Public Gardens for Private Inspiration

Public Gardens for Private Inspiration, originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on May 20, 2021.

If you’re looking for ways to be water savvy at home, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Water Wise Home Garden section ( is the place to go. This small-scale, realistic setting shows off easy-growing, beautiful California native trees, shrubs, and plants that are drought-tolerant wildlife habitats. An excellent selection of natives is available for purchase at the on-site Nursery, which helps to support the work of this valuable nonprofit.
1212 Mission Canyon Rd.

The Chumash Point Ethnobotanical Preserve on Santa Barbara City College’s East Campus ( is a practical lab for the school’s
environmental horticulture students, as well as a great resource for locals to get a
peek at a garden that emphasizes native plants that have medicinal, nutritional, and
spiritual importance to the Chumash. 721 Cliff Dr.

If you’re looking to create your own rose garden, the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose
Garden across from the Santa Barbara Mission is a wonderful source of inspiration.
More than 1,500 rose plants in every possible hue are usually in bloom between April
and November, making these carefully tended flowerbeds a favorite spot for a stroll.
420 Plaza Rubio

The 37 acres of horticultural wonders at Lotusland ( showcase a number of rare species and exotic specimens, including an impressive array of drought-friendly plants in the succulent garden. A sweeping collection of cacti is also on display in another themed area, along with the oft-photographed euphorbia, cactus, and succulent plantings
in front of Ganna Walska’s iconic pink residence, designed with the help of respected landscape architect Lockwood de Forest. Reservations required. Call (805) 969-9990.

Considered a true masterpiece of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Casa del Herrero’s grounds ( were designed in an eclectic mix of Moorish style and Country Place Era by noted landscape architects Ralph Stevens, Lockwood de Forest, and Francis T. Underhill. Included on the National Register of Historic Places, this estate features intricate pebbled pavings and a long watercourse that leads to colorfully tiled fountains, with charming spaces for flower beds, arcades, rose gardens, and a number of orchards. 1387 E. Valley Rd. Reservations required. Call (805) 565-5653.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on May 20, 2021. To see the story as it originally appeared, click here.

SBCC Foundation Delivers the Promise

SBCC Foundation Delivers the Promise, originally published in Santa Barbara Independent on November 19, 2020.

SBCC Foundation Delivers the Promise, originally published in Santa Barbara Independent on November 19, 2020.

An Update on the College’s Signature Project

The SBCC Promise — which provides regional high school graduates the opportunity to attend Santa Barbara City College full-time, free of charge, for up to two years — started its fifth year this fall, with 5,000 students projected to have benefited by the end of the year.

SBCC Foundation CEO Geoff Green gave us an update.

Have there been any changes to how the SBCC Promise works? We’ve been adjusting the offerings of the Promise based on feedback, so for us it’s a real-time experiment. One of the things we’re trying to figure out is how many students complete two or three years of the Promise but still have to stay one or two or three more semesters to be ready to transfer.

We’ve also gotten requests from a few students saying, “I’m ready to go, but I can’t afford to pay for all of these transfer applications.” So we just added that if they go to a counselor and say, “I need help with this,” we’ll pay for their transfer apps. We’ll do that for students who were Promise students in, say, 2016-17 and are just now completing what they need for transfer.

You also changed the program so students who have a unit load accommodation, and take fewer classes because of a disability, can stay in SBCC Promise for longer. Yes, as we learn about different things, we’ve been doing that kind of stuff as we’ve also tried to measure and monitor.

Does SBCC Promise pay the college the same amount it would get if the students were paying individually? Yes, and in fact this was one of the unanticipated benefits that [former SBCC president] Jack Friedlander told me about the first semester we did this, before he retired. He said, “Do you realize you actually generated a half million dollars last semester for the college? All of those students, who based on previous data would not have been full-time, they went full-time so they could take advantage of the Promise. Because of those additional units they paid for, that equaled half a million dollars of revenue for the college.”

