Birmingham Goes to the 2019 Santa Barbara Film Festival


Isamar Torres

BCCHS Advanced Film students arriving at Santa Barbara.

Isamar Torres, Opinion Editor

Every year, Santa Barbara hosts a week-long film festival. This year was their 34th annual film festival, which the advanced film class at BCCHS was fortunate enough to be able to go to this year. It was held from January 30 to February 9, and our students were gone for five days from January 30 through February 3.

An example of the flyers and posters advertised at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

The film class has approximately 21 students and 19 were able to go to the film festival along with two teachers, Mr. Kelly, the film teacher here at Birmingham, and Ms. Kono, the yearbook and digital media teacher. They were the advisors helping the class during the entire trip. The students came to school with luggage and bags filled to the top. For five days, they were going to be away from their family and school.

Everyone was set to leave at 3:40 p.m.–right after school. The group met at the circle in front of the Performing Arts  building stage. The ride to the hotel was two hours and 26 minutes long. After finally arriving at the hotel around 6 p.m., the advisors and students sat all together talking about the rules. Students were to watch at least two movies a day, and students were free to do as they wish but had to be back by 9 p.m.  After that, students couldn’t leave the hotel. 

Rami Malek winning his award as “Outstanding Performer of the Year Award” for Bohemian Rhapsody.

The film festival was in the downtown area where the city was showing their excitement for the event by posting flyers and banners everywhere. At the theaters, people would line up an hour before the film to get a number and come back 20 minutes before the showing. People entered the theater in the numbered pattern, where they showed one normal-length movie or six short films at once. There weren’t many high school students at the events, which made Birmingham students act with their best behavior for the rest of the audience. The program hosted around ten movies and short films every day, all day. They not only showed films, but gave awards too. On Jan 28, 2019, Rami Malek won Outstanding Performer of the Year Award for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, but sadly, BCCHS students weren’t able to attend this event since they did not announce it to our group. 

Every morning, the group all agreed to wake up early and watch films and then spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the beach or exploring. This really helped us get close with all the students, because we are all in groups in the class.  Usually, we would only communicate to the people in our own group, but now we were out talking to everyone, going to the beach, and eating dinner together. It was a great bonding experience. On our last night we all decided to cook dinner together with the help of our teachers and eat a “family dinner.” This was filled with laughter and talking about our experiences over the five days.

Isamar Torres
One of the five theater that premiered many films at the festival

The trip was an amazing experience for our students, many who desire to become future film directors. This was a great opportunity for everyone to experience the thrill and excitement that movies deliver to our screens. Each day was an eye-opening journey to the world of entertainment. If anyone wants a career in the filmmaking industry, this is the best trip for you!