Although there’s plenty of glitz and glamour, SBIFF truly is Santa Barbara’s most progressive event of the year, with films that offer distinct and oftentimes alarming viewpoints from around the world. These entries tend to be in the documentary format, and they open up our eyes both to abuse and to positive messages, while prompting very real conversations about how we in Santa Barbara can make the world a better place. Nothing embodies this spirit more than the Fund for Santa Barbara’s Social Justice Award for Documentary Film, now in its 11th year.
“Documentary films have long been an important tool in addressing critical social justice issues, exposing environmental disasters, and advancing human rights,” said the Fund for S.B.’s Executive Director Geoff Green. “No other medium can match film in capturing the public’s attention and mobilizing people to action.”
This year, the 10 docs competing for a $2,500 prize are: 2501 Migrantes, about migration’s impact on an Oaxacan community; Ahead of Time, about photojournalist Ruth Gruber; Climate Refugees, about those who must move due to global warming; Enemies of the People, an inside look at life under the Khmer Rouge; In the Land of the Free, about three Black Panthers imprisoned for a crime they likely didn’t commit; Kimjongilia, in which North Korean defectors tell their tales; Last Train Home, which follows a Chinese peasant family’s journey to unite their community; Two Spirits, about a Navajo spiritual leader who was both boy and girl; The University of Nuclear Bombs, a look at the UC’s role in weapons; When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun, about a Tibetan community in exile; and 8: The Mormon Proposition, which exposes the Mormon Church’s role in passing Prop. 8 and its overall campaign against the LGBT community.
To meet and support these filmmakers, attend the reception for nominees on Friday, February 5, from 5-7 p.m., at The Frameworks/Caruso-Woods Gallery (813 Anacapa St.). Pass-holders are invited, and individual tickets are $25. Call 962-9164.