Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, March 20 , 2019, 2:54 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Isla Vista Community Upset About ‘Del Playa’ Horror Film

Thousands have signed petition created against the movie’s contents

Members of the Isla Vista community are calling the planned release of a “Del Playa” horror film disturbing, distasteful and downright disrespectful for its similarities to the mass shooting and stabbing events of May 23, 2014.

The outrage flowed into the UC Santa Barbara alumni population, where it took less than a week for organizers of a change.org petition against the film’s release to nearly reach its goal of 25,000 signatures.

As of Wednesday, more than 25,000 people had signed the petition. Its creators — UCSB alumni Ian Neal and Kate Nollner — have said the intent is to educate filmmakers at Berger Bros Entertainment to the seriousness of gun violence tragedies, including the Isla Vista incident last year that left six UCSB students dead and 14 others injured.

The petition alleges “Del Playa” was created to capitalize on the deaths of students.

Berger Bros Entertainment, a multi-media production company founded in 2008, released a trailer for “Del Playa” this month under the tagline “Monsters aren’t born. They are created.”

Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old resident who killed himself after going on a stabbing and shooting rampage around Isla Vista, wrote a manifesto explaining how years of rejection from women and peers led him to violence.

“It wasn’t out of a movie; it was real life,” said Candice Signa, a UCSB alum and wife of UC Police Lt. Mark Signa, who responded to the scene that night. “These people died and they didn’t do anything wrong. This kid who caused all this mayhem is not a hero and not a monster to be studied. He had a mental illness.

"These filmmakers who are trying to commoditize death are disgusting and deplorable.”

Director Shaun Hart posted a note on Facebook last week, dismissing that “Del Playa” was based on the real event.

“First and foremost, I would like to publicly apologize to everyone who has been offended in any way by our making of this film,” Hart wrote. “It was never our intent to monopolize on the tragic shootings in Isla Vista that took place last year. While I do admit there is the connection of Santa Barbara, this film is not about Elliot Rodger. The fictional character in the film is not meant to portray anyone in particular.

"It is meant to portray incidents that take place, not only in Santa Barbara but across the country on a daily basis.

“Our intentions were not to make light of such a serious issue, but to engage our audience in an active discussion about bullying and violence. As a graduate of UCSB and a former resident of Del Playa, that day was a knife to my heart. For me, the actions of one individual tainted a lot of good memories of an innocent time and brought darkness to a place that should only be home to the hopes and dreams of the young.

"For all touched by the tragedy at DP, know this: I stand right there with you. And share love and compassion for our fallen Gauchos.”

Hart’s Facebook page indicates he graduated from UCSB in 2007.

Some petition signers alleged in comments that their likeness was used without permission, mostly scenes from house parties where alcohol was present.

Berger Bros Entertainment CEO Josh Berger said the company could not comment on the film at this time.

According to IMDB.com, “Del Playa” was filmed in Isla Vista with a production budget of about $600,000. The trailer notes an October release date.

“We recognize that by creating a viral petition, we are giving the filmmakers an insane amount of publicity, but believe that with enough support and passion we can direct this in a positive direction,” the creators said, noting they’ve sent a list of concerns to filmmakers.

A second change.org petition was created in support of the film’s release and freedom of speech. That one has about 60 signatures.

Signa said she’s all for freedom of speech, but not when victims, families and first responders are still healing. If Hart went to UCSB, she said, he should know better.

“Sometimes people don’t stop to think about whether or not they should do something,” Signa said. “The world doesn’t need to glorify the event any more than it already has been. This is not a commodity; it’s a tragedy.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

Email
I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.