How are you doing right now in terms of funding? It’s tough. We have now sustained it for 4.5 years. [Initially,] we raised about $3.5 million within six months. So we raised enough money to get all the way through year one and two and part of year three very early and then it sloughed off. Basically, we were excited, we put all our energy into the program, and now we have to circle back and kick up our fundraising. So you can expect after the pandemic moment starts to shift back to whatever our new normal is, you’ll see a big public campaign around funding the Promise.

SB Independent Cover, Schools of Thought, November 19, 2020.

SB Independent Cover, Schools of Thought, November 19, 2020.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 19, 2020. To read the section as it appeared in print, please click here.


SBCC Brings the World to the Kitchen 

Free Tuition Program Covers School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management 

From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SBCC Culinary Program, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Aspiring chefs whirl around the industrial-size kitchen classroom in clean white threads, cooking up a mouth-watering array of Northern African and Moroccan dishes like Mtuzi Wa Samaki (fish in coconut curry), homemade merguez sausage, and Ghanaian chicken-and-peanut stew. 

This intricate dance of chopping, stirring, sautéing, and learning is conducted by Chef Charlie Fredericks, who is clearly delighted to be orchestrating the SBCC class called “Modern Food: Style, Design, Theory, and Production.” Students create dishes from a different country every week — and once the global-themed feast is complete, they all share a meal together. 

“It’s so much fun,” said Fredericks, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, who has worked at restaurants in San Francisco, the Caribbean, Europe, and Napa before returning home to open bouchon in Santa Barbara in 1998. “This is definitely my favorite time,” he said. “It’s pretty much a Disneyland class.” 

Indeed, it’s a small world after all, and the Culinary Arts students seem to be enjoying the ride. “I really enjoy learning about the different countries and their different ways of cooking and different spices and how they have a connection to their culture,” said Claudia Garcia, a returning student who also has a son and a daughter enrolled at SBCC. 

The Chinese cooking lesson had a special resonance for Ava Engle, who grew up in Carpinteria and is attending the culinary school as part of the SBCC Promise Program, which provides the region’s high school graduates with the opportunity to attend for two years, free of charge. “I was actually adopted in China,” explained Engle, “and we made the Chinese food on my adoption day, just coincidentally, so that was great. I was kind of unfamiliar with the dishes we made, so it was fun to learn about them.” 

Alejandro Hernandez, a 2019 graduate of the SBCC School of Extended Learning Bilingual GED Program, is another one of 19 students enrolled in the Promise who’s attending the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Program this semester. Hernandez has supported himself and his family by working full-time at a Vietnamese restaurant for many years. He says the Promise — which covers enrollment costs and all required fees, books, and supplies for two years — is a great opportunity for him to bring a global perspective to combine with his family culinary roots from Guerrero, Mexico. “Hopefully, I’ll open my own restaurant in the future,” Hernandez said. 

“I’d love to work in a hotel and travel internationally,” said Miriam Martinez, another aspiring chef. “The Modern Foods is definitely my favorite class. I love the opportunity to taste — and cook — food from every country.”

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

SBCC Auto Tech Gears Up For The Future

SBCC Automotive Technology, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SBCC Automotive Technology, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Women Are Thriving in City College’s Automotive Technology Program 

The future of automotive technology is indeed female. 

With women accounting for just 27 percent of the U.S. auto manufacturing workforce (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018), and a skills-gap study forecasting a shortfall that will leave approximately 2.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs vacant through 2028 and beyond (Deloitte Insights, 2018), it’s an ideal time for young women to pursue this in-demand career field. 

On a recent visit to SBCC, instructor Brittanye Muschamp’s Engine Rebuilding class in a shockingly clean, newly renovated engine lab, clusters of students, male and female, inspected and cleaned engine blocks and measured cylinders and pistons. Muschamp worked in the automotive service industry for many years before joining SBCC as the first full-time female faculty member in the department. At this rate, she won’t be the last. 

