Filmmaking is perhaps the most powerful tool for any community’s underrepresented corners — be they young, poor, minorities, or indigenous peoples — to find a voice and relay their often forgotten realities to the rest of the world. For 11 years, Youth CineMedia (YCM) has been bringing that power to kids in Santa Barbara County, and for the eighth straight year, the best of those efforts will hit the big screen as part of a free SBIFF showcase on Sunday, February 3, 10 a.m.-noon, at the Lobero Theatre.
“YCM teaches video production to diverse youth from urban and rural areas,” said the program’s founder and executive director, Osiris Castañeda, who’s been expanding it to Los Angeles and New Mexico, where he’s been working with Native American kids. “We provide free classes and mentoring for those who are newly immigrated, underprivileged, or at-risk from the gang life, repeated incarceration, or addiction to drugs and alcohol.” Filmmakers from New Mexico will be in attendance, and the Sunday event will kick off with L.A.’s Chicano punk band Aztlan Underground and Native American rap group Rhythmetik.
In addition to Native American topics, this year’s films include a portrait of recently passed Santa Barbara city councilmember Babatunde Folayemi, looks at graffiti art and freeway murals in L.A., and a documentary about Undocubus, a traveling band of immigrant activists. See youthcinemedia.org.