Santa Barbara Film Festival displays films to start important conversations
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Throughout the remainder of this week, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will be screening seven thought-provoking, relevant films at the SBIFF Riviera Theatre. In addition to showing the films, there will be panel discussions to encourage lively dialogue about pertinent political and social issues addressed in the films.
The first film (first shown on Friday, September 28), was the documentary “Crime + Punishment.” This movie follows the recent lives of several Latino and black law enforcement officers over the course of four years. The director, Stephen Maing, captures the moral conflict that these police officers face when illegally given a quota to reach.
Robin Hauser’s award-winning documentary, “Bias,” explores and defines “implicit bias,” or, rather, biases that we have been conditioned to believe unconsciously (i.e. stereotypes). Hauser encourages her audience to not only accept and understand their own biases, but also hopes to spark dialogue regarding change.
“Roll Red Roll” tells the sensitive and triggering story of a famous sexual assault case in Steubenville, Ohio, where a teenage girl was raped by a member of the high school football team. This documentary reveals dangers perpetuated by peer pressure, social media, and the “boys will be boys” culture that seems, on the surface, to value football more than the safety and wellbeing of its women.
Citizens of West Virginia take on a major corporation in “The Devil We Know.” When a farmer’s cows began dying after they drank from a specific supply of water, he rallied up a group of West Virginia residents to find out why. They uncovered that Dupont has been knowingly dumping toxic chemicals into America’s drinking water supplies. This documentary brings to light problems with oversight in the chemical industry and teaches citizens all throughout America about precautions to take to avoid chemical contamination.
“Hillbilly” aims to bring awareness to the inaccurate portrayal of Appalachians and people living in rural America. Directors Sally Rubin and Ashley York seek to vary Americans’ perceptions of the stereotypical hillbilly. This film explores the social, political, and cultural depth of this community that is often overlooked by media.
Dawn Valadez & Katie Galloway’s documentary, “The Pushouts,” discusses issues regarding the number of high school “pushouts” and students in gangs. This film questions the impact of race, class, and power in the American education system and also tells the inspiring story of Dr. Victor Rios’s road to redemption. The footage of real high school students beginning to understand their right to get an education and their agency moves the audience and compels them to want to make a change.
“Bisbee ‘17” is a documentary/reenactment of the infamous Bisbee Deportation of 1917. The film also follows the town in present day as they prepare to remember these horrific events 100 years later. During the Bisbee Deportation, 1,200 migrant workers were forced out of their homes and left for dead in the middle of the desert.
Although “Bias” and “Crime + Punishment” have had their last screening for this festival, time still remains to see the rest of these powerful documentaries that are sure to initiate important conversations.