Opening night at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival



Staff Writer and Photo Editor


As this winter rolled around many people gathered at the Arlington Theatre for the 32nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). The SBIFF is a popular event comprised of powerful films and world renowned actors and actresses. The Opening Night Gala is always a majestic experience in the beautiful Arlington theatre with several famous locals in attendance.

I was very impressed with the layout of the festival,” remarked senior Julia McMahon. “It was well organized and everyone was friendly.”

The opening night started off with the documentary film, Charged. The film was directed by Phillip Baribeau and Dennis Aig, and covers the life of chef Eduardo Garcia after he experienced a 2,400-volt electric shock while stabbing a dead bear who was touching a power source. He endured 21 surgeries and years of rehabilitation, and while he was still in recovery from his accident, he was diagnosed with stage two testicular cancer. Throughout the film we observe Garcia as he struggles with his numerous operations.

The audience was inspired as Garcia navigates his new and challenging life with such positivity and ambition, as he shares a new found appreciation for everyday activities. Since the accident, Garcia has become an athlete, motivational speaker, and is back exploring the great outdoors. The film was a huge success as it captivated and uplifted the entire audience.

It was a very powerful and well written documentary,” said senior Emiko Hoffman. “Garcia’s ability to overcome adversity was very inspirational.”

Once a screening of the film was completed, stars took to the red carpet for exclusive interviews and pictures with the cast and crew of the film. Eduardo Garcia is a charismatic and humble man with a touching attitude for life. His long-term girlfriend and care-taker after the accident, Jennifer Jane, was also present at the screening. Her compassion and persistence is also awe-inspiring as she remains by Eduardo’s side throughout the entire story.

The opening night of the film festival went by smoothly. The evening concludes with producer Baribeau thanking Eduardo and Jennifer for giving them the opportunity “to tell this beautiful story.” The on stage interview of Eduardo was inspiring to say the least. The SBIFF continued till the 11th of February with appearances from Denzel Washington, Casey Affleck, and Jeff Bridges.


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