 2 at 10 a.m., moderated by Glenn Whipp.
Writers Panel will be on Saturday,February 2 at 1 p.m., moderated by Anne Thompson.
Women’s Panel will be on Sunday, February 3 at 11 a.m., moderated by Madelyn Hammond.
All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai. Panelists to be announced.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND FREE SCREENINGS
Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies – Named for renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies uses filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident, and culturally aware thinkers. The program is offered to 4,000 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County, and SBIFF provides free transportation to students from Title I schools. This year SBIFF presents Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with directors Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., Rodney Rothman and Ralph Breaks the Internet with directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. The directors will participate in a Q&A following the screenings with the students to discuss the craft of animated filmmaking. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, Patagonia, Union Bank, Bentson Foundation and Volentine Family Foundation.
Student Film Studies Program – Returning for its fifth year thanks to the generosity of Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, the national student film studies program will bring 30 undergraduate film students from across the country for a three-day symposium with a focus on film appreciation, criticism, and analysis. Sixty college students in Santa Barbara have the opportunity to take an 11-Day Film Festival course through Santa Barbara City College.
AppleBox Family Films – SBIFF will again screen animated feature frontrunners free to families on the weekends of the Festival with complimentary popcorn and refreshments. This year’s screenings will include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (10 a.m. on February 2), Ralph Breaks the Internet (10 a.m. on February 3), and Incredibles 2 (10 a.m. on February 9). Sponsored by Metropolitan Theatres.
10–10–10Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition – In October, 20 high school and college screenwriters and filmmakers were accepted after a competitive application process before beginning a series of workshops, a table read, and a casting day. Since then, the ten writer/director teams and their crews have worked with industry mentors to produce short films that will be screened on Saturday, February 9 at 2 p.m. at The Arlington Theatre, with an announcement of the winning scripts and films following the screening. Sponsored by Final Draft Inc. and generously supported by Mary Beth Riordan.
Free Public Screenings – SBIFF will again offer critically acclaimed film screenings free to the public at the Lobero Theatre presented by Toyota Mirai everyday throughout the Festival.
Filmmaker Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars that will be free to the public and will take place in the Festival Pavilion daily at 11 a.m. Filmmaker Seminars are sponsored by Driscoll’s.
Super Silent Sunday –On Sunday, February 3, SBIFF will present the 1927 influential German science-fiction film Metropolis at the Arlington Theatre completely free to the public. Live accompaniment will be provided by Adam Aceto on the theatre’s Wonder Morton pipe organ. Super Silent Sunday is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
Youth CineMedia – SBIFF presentsa documentary film series produced entirely by teens involved in the Youth CineMedia program. Striving to help children transition away from gang life, drugs, and alcohol and into college and careers in music, photography, and video production, the organization offers creative tools, training, and support for underprivileged and at–risk teens. Free to the public with Q&A following on Saturday, February 9.
FOCUS ON SANTA BARBARA
Santa Barbara Filmmakers – The Santa Barbara filmmaking community continues to captivate and inspire audiences with this year’s impressive lineup. Santa Barbara filmmakers provide a diverse, thought–provoking series of features and shorts.
The “Stand Up” Award sponsored by ADL – The Santa Barbara Tri–Counties Region of the Anti–Defamation League will be sponsoring and presenting the “ADL Stand Up Award” to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important addition to the efforts of the ADL “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”
The Tribute Awards were once again specially designed by Santa Barbara’s own Daniel Gibbings Jewelry. The award is inspired by the iconic steeple of Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre, is handcrafted in metal, and is 24 karat gold–plated, with a custom marble base.
34th Festival Poster – Barbara Boros has designed the SBIFF poster each year for 16 years, this year highlighting Butterfly Beach.
Official Festival Hub – The official festival hub will again be located at Hotel Santa Barbara, returning for their 16th year as supporters of SBIFF.
Below is the list of feature and short films at the 2019 SBIFF. For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events, visit www.sbiff.org.
