Humboldt County

This time it was dope. Each quarter, the UCSB-supported Magic Lantern Films project proudly features two nights of student-selected programming. They do this partly to give the weary old man who usually programs the series a break, but mostly to encourage a more richly diverse film-going culture. Students enrolled in a class attached to the film series rack their brains, shop distributors, and shake funding out of obscure university sources to give the community a taste of their dominant obsessions. For fall, they came up with two films prominently examining the uses and abuses of drugs: last week’s concert/screening of Sid and Nancy, and this Friday’s Santa Barbara premiere of the resinous coming-of-age flick, Humboldt County.

“It was a grassroots decision,” said a pun-intending Lauren Wilson, the film studies grad student who conducts the class. “[The idea] bubbled up first from one in-the-know student in the class, then garnered near unanimous support, since ‘herb culture’ movies tend to be a hit.” But don’t confuse Humboldt with stoner fun films like Pineapple Express or Up in Smoke, explained Wilson, who added that this is “more of a self-discovery movie, closer in comparison to Garden State. However, it does have a lot to do with the marijuana counterculture.”

Whatever critical reaction the film elicits, however, the experience should be heightened by the presence of the film’s two young directors, Danny Jacobs and Darren Grodsky, who will be on hand to answer questions and flesh out the details of their own near-success story. Magnolia Pictures picked up the film at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, but it has yet to find wide release. (It hasn’t even played in L.A. yet!)

So come out and support student programming, see a real-life movie premiere, and sample some wares from the local chapter of NORML, which is scheduled to hold a bake sale. (They’ll probably remember.) Humboldt County premieres this Friday, December 5, in Isla Vista Theater (960 Embarcadero del Norte, I.V.) at 7 and 10 p.m. The Q&A with directors Jacobs and Grodsky takes place following the 7 p.m. screening. Tickets are $4. Visit for details


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