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‘West of the West’ Documentary Series Set to Premiere at The Arlington

‘West of the West’ writer Peter Seaman; project originator, cinematographer and editor Brent Sumner; and producer Sam Tyler. Click to view larger
‘West of the West’ writer Peter Seaman; project originator, cinematographer and editor Brent Sumner; and producer Sam Tyler. (The Channel Islands Film photo)

All 14 tales of West of the West: Tales From California's Channel Islands — a three part documentary mini-series on the human history of the eight California Channel Islands currently in final production, presented by the Santa Cruz Island Foundation and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum — will premiere at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, 2016, and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 6.

This highly anticipated documentary series has been in production for nearly three years, with over 70 days of shooting on the islands and mainland with experts and descendants of island dwellers.

The final product will be three one-hour films to be aired on every primary PBS channel in California in April of 2016. Work has also begun on scheduling screenings on major PBS stations in other parts of the U.S. beginning next fall.

The films will be distributed free to schools throughout California and the nation via a new website, complete with custom curriculum materials.

The films are engaging and enlightening “tales” told from the point of view of the people who have experienced the Channel Islands — lived on, wrecked on, dived under, filmed, raised children, bootlegged, fished, surfed, sailed, explored and restored in a remarkable saga that begins 13,000 years ago.

Peter Seaman, who has had a distinguished career in the feature film business, is the writer for the series. His co-writing credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Last Holiday, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Shrek the Third.  

Producer, Sam Tyler, along with Seaman, is donating his time for this project. Tyler is a long-time independent producer who has funded, planned and produced nine specials for PBS stations.

Project originator, cinematographer and editor, Brent Sumner, has operated a video production business in Santa Barbara for the past 18 years.

Seamn, Tyler and Sumner were producers of the 2009 powerful documentary film Citizen McCaw.

In addition to the two public premiere screenings, there will be already-full matinee screening Sunday, March 6, at the Arlington called Education Sunday, with an invited audience of students and teachers from schools from the Santa Barbara Unified School District and Santa Barbara County Schools.

Of particular interest to elementary schools is the material on The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, upon which the best-selling book Island of the Blue Dolphins was based. The book is required reading in fourth grade in California.

Due to the great success of a recent Kickstarter Campaign, the March 5 screening is nearly sold out, but a limited number of tickets are still available.

All tickets are available at The Arlington Theatre Box Office, which can be reached at 805.963.4408.

For full details on the film including filmmaker biographies, photos and story angles, visit

— Rod Lathim is a producer of West of the West.


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