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‘Waiting for Superman’ Screening to Kick Off Local Roundtable Series

Community discussions will tie in with the film, which follows students through the public education system

Santa Barbara will get an early chance to view the documentary Waiting for Superman on Thursday night, a day before it opens in theaters nationally. The screening will serve as a kickoff event for the Holden Foundation’s plans to host a series of community dialogues.

“We Need to Talk” is a nine-month series centered on topics involving children and youth in the community.

The film, which follows five American students as they navigate the public education system, was directed by Davis Guggenheim, who also directed An Inconvenient Truth.

Thursday night’s event is open to the public, but only 325 seats are available and could fill up quickly. The film will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Metro Paseo Nuevo Cinemas, 8 W. De la Guerra Place. Tickets will be $8 for general admission and $6 for seniors and students. All proceeds will go to the Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Series, Pueblo Santa Barbara and Just Communities.

Click here to view the trailer.

Todd Capps, executive director of the Holden Foundation, talked with Noozhawk about the event and why the public should get involved. Capps, runs the foundation named for his father, Walter Holden Capps.

“The idea was to honor the legacy of his life’s work and passion,” Capps said, adding that the distillation of his father’s legacy comes down to the idea that “everything good starts with open and fearless dialogue.

The discussion series will involve roundtable-type discussions with representatives from a variety of agencies as well as interested members of the community, Capps said. He said there’s a global shift toward reconnecting, and that recent events such as the financial crisis are a chance to pause and ask how we got here.

“That pause is necessary,” he said, adding that he hopes the series will be a starting point for dialogue, out of which may come best practices and solutions. Education, housing, violence and gangs, social inequality and environmental stewardship are all part of the discussion series to come.

The discussions will be filmed and distributed online and on DVD. 

Showing the film to kick off the series was a recent development, and Capps acknowledges that it has turned out to be a good fit with good timing.

“The film is setting the tone for the kind of dialogue and debate that we want to provide,” he said. “(The film) is creating controversy nationally, largely because it’s delving into territory that people have been reluctant to face head-on. We want to dig into it, making sure all voices are represented.”

The foundation received an invitation from Paramount Studios, which produced the film, and the Orfalea Foundations to host the private screening of the film. In addition to the Holden Foundation, the event is sponsored by the McCune Foundation, the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy.

“No matter how you feel about the debate,” Capps said, “we can’t continue accepting this state of neglect in our public education system.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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