Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 9:38 am | Fair 61º


Community Film Studio Santa Barbara Presents Benefit Screening of ‘The Bet’

A catered fundraising party on the patio of the Arlington Theatre precedes a showing of the award-winning feature film

From left, “The Bet” writer Annie Dahlgren, producer James Kahn, board president Phebe Mansur and actor Tim Whitcombe at Wednesday’s benefit screening at the Arlington Theatre for the Community Film Studio Santa Barbara.
From left, “The Bet” writer Annie Dahlgren, producer James Kahn, board president Phebe Mansur and actor Tim Whitcombe at Wednesday’s benefit screening at the Arlington Theatre for the Community Film Studio Santa Barbara. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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The Community Film Studio Santa Barbara presented a benefit screening of its award-winning feature film The Bet at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday night.

The screening was preceded by a catered fundraising party on the Arlington’s patio.

Actors, producers, board members and community supporters enjoyed hors d'oeuvres by master chef Harold Welsh and a hosted bar in the sunlit tented patio adjacent to the theater. Event sponsor was Peter Jordano of Jordano's Inc.

The Community Film Studio is a nonprofit community organization whose mission is to encourage and support local filmmakers and develop film arts. Modeled on the template of community theater, this nonprofit group doesn’t put on regional theater — it makes movies.

The Bet was produced on a small budget supported by donations and using an all-volunteer cast and crew. Many involved were amateurs who responded to casting calls on Craigslist. The heads of each department — camera, lighting, sound, etc. — were professionals who donated their time, to mentor the volunteers into a savvy film crew.

"The Bet ended up not just looking like a feature film, but it is a really good film," Community Film Studio Santa Barbara board president Phebe Mansur said. "I love film and filmmaking since I graduated from UCSB with a major in filmmaking. As a small-business owner of the Copyright, I am 'the boss' and I don't get to be involved in the collaborative process. Making a film is a completely a team project, and I love getting all the ideas from all the different players, like the actors, producers, writers, costume designers and production crew."

The film won Best Picture at the L.A. Femme Film Festival in 2013, a festival in which films had to be written, produced or directed by a woman. The Bet had all three, including indie producer Christine Fry, amateur screenwriters Annie Dahlgren and Christina Eliason, and actress Finola Hughes, who’d never directed a film before.

Paired with the screening of The Bet was So Alive, a music video by local songwriter Barbara Moseley, directed by veteran filmmaker Vince Montefusco, just one of the new projects currently being generated by the Community Film Studio.

The Community Film Studio was founded in 2011 by Jack Presnal, who had a vision of a creating a film production company based upon the structures and principles of a traditional community theater: neighbors volunteering to put on a show for the entertainment of others and for the pure love of doing it. CFSSB was incorporated in July 2011.

For more information, call 805.751.5678, email [email protected], or visit or

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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