Jennifer Oseguera feels right at home with her arms elbow-deep in an engine. She’s wanted to be a race car driver since she was a little girl. “I had a race car team in high school, so I have some experience there,” she explained. “I got into auto body shop when I was in high school as well.” 

In addition to taking her second year of the automotive technology classes at SBCC, Oseguera also commutes to Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo for their auto body program. “I would like to have my own auto body shop or technician shop at some point and do some racing and custom paints as well as restoring classic cars,” she said. 

“It’s very welcoming, especially being here as a girl now that we have a female automotive teacher,” said Oseguera of her SBCC experience. “The guys don’t shut me down, and they treat me like everybody else. I’m learning a lot and getting a lot more hands-on experience.” 

Michelle Tepeque is a Santa Barbara High grad and one of 46 Automotive Technology participants in the SBCC Promise program, which provides hometown high school graduates free tuition for two years. She used to watch a lot of car restoration shows with her dad, but she never really thought about the automotive field as a career until recently. “Then a lot of my guy friends were doing it, and I thought, well, I’m kind of interested in seeing how it is,” she said. “So I gave it a try last semester and really loved it. Now, this semester, these are the only classes I’m taking.” 

As for being one of the only females in class, Tepeque said it’s mostly accepting. “I didn’t feel like all eyes were on me, and most guys are pretty laid-back about it, like they don’t really care. There are some that do give you more shit than others — they’ll ask you questions and make you feel like you don’t fit in. But being in this industry, I know there’s going to be a lot of men that will try to put you down because you’re female, so it’s teaching me to have thicker skin and stand up for whatever I’m doing.” 

Overall, she’s had a great time. “I feel like I actually learn things more when I’m hands-on like this,” said Tepeque. “Mostly, I love it.” 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Lineup

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 deGruydirected 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.

TRAILER – Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story from Wyatt Daily on Vimeo.

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.


  • The Outstanding Directors of the Year Award, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter, will be Thursday, January 31 at 8 pm. All five Best Director nominees will be in attendance: Alfonso Cuarón (ROMA), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
  • Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Friday, February 1 at 8 p.m.
  • Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) will receive the American Riviera Award, on Saturday, February 2 at 3 p.m.
  • Glenn Close (The Wife) will receive the Maltin Modern Master Award, moderated by longtime friend, film historian, and award namesake Leonard Maltin on Saturday, February 2 at 8 p.m.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) will receive the Montecito Award, sponsored by Bella Vista Designs, on Sunday, February 3 at 8 p.m.
  • The Variety Artisans Awards, sponsored by Variety, will take place on Monday, February 4 at 8 p.m., and will be moderated by Tim Gray. Honorees to be announced.
  • The Virtuosos Award, presented by UGG®, will be awarded to Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), and Steven Yeun (Burning) on Tuesday, February 5 at 8 p.m., moderated by Dave Karger.
  • 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.

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.


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.

10–10–10 Student 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 presents a 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.


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.

 2019 FILMS


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

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

Directed by Federico Sosa


Tampoco Tan Grandes (Not Quite Adults), by Federico Sosa (Arg., 2018) / TRAILER with English subtitles. from Pampa Films on Vimeo.

Pause (Pafsi), Cyprus – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Tonia Mishiali


Phoenix (Føniks), Norway – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Camilla Strøm Henriksen


Private Album, Israel – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Kobi Farag


Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz, Canada – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Barry Avrich


Put Grandma in the Freezer (Metti la nonna in freezer), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Giancarlo Fontana and Giuseppe Stasi


A Seed for Change, Greece – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Alexandros Ikonomidis


Sıren’s Call (Son Çikiş), Turkey – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ramin Matin


Tell It to the Bees, USA – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Annabel Jankel


Two Times You (Dos veces tú), Mexico – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Salomón Askenazi


Ulysses & Mona, France – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Sébastien Betbeder


The Unorthodox (Ha-Bilti Rishmi’im), Israel – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Eliran Malka