20 WORLD PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS(listed alphabetically)
Babysplitters, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Sam Friedlander
Better Together, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Isaac Hernández
The Bird Catcher, Norway, UK – World Premiere
Directed by Ross Clarke
Cemetery Park, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Brandon Alvis
Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Mimi deGruy
Enormous: The Gorge Story, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Nic Davis
Find Your Groove, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Michael Kirk
Guest Artist, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Timothy Busfield
Ham on Rye, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Tyler Taormina
Here and Now (Aquí y ahora), Costa Rica – World Premiere
Directed by Paz León
Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Jason Baffa
Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film, USA – World Premiere
Directed by William Conlin
The Map to Paradise, Australia – World Premiere
Directed by Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood
Ordinary Gods, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Pascui Rivas
Peel, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Rafael Monserrate
Quiet Storm, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Johnny Sweet
Silent Forests, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Mariah Wilson
Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Wyatt Daily
Working Man, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Robert Jury
Zulu Summer, South Africa, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader
51 U.S. PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS(listed alphabetically)
Alone at My Wedding (Seule à mon mariage), Belgium – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Marta Bergman
Amá, UK – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Lorna Tucker
Angel Face (Gueule d’ange), France – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Vanessa Filho
The Apollo of Gaza (L’Apollon de Gaza), Switzerland, Canada – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Nicolas Wadimoff
Belmonte, Uruguay, Spain, Mexico – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Federico Veiroj
Betrayal (Traición), Mexico – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Ignacio Ortiz Cruz
Break (Recreo), Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Hernán Guerschuny and Jazmín Stuart
Breaking Habits, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Robert Ryan
Celeste, Australia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Ben Hackworth
Crystal Swan (Khrustal), Belarus – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Darya Zhuk
The Dead and the Others (Chuva é cantoria na aldeia dos mortos), Brazil, Portugal – U.S. Premiere
Directed by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora
Emma Peeters, Canada, Belgium – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Nicole Palo
Ether (Eter), Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Krzysztof Zanussi
Fine Lines, Hong Kong – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dina Khreino
Fly by Night (Fei chang dao), Malaysia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Zahir Omar
Freaks, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky
Helmet Heads (Cascos indomables), Chile, Costa Rica – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Neto Villalobos
Here and Now, Israel – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Roman Shumunov
Holy Tour (La grande messe), Belgium, France – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Méryl Fortunat-Rossi and Valéry Rosier
I Act, I Am (Igram, sem), Slovenia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Miroslav Mandic
Joel, Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Carlos Sorín
José, Guatemala, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Li Cheng
Journey to a Mother’s Room (Viaje al cuarto de una madre), Spain – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Celia Rico Clavellino
King Bibi: The Life and Performances of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dan Shadur
Land of Hope (Oma maa), Finland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Markku Pölönen
Land of My Children (Im land meiner kinder), Germany, Switzerland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Darío Aguirre
The Laps: Tasmania, Australia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dustin Hollick and Angie Davis
Les Dames (Ladies), Switzerland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond
Metal Heart, Ireland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Hugh O’Conor
Murderous Trance aka The Guardian Angel, Finland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Arto Halonen
My Own Good (Il bene mio), Italy – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Pippo Mezzapesa
Nose to Tail, Canada – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Jesse Zigelstein
Not Quite Adults (Tampoco tan grandes), Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.
Dancing the very fine line between high art and high camp, the internationally-beloved Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bring their brilliant pointe work and vibrant drag costumes to the Granada Theatre (1214 State St., Santa Barbara) on Sunday, January 27 at 7 p.m.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.
Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was founded in 1974 in New York City on the heels of the Stonewall riots, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (also affectionately called “The Trocks”) is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts—heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, or angst-ridden Victorian ladies—enhances, rather than mocks, the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences.
“The funniest night you will ever have at the ballet,” writes The Sunday Times (U.K).
The Trocks’ numerous tours have been both popular and critical successes—the company’s annual schedules have included six tours to Australia and New Zealand, 25 to Japan (where annual visits have created a nation-wide cult following and a fan club), 10 to South America, three to South Africa and 55 tours of Europe. In the United States, the company has become a regular part of the college and university circuit, in addition to frequent presentations in all of the 50 states. The company has appeared in more than 35 countries and more than 500 cities worldwide since its founding.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.
For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu. Tickets are also available through The Granada Theatre at 805/899-2222 or granadasb.org.