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Arts & Entertainment Presented by Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts


Popup Film Festival Gives 7 Local Documentaries a Chance to Carry the Day

Santa Barbara filmmaker throws one-day marathon at Arlington Theatre to showcase films shunned by larger festivals

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Local documentary filmmakers — and their fans — will get some big-screen time this month in a day-long showcase at Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theatre.

The first-ever Popup Film Festival will feature seven films that focus on civil rights issues, said Daniel Bollag, the organizer and himself a local filmmaker.

“My hope is that we can give a voice to people and (filmmakers) won’t feel that they have to make these cookie-cutter movies,” he told Noozhawk.

The seven documentaries, he said, are films that larger festivals “don’t have the balls to show.”

Bollag, who says he’s never organized an event like this before, said the festival is an opportunity for the locals to share their work and make some money from ticket revenue.

The Jan. 23 festival will have movies from noon to midnight and, for most of the day, a free acoustic concert outside the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St. Tickets cost $15 per film or $50 for the day and are being sold through the Arlington box office and Ticketmaster.

The first film, The Suspect, is about two African-American professors who pose as bank robbers for a social experiment, Bollag said.

There are several films focusing on women’s rights, including No Burqas Behind Bars, a film about a women’s prison in Afghanistan. Femme, Sharon Stone’s latest film, is about female empowerment and is directed by local Emmanuel Litier.

Womb With a View, by local filmmaker Jennifer Miller, is about 18 women who don’t have children, either by choice or consequence, and channel their maternal instincts into helping humanity, Bollag said.

Bollag will also be presenting his film, Blood Ganja, which chronicles the arrest and prosecution of Dayli and Joshua Braun, who owned and operated a Santa Barbara medical marijuana dispensary.

Police raided the Hortipharm dispensary, at 3516 State St., and accused the couple of operating outside the Compassionate Use Act as well as money laundering through their other business, Pizza Guru. Five employees were also charged, but all charges were dropped after Joshua Braun pleaded no contest to selling marijuana and money laundering.

The Brauns, Bollag said, had “trumped-up charges” and suffered trauma from the experience.

“The reason I made the film is, I felt like if punishment is incorporated into the process of proving your innocence, then there is no due process,” he said.

The festival will also showcase two films written and directed by Israeli filmmaker Meni Philip, including Let There Be Light, which is in Hebrew with English subtitles, and the short film Sinner, which won the Venice International Film Festival.

The Popup Film Festival’s sponsors include Playback Recording Studio, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Sonos, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and I Am Not a Criminal, a local marijuana legalization advocacy group.

The event will also promote the Community Film Studio Santa Barbara, which Bollag took over a few weeks ago.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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