Van Goghs (Van Gogi), Latvia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Sergey Livnev


Virgin and Extra: The Land of Olive Oil (Jaén, virgen y extra), Spain – U.S. Premiere

Directed by José Luis López Linares


What Have We Done to Deserve This? (Womit haben wir das verdient?), Austria – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Eva Spreitzhofer


Wherever You Are (Ovunque proteggimi), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Bonifacio Angius


Wild Kids, Israel – US Premiere

Directed by Tal Pesses


With the Wind (Le vent tourne), Switzerland, France – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Bettina Oberli


The Young Fan (Il ragazzo più felice del mondo), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Gianni Pacinotti (Gipi)


2019 SBIFF FEATURE FILMS  (non-premieres listed alphabetically)


Afterward, USA

Directed by Ofra Bloch


Amazing Grace, USA

Directed by Sydney Pollack, completed by Alan Elliott


Angel (Un ange), Belgium, Netherlands, Senegal

Directed by Koen Mortier


Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Canada

Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky


As Needed (Quanto basta), Italy, Brazil

Directed by Francesco Falaschi


Ash Is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv), China

Directed by Jia Zhang-ke


Between the Lines, USA – *World Premiere Restoration

Directed by Joan Micklin Silver


The Biggest Little Farm, USA

Directed by John Chester


Carmen y Lola, Spain

Directed by Arantxa Echevarría


Carmine Street Guitars, Canada

Directed by Ron Mann


Cassandro the Exotico!, France

Directed by Marie Losier


Champions (Campeones), Spain

Directed by Javier Fesser


David Crosby: Remember My Name, USA

Directed by A.J. Eaton


Echo in the Canyon, USA

Directed by Andrew Slater


The Factory (Zavod), Russia, France, Armenia

Directed by Yury Bykov


Fire on the Hill: The Cowboys of South Central L.A., USA

Directed by Brett Fallentine


Gatao 2: Rise of the King, Taiwan

Directed by Yen Cheng-Kuo


Harvest Season, USA

Directed by Bernardo Ruiz


The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution, Canada

Directed by Maya Gallus


Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America, Canada

Directed by Brigitte Berman


I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story, Australia, USA

Directed by Jessica Leski


Incredibles 2, USA

Directed by Brad Bird


Inside Lehman Brothers, Canada

Directed by Jennifer Deschamps


Laila at the Bridge, Canada, Afghanistan

Directed by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei


The Last Prosecco (Finché c’è prosecco c’è speranza), Italy

Directed by Antonio Padovan


Light in the Water, USA

Directed by Lis Bartlett


Maya, France

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve


Mouthpiece, Canada

Directed by Patricia Rozema


Outdoors (Bayit Bagalil), Israel

Directed by Asaf Saban


The Parting Glass, Canada, USA

Directed by Stephen Moyer


Ralph Breaks the Internet, USA

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore


Shadow, China

Directed by Zhang Yimou


Sharkwater Extinction, Canada

Directed by Rob Stewart


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, USA

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman


Stockholm, Canada, Sweden, USA

Directed by Robert Budreau


Take It or Leave It (Võta või jäta), Estonia

Directed by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo


The Third Wife, Vietnam

Directed by Ash Mayfair


This Changes Everything, USA

Directed by Tom Donahue


A Thousand Miles Behind, USA

Directed by Nathan Wetherington


Too Beautiful: Our Right to Fight, USA

Directed by Maceo Frost


Transit, Germany, France

Directed by Christian Petzold


Unsettling, UK, Israel

Directed by Iris Zaki


Winter Flies (Všechno bude), Czech Republic

Directed by Olmo Omerzu


2019 SBIFF SHORTS – (listed alphabetically)



1 in 100,000, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Benjamin Yates


805 Strong, USA

Produced by Ellie Vargas


Accident (Ongelukje), Netherlands – U.S. Premiere

Directed by David Cocheret

Ah Gong (Grandpa), Taiwan – World Premiere

Directed by Clifford Miu


Directed by Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci


The Bird & the Whale, Ireland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Carol Freeman


