Film Festival Opens New Education Center in Downtown Santa Barbara

Release Date: May 30,2019

State Street location will provide classrooms, a screening room, a community gathering space, a film resource library and an editing suite

Rooms at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s new education center. Click to view larger
Rooms at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s new education center on State Street are decorated in various film motifs. The 3,600-square-foot center has several classrooms, a screening room, a community gathering space, a film resource library and an editing suite for filmmakers. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is operating a new facility in downtown Santa Barbara that offers access to the arts and arts-education programs for all ages. 

SBIFF is using the facility dubbed the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies as the organization’s education center. The SBIFF is taking over the space at 1330 State St. Suite 101 to serve as a hub for learning and creativity.

The 3,600-square-foot education center has several classrooms, a screening room, a community gathering space, a film resource library and an editing suite for filmmakers.

It’s a central location and the Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre is across the street.

Many programs will reach some of the most vulnerable community members, including at-risk and under-served youth, low-income families and their children and transit-dependent seniors. 

Current programs are available at no charge to participants, according to the SBIFF.

The center is home to expanding and new programs, including the SBIFF’s 10-10-10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition, film analysis seminars, volunteer training, and more.

Before this space, the SBIFF rented out ad hoc locations for high school and college students in the mentorship program, SBIFF's Executive Director Roger Durling said.

Those students now can utilize the State Street space.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is using the facility dubbed the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies at 1330 State St. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is using the facility dubbed the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies at 1330 State St. Suite 101 as the organization’s education center. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

In addition, area filmmakers will showcase their work on the first Thursday of each month. The free screenings are open to the public at the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies.

“The dream has always been to have an education center,” Durling said. “It’s a flexible space. Each room is a different classroom and a different theme.”

The iconic yellow brick road and Emerald City from “The Wizard of Oz” are painted inside a room, and a delivery boy at “Sal's Famous Pizzeria” in Spike Lee's “Do the Right Thing” is painted in another room.

The SBIFF celebrated the official grand opening of the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening.

Durling, along with Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo and Jeffrey and Margo Baker Barbakow, led the ceremony at the site. 

“The possibilities are endless, and more to come,” Durling said of the education center. 

A rooms at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s new education center. Click to view larger
Rooms at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s new education center on State Street are decorated in various film motifs. The 3,600-square-foot center has several classrooms, a screening room, a community gathering space, a film resource library and an editing suite for filmmakers. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The SBIFF is perhaps best known for its annual multi-day festival that present hundreds of films from around the globe, celebrity tributes and panel discussions that attract highly acclaimed film industry professionals.

The SBIFF also is committed to arts education, and the education programs reach more than 14,000 people annually, according to the organization

In 2017, the SBIFF opened its new site at the Riviera Theatre at 2044 Alameda Padre Serra, a location offering year-round cinematic arts education in Santa Barbara and a multipurpose hub for all aspects of film.

“We have the Riviera Theatre and now we have this footprint in downtown,” Durling said.

Because of the major support from Jeffrey and Margo Baker Barbakow, the education center is named the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies. Other support comes from Nora and Michael Hurley, the Manitou Fund, the Hutton Parker Foundation and an anonymous donor.

“Roger (Durling), Sean (Pratt) and others have the chance to take this to the next level… activities we can only dream about,” Jeffrey Barbakow said of the education center. “It’s amazing.”

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and educational organization.

For more than 30 years, the SBIFF has become a leading film festival in the United States – attracting an estimated 90,000 attendees and offering 11 days of film screenings, tributes and panels, fulfilling their mission to enrich, engage and inspire people through the power of film.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at bholland@noozhawk.com.

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