The Santa Barbara International Film Festival might have the word “International” in the title, but Saturday night, closing night, SBIFF belonged to Santa Barbarans.
Of the two sold-out nights at the Arlington Theatre during the festival, both belonged to local films. The first, opening night, was the premiere of the Mike deGruy documentary.
The second, on Saturday, was the premiere of “Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story,” a documentary on the surf culture born from Rincon Point, along with five short documentaries also about Santa Barbara, from Lotusland to the last video store at Mission and De La Vina. City residents city came out to support their own, leaving it standing room only up in the balcony area.
Wyatt Daley’s film is a love letter to the generations of surfers who have called Santa Barbara home, and the board shapers and designers who used the long ride at Rincon Point as a test track for advancement in surfboard technology.
Dana Shaw, editor of “Spoons,” said they were putting final touches on the film four days ago.
“I think we had hundreds of hours of footage to work with,” he said. “I feel intuitively. … I think if you overthink things (in the edit), you lose something.”
The editing team, which included Mr. Daly, made sure to take regular breaks to clear their heads, which included more surfing, skateboarding and playing music.
“We have a ‘shaka’ rule,” said Mr. Daly, referring to the “hang loose” hand gesture. “If you are getting just two ‘shaka’s away from the screen, then you are violating the rule of keeping the creativity moving.”
“It’s a real honor to be playing at the Arlington,” Mr. Daly continued. “This is the beating heart of Santa Barbara.”
Surf legends Tom Curren and Renny Yater were in attendance, as well as friends and family of the filmmakers.
The director-producer team of Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner was on the red carpet to represent the short doc “The Video Shop,” a remembrance of the popular video store of the same name that closed only recently.
“We grew up on Mission and State,” said Isaac. “Walking to Taffy’s Friday night, getting an ice cream at McConnell’s and renting a movie on our way home.”
Their short doc shows how a video store can be essential to a sense of community, while Netflix and Amazon steadily have erased them from our lives. The doc features not just the idiosyncratic owner, but a myriad of customers who we see making that choice of what to watch.
Other docs shown were Justin Gunn’s “Cruisin’ Santa Barbara” about the cruising bike culture; Casey McGarry’s “From Water to Wind”; Tate Larrick’s “Set on Intent”; and Karen Kasaba’s “The Garden Is Singing: Ganna Walska Lotusland.”
Earlier Saturday morning, SBIFF announced its winners for 2019’s festival: Kasper Torsting’s “In Love and War” won the Audience Award and Best Nordic Film; Leslie Iwerks’ “Selling Lies” won best Documentary Short; Christopher Wollebekk’s “My Brother Amal” won Best Live Action Short; Rachel Johnson’s “Henrietta Bulkowski” won Best Animated Short; Johnny Sweet’s “Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story” won Best Documentary;
Bettina Oberli’s “With the Wind” won Best International Feature; Sam Friedlander’s “Babysplitters” won the Best Independent Film; Celia Rico Clavellino’s “Journey to a Mother’s Room” won Best Spanish/Latin American film; Javier Fesser’s “Champions” won the ADL Stand Up Award; and Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei’s “Laila at the Bridge” won the Social Justice Documentary Award.
SBIFF also announced the dates for 2020’s festival: Jan. 15-25.