Birth of a Movement, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Paul Lynch

Black Lips, Australia

Directed by Adrian Chiarella


Buzzer, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Albert Birney


CC, Canada

Directed by Kailey Spear and Sam Spear


The Cheshire Cat Inn, USA

Directed by Joshua Sechrist


The Clinic, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Elivia Shaw


A Cohort of Guests, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Todd Sandler


Cruisin’ Santa Barbara, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Justin Gunn


Damage, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Matt Porter


Definition of Resilience, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alexis Sallee and Tomas Karmelo

Dream Girl, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Ryan Slattery and Andrea Sanchez

Duel of the Hearts, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Harrison Derbyshire


Dust Devil, Australia

Directed by Poppy Walker

Esfuerzo, USA

Directed by Alana Maiello


EZK: Beyond the Walls (EZK: Au-delà des murs), France – World Premiere

Directed by Shawn Pyfrom


The Fallen Tree, USA

Directed by Drew Hodges


Fathom, USA

Directed by Alessio Morello


Forgotten, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Daniel Soares


From Water to Wind, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Casey McGarry


The Garden Is Singing: Ganna Walska Lotusland, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Karen Kasaba


Guns Found Here, USA

Directed by David Freid

Henrietta Bulkowski, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Rachel Johnson


Hidden Blueprints: The Story of Mikey, USA

Directed by Jeremy Lee MacKenzie


Holding, USA

Directed by Jesse Turk and Jon Zucker

Inanimate, UK

Directed by Lucia Bulgheroni


Inlove, France

Directed by Les Frères Lopez


jack, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nick Paonessa


John Van Hamersveld – Crazy World Ain’t It, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Dave Tourjé


Jump, Australia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ryan O’Kane and James Conway-Law


Last Day of School (Paskutinis skambutis), USA, Lithuania – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Gabriele Urbonaite

The Last Harvest, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alexis Spraic


Love Is Never Wasted, USA

Directed by Nathanael Matanick


The Mayor, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Taylor Horky

Mitya’s Love (Mitina Lyubov), Russia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Svetlana Filippova


MOOSE, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Jonah Ansell


My Brother Amal (Amali bram), Norway – U.S. Premiere

Directed Christopher Wollebekk

My Moon, USA

Directed by Eusong Lee


Near Miss, USA

Directed by Josh Berry


No Traveler Returns (D’où nul ne revient), USA, Ivory Coast – World Premiere

Directed by Ellie Foumbi


Nothing Ever Good Happens in a Parking Garage, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Mike Winger


November 1st, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Charlie Manton


Opening the Earth: The Potato King, Peru, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Eric Ebner and Aaron Ebner


Our Last Trash, USA

Directed by Joanne Yue


Reboot, USA

Directed by Ellen Osborne


RETURN: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health and Spirit, USA

Directed by Karen Cantor


Reverence (Curtain Call), Iran – World Premiere

Directed by Sogol Rezvani


The Running Man of Pasadena, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Brett Nicoletti


The Salty Generations, USA

Directed by Shaun Wolfe and Shelby Oliver


The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism, USA

Directed by Peter Samis


Second Unit: A Mockumentary, USA

Directed Ankush Khemani


Secret Times, Belarus, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Montanah Blue


Selling Lies, USA

Directed by Leslie Iwerks


Set on Intent, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Tate Larrick


Silence (Sunyi), USA – World Premiere

Directed by Riani Singgih

SPIN, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Marielle Woods


Start with Half, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nathaniel Katzman


Stunning, USA, Sweden

Directed by Gustav Högmo


Tala,, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Missy Malek


This Side Has Dreams Too, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Spencer Rabin


