The most politically powerful film in this Santa Barbara Filmmakers collection of SBIFF 2021 is The Revolution Generation, a documentary about the strong and expansive impact of the oft-ridiculed millennial generation on American society. Narrated by actor Michelle Rodriguez and directed by Ojai residents Josh and Rebecca Tickell (whose recent film Kiss the Ground won much acclaim), it’s a deeply reported, stereotype-slaying film about generational cycles.
Josh recently answered some questions via email.
What’s your Santa Barbara connection?
We were married in Santa Barbara, and, while we lived in L.A. at the time, we always dreamed of raising a family somewhere along the coast north of L.A.. Later on we discovered Ojai and came to live here but have always loved Santa Barbara, especially for its beaches and arts.
When did you realize millennials weren’t so bad?
We have made 14 films on environmental issues, and since the beginning, our audiences were young. College students especially were able to grasp the more complex and intertwined themes of environment, racial justice, and women’s rights. From the beginning of our filmmaking career, it was clear to us that the upcoming generation was going to be the spark to ignite a greener awareness on our planet.
Are the attacks on millennials just part of a generational cycle or more serious?
The effect of how millennials have been maligned in the public eye is both part of a generational cycle and also something new. The speed and ubiquity of social media and technology has amplified social pressure and perception, especially when it comes to a new generation of people who do not conform to long-held ideals of career, family, and religion.
How did you get Michelle Rodriguez to narrate?
Michelle has been a friend, environmental advocate, and voice for eco causes for a long time. She was part of our project on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill back in 2011, and we’ve remained in contact ever since. We were blown away with her enthusiasm and generosity to narrate and be on camera in The Revolution Generation, and frankly, we couldn’t think of a better person as she embodies so many of the struggles millennials and the upcoming “Homeland Generation” (Gen Z) are facing.
What do you want audiences to take away from the film?
The hope for our wonderful viewers at SBIFF is that people from different generations begin to empathize with one another and see across generational boundaries. This is ultimately a film about connecting with one another in new ways so we can work together to do great things. The “revolution” that the film speaks about is really a revolution of love, of the heart and of deep opening. When we learn to love people who we typically judge, the world shifts. That’s our goal: to spread love and to shift the world.