For established and aspiring filmmakers on the South Coast, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is filled with opportunities. If you’re looking to network, the festival attracts producers, actors, and studio heads from all over the planet. And if you’re hoping for a big debut, the fest is adamant about looking after its own. Take, for example, the annual 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competition. Since 2004, 10-10-10 has provided a means for area high school and college students to pair off and produce 10 short films in 10 days, as well as vie for some serious cash prizes.
Earlier this year, one of those prize winners was Gabriella Guillen, a Santa Barbara City College student and budding screenwriter, who took home 10-10-10’s top prize for her original short, Paradise Café. But the accolades didn’t stop there. Since winning the 10-10-10 screenwriting prize, Guillen, director (and fellow SBCC student) Benjamin Goalabre, and producer Michelle Magers have shopped Paradise Café to a number of other fests, including the Cannes International Film Festival, which accepted the film in March. Now, the focus is on getting Paradise Café seen; it’s one of more than 1,000 short films in the fest, which means Guillen and Goalabre will need to hit the ground running. Below, learn about ways you can help, as well why Paradise Café is proving to be such a breakout success.
1. The Film: Shot throughout downtown Santa Barbara, Paradise Café is a 10-minute tale about one man’s mysterious encounter with what may or may not be a magic genie. But this is no lamp-rubbing Aladdin flick. Goalabre’s moody lighting techniques, and Guillen’s believably sharp dialogue, make Paradise an unnervingly real take on the fantastic.
2. The Odds: “I heard last year that there were 1,500 shorts accepted to Cannes, but there are thousands of submissions,” explained Magers. “I couldn’t believe it when I got the email,” added Goalabre, who initially submitted the film to the Cannes board. “It’s unreal.”
3. The Assist: But getting into Cannes is just the beginning. In France, Guillen and Goalabre will need to market Paradise and pay for posters, screenings, and flyers in order to attract industry attention. “We’ve all discussed making a bigger script and making a bigger movie,” they explained “It’s kind of like a Kickstarter/Indiegogo film at Cannes, which is pretty much why they do the shorts program.” To donate, or learn more, visit facebook.com/paradisecafemovie or email firstname.lastname@example.org.