Tino, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Robin Hauser

Too Many Bodies, USA

Directed by Reena Dutt

Trail Heads, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Dani Rodriguez

Treat Yourself, USA

Directed by Nathan Leonard

Trial by Fire, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alex Astrella


True Love / True Crime on an American Bus, USA

Directed by Nicholas Coles

Tweet-Tweet, Russia

Directed by Zhanna Bekmambetova


VACA, Spain – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Marta Bayarri


The Video Shop, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Isaac Seigel-Boettner


We Are Love, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nick Lentz


White Guys Solve Sexism, USA

Directed by Christopher Guerrero

Who You Are, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Joel Jay Blacker


You Say Hello, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Lovell Holder


You Think You Can’t Dance?, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani

Zombie Debt, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Ashly Blodgett

For more information and updates, visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 29, 2019.


“Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head”

L-R: Andy Coolquitt, CAA CAA, 2017, Bathmat on canvas, 55 x 66 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber. Andy Coolquitt, Modern Hotel Abstraction #1, 2017, Fabric on canvas, 96 x 32 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber.

L-R: Andy Coolquitt, CAA CAA, 2017, Bathmat on canvas, 55 x 66 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber. Andy Coolquitt, Modern Hotel Abstraction #1, 2017, Fabric on canvas, 96 x 32 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber.

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, in partnership with Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, presents Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head, an exhibition featuring a major commission of new works by Andy Coolquitt.

Based in Austin, TX, the artist has generated a body of work that includes paintings, sculptures and video, which he uses to form connections between some of the juxtapositional aspects of a place that is simultaneously private and public, homelike and commercial, an exhibition venue and a hotel.

According to the artist statement, Coolquitt uses the language of geometric abstraction to riff off of Hotel Indigo’s architectural and design elements, incorporating, for example, site-specific hard edge or gestural painting as a tactic to reimagine the lounge, stairwell, or skylight. Other works in the show consist of familiar domiciliary items such as bathmats, chairs, light bulbs, and nylon stockings. The artist elevates the significance of various undervalued ubiquitous objects that enhance our visceral response to interior environments, prompting viewers to consider the dimensions of our attraction to these basic yet undeniably essential things.

The public is invited to an Artist Talk on Wednesday, May 9, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara City College, Administration Building Room A211, 721 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara.

Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head is on view at MCASB Satellite @ Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara from May 18 through March 7, 2021. The Hotel Indigo is located at 121 State St., Santa Barbara. For more information about the exhibition, visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 8, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Rock N Roll Tequila

Courtesy Rock N Roll Tequila.

Courtesy Rock N Roll Tequila.

The handcrafted glass guitar bottles are eye-catching, but it’s the crisp distinct taste of Rock N Roll’s three premium tequilas that will really knock your socks off.

The company was founded by Santa Barbara local Andy Herbst, an entrepreneur, surfer and soccer player, who came to the U.S. in the 1960s from South Africa and went to Santa Barbara High School and Santa Barbara City College, where he says he majored in surfing. After a successful career as a music promoter, Herbst traveled to the highlands of Mexico, where he was introduced to the smoothest, purest blue agave and soon turned his passion for tequila into creating his own label. His partners in the venture, which launched in 2017, include businessman Scott Woolley and NFL great Dan Marino, who played quarter­back for the Miami Dolphins and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“After tasting Rock N Roll Tequila, I knew it was a quality spirit, and I wanted to be a member of the team,” says Marino. “It is great to be associated with a high-quality prod­uct at a reasonable price, and it doesn’t hurt to have an iconic name like Rock N Roll!”

Amped Mojito with Cristalino, courtesy Rock N Roll Tequila.

Amped Mojito with Cristalino, courtesy Rock N Roll Tequila.

Crafted by Master Distiller Jose Aceves, a third-generation tequila producer, Rock N Roll’s 100% pure blue agave comes from deep in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The bottles, which feature a unique patented top known as the “roadie,” provide the consumer a complimentary two shots of Platinum Te­quila that come in three varieties:

Platinum: Hand crafted, triple distilled, made with 100% pure highlands blue agave, giving it a delicious, smooth taste.

