Filmed in Santa Maria, ‘Coast’ will premiere at SB film festival
Santa Maria is coming to the big screen in a new movie about a 16-year-old girl trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.
Filmed in Santa Maria and nearby Orcutt and Guadalupe, “Coast” will make its world premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s beachside drive-in. It will screen there again at noon April 10.
The drive-in is at Santa Barbara City College’s parking areas at 140 Loma Alta Road.
Santa Maria native Cindy Kitagawa wrote “Coast,” a drama that is about Abby (Fatima Ptacek), who lives in a small coastal farming town and is eager to escape.
The 16-year-old girl gets that opportunity when she falls in love with Dave (Kane Ritchotte), the leader of a touring rock band. But she struggles with the question of whether she wants to leave her family and friends behind.
The movie has themes familiar for kids who grow up in small towns and might feel isolated from the rest of the world.
“I think when you try to figure out who you are and the world around you is no longer serving you, the natural thing for you is to escape,” Jessica Hester told the News-Press this week by phone from her and fellow director Derek Schweickart’s home in Westchester County, N.Y. “Abby loves music, so that’s her first step in the search for herself.”
Mr. Schweickart, who participated in the same phone interview, noted that Abby’s journey with her decision is something that isn’t seen often in films. “She doesn’t make the typical choices. She has a deep level of maturity that can be reassuring for people.”
The film features various Santa Maria locales. While the characters don’t mention “Santa Maria” by name, the city’s sign does appear at the end of the film, Ms. Hester said.
Mr. Schweickart said the movie features a real lowrider cars club’s barbecue.
He added that “Coast” was also filmed at a Guadalupe historical museum and the Guadalupe Buddhist Church, as well as the Oceano Dunes.
In addition to the local filming sites, “Coast” features a Santa Maria actress in one of its principal roles. Kaylee Kamiya, who attended Righetti High School during the filming and is now an Allan Hancock College student, plays Laura.
Mr. Schweickart praised Ms. Kamiya for her authenticity on the screen. “She was the character.”
Mr. Schweickart added that the film’s background actors are Santa Maria residents. He said PCPA, the theater group based at Allan Hancock College, helped with the casting.
In addition to Ms. Ptacek, Ms. Kamiya and Mr. Ritchotte, the cast includes Mia Frampton (rocker Peter Frampton’s daughter), Mia Xitlai, Ciara Bravo, Eduardo Roman, Cristela Alonzo and Melissa Leo.
As Mr. Schweickart described “Coast,” he stressed he and Ms. Hester didn’t want to make a film about creating more division among people.
“It’s very much about learning to appreciate people who are similar and dissimilar to you.”