Hope and community certainly ruled the night as SBIFF Board Chairman Jeffrey Barbakow welcomed the sold out crowd of the opening night film at Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre. He then introduced the renowned mayor of Santa Barbara, Helene Schneider, who spoke of the importance of SBIFF and its ability to bring together people from around the world to celebrate the magic of film.
SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling then took the stage to reiterate the importance of community, taking a moment for everyone in the audience to introduce themselves to a stranger. Roger also spoke of growing up in Panama, explaining that “I’m a foreigner, and I’m an American.” Roger then introduced CHARGED director Phillip Baribeau and producer Dennis Aig, who thanked the audience for attending, and praised their friends and family for all of their support in making this film.
After the screening concluded, CHARGED subject Eduardo Garcia took the stage and was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Visibly moved and shaken by the overwhelming reaction of the audience, Eduardo spoke to the message that he hopes the documentary instills in its viewers, and encouraged everyone to “dream big”. Upon exiting the theater, ADL candles were distributed to guests to signify how joining together in unity can help make a difference.
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