Mango: Double distilled with 100% pure highlands blue agave and the highest-quality natural mango flavor, giving it sweet citrus notes and a super smooth finish.

Cristalino: This Añejo Tequila is barrel-aged for two–three years and filtered to perfection, making it cleaner and healthier. Cristalino is also made with 100% pure highlands blue agave, featuring classic notes of French oak and vanilla.

At press time, Rock N Roll Tequila is served in Santa Barbara at Viva Modern Mexican (1114 State St., 805/965-4770), Foxtail Kitchen & Bar (14 E. Cota St., 805/845-6226) and O’Malley’s (523 State St., 805/564-8904) and sold at Santa Barbara Liquor and Crafts (501 Anacapa St., 805/966-6716), as well as additional venues throughout the Central Coast.


Rock N Roll Recipes:


Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the spring 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Wine Cask Hosts Fundraising Dinner for SBCC Culinary Arts Students

A Santa Barbara City College Culinary Student Chopping in Kitchen, courtesy photo.

A Santa Barbara City College Culinary Student Chopping in Kitchen, courtesy photo.

Here’s a great way to support future chefs while enjoying a delicious meal, Wine Cask hosts a fundraising dinner on Monday, April 11 at 6 p.m. to benefit Santa Barbara City College Culinary Arts students. Proceeds from the evening will provide an opportunity for students to travel to Madrid, Spain this summer with the SBCC Study Abroad program.

While in Spain, students will explore the cuisine and culture of Spain and Portugal, going to neighborhood markets, tasting artisanal chocolate confections, observing butchers, bakers, and sausage makers, and visiting wineries, olive oil mills, and farms.

“Being creative in the kitchen is more than being technically talented,” says School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Department Chair Randy Bublitz. “The experience of visiting other countries and delving into their cuisines is invaluable for laying the groundwork in developing a chef’s creativity.”

“Study abroad is not only an incredible experience that opens eyes and doors but a bona fide learning experience,” says Wine Cask Co-Owner Mitchell Sjerven. “This is especially true in the field of culinary arts, as chefs are constantly challenged to understand regional cuisines, keep up on global food trends, and learn new techniques. Going to Spain and Portugal will provide an incredible opportunity for students to expand their knowledge base while undoubtedly gaining much appreciated creative inspiration during their time on the Iberian Peninsula.”

With many students facing educational expenses such as tuition and materials, financing a study abroad trip may be beyond reach. Guests attending the fundraising dinner will provide great assistance to much deserving SBCC students who otherwise would not be able to afford this once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Santa Barbara restaurants in particular enjoy the immediate rewards of SBCC culinary arts graduates,” says Sjerven. “But, really, the entire community benefits from this successful program provided by one of the top community colleges in the nation.”

Support future chefs, and enjoy a multi-course dinner in the Gold Room of Wine Cask (813 Anacapa St.). The meal will be prepared by SBCC faculty chefs, SBCC culinary students, and Wine Cask Chef David Rosner.

The SBCC Foundation will be taking reservations for the event. To purchase tickets ($150 per person), please call 805/730-4401 or click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on March 30, 2016.

Arthritis Foundation’s 33rd Annual Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation’s Taste of the Town

We got a preview last week of what’s in store for the 33rd annual Santa Barbara Taste of the Town, and there’s a lot to be excited about for this signature culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation.

Taking place on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the picturesque Riviera Park Gardens, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra,  from noon-3 p.m., the fundraiser is expected to attract more than  1,000 guests for an afternoon of wine tasting and delicious nibbles presented from many of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and wineries.

Mingle and support a good cause over live entertainment overlooking the beautiful city below.

Opal Restaurant & Bar co-owners Tina Takaya and Richard Yates are co-chairs for the event. Some of the participating restaurants include: Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, Blue Tavern, Ca’ Dario, Fresco Café & Bakery, Il Fustino, Los Agaves, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant, Louie’s California Bistro, Michael’s Catering, New West Catering/Industrial Eats, Olivos del Mar, Opal Restaurant & Bar, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Santa Barbara City College, The Chase Restaurant, The Faculty Club, The Palace Grill and Via Maestra 42, among others.

Wine, beer and beverages will be provide by: Adelaida, Alexander & Wayne/Arthur Earl, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards (winemaker Richard Sanford is a special honoree), Au Bon Climat, Babcock Vineyards, Brander Vineyard, Brewer-Clifton, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Carr Vineyards & Winery, Consilience Winery/Tre Anelli, Daniel Gehrs Wines, Falcone Family Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery, Fiddlehead Cellars, Figueroa Mountain Brewery, Foxen, Giessinger Winery, Grassini, Island Brewing Company, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Ken Brown Wines, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lafond Winery and Vineyards, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards/Toccata Wines, Margerum Wine CompanyMelville Vineyards & Winery, Mosby Winery, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Qupe, Sanford WinerySanta Barbara Winery, Scott Cellars, Silver Wines, Sort This Out Cellars, Starlane & Dierberg Vineyards/Three Saints, Sunstone Vineyards, Tolosa, Whitcraft Winery, William James Cellars and Zaca Mesa, among others.

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation’s Taste of the Town

Kendall Viera, a 13-year-old middle school student from Santa Ynez has been named this year’s Youth Honoree. She was diagnosed at the age of 6 with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) and is currently in remission, thanks to medical advances. To see a video of Viera talking about why she supports the Arthritis Foundation click here.

Dr. Timothy Spiegel has been named the event’s Medical Honoree. Hel is a rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) in Santa Barbara that has been diagnosing and treating patients for almost 40 years. 

All proceeds from Taste of the Town support local programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation. The foundation is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of 53 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) with arthritis through research and local programs of education, advocacy and juvenile arthritis support.

Taste of the Town tickets purchased in advance are $125 per person; tickets at the door will be $140, if available, and corporate group discounts are also available. Tickets are limited, so early reservations are encouraged. For tickets and information call 805/463-4685 or visit

Sponsors and their guests will also enjoy the exclusive Connoisseurs’ Circle, co-chaired by Jennifer Jaqua and Jacques Habra. Celebrating its fifth year, this unique VIP experience will feature a progressive tasting menu designed and prepared by a visiting chef of distinction at Belmond El Encanto on Friday, Sept. 5, along with a live auction. Taste of the Town sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting Asher Garfinkel at 805/563-4685.

–Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 31, 2014.

Entangled Grid: Ann Diener at Atkinson Gallery


From "Entangled Grid: Ann Diener" (courtesy photo)

From “Entangled Grid: Ann Diener” (courtesy photo)

Santa Barbara City College‘s (SBCC’s) Atkinson Gallery is back in the newly renovated Humanities Building with a new exhibition, Entangled Grid: Drawings by Ann Diener. She created these recent drawings by overlaying images of the city of Los Angeles as it now exists onto the historical blueprint, thus recording spaces from different time periods and a cacophony of architecture as diverse as its population.

In addition to her large works on paper, the show will feature a massive wall drawing that Diener will complete onsite with a team of SBCC student volunteers.

Diener received her BA from UCLA and her MFA from UCSB. Her one-person exhibitions include Bank Gallery, Los Angeles, the Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UCSB, Electric Works Gallery San Francisco and the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (now the Museum of Contemporary Art). She was a resident artist at the American Academy in Rome, Italy and at Kaus Australis in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The opening reception for the exhibit is January 31 from 5–7 p.m. There will also be a free artist lecture on February 5 at 4:30 p.m. The work will be on view through February 28, but please note the gallery is closed February 14-17 for President’s Day weekend.

ATKINSON GALLERY  is located in the Art Department at SBCC,  Humanities Building Room 202, East Campus, 721 Cliff Dr.

Originally published on January 27, 2014 in Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.