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Sam Tyler

A Day at the SBIFF
...Good to Great with Breaking News and a few questions with the guy who asked 10 questions...

by Lisa Snider

Today was the last screening of my film, The Price of Paradise, so I was finally able to slap on my press pass and be a writer again, which is where I am much more comfortable. Ed has high expectations, though, and if I am to be an Edhat staffer, I must be more dedicated. So I dedicate myself now and offer a few thoughts on the day.

Hanging out at the SBIFF Hub at the Hotel Santa Barbara is a total scene - lots of unshaven filmy-types with Variety lanyards and cell phones hanging around, trying very hard to look as if they aren't trying hard to look important.

Over at Victoria Hall, however, was a more subdued and freshly shaven group waiting to take in Good to Great, directed by Santa Barbara’s own Sam Tyler. Based on the best-selling book by Jim Collins, Good to Great offers an insightful look at what makes top companies successful. Just as I was beginning to realize this was a modern day In Search of Excellence, an 80’s film that to this day I recall as the best training video I've seen, I discovered that Sam was the producer.

The film does an excellent job of capturing Jim Collins’ over-the-top passion for his subject. Honestly, the guy is intense and borderline insane, and it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Some of the businesses featured include Starbucks, Walgreens, Southwest Airlines and Amgen. But Collins doesn't stop there, he also recognizes greatness in the public sector, with a look at a Yuma elementary school teacher and a Dallas police chief who both bring about compelling change at their organizations. These folks are so dedicated, I couldn't help but wonder if they got their start at Edhat.

During the Q&A with the audience, a bit of BREAKING NEWS came out. It turns out Sam’s next project takes place right here in Santa Barbara - an in-depth documentary about the Santa Barbara News Press. He has already conducted 15 interviews. Asked if he has been sued yet, he answered no, but added that his calls and correspondence to both Cappello and Millstein, lawyers for The Wendy, have gone unreturned.

While waiting for the next film, Finding Kraftland, (read Edhat’s review), I had a brief chat with Rick Ray, the director of the award-winning 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. Despite the seriousness of the topic at hand, Rick has a terrific sense of humor, so I knew I could take some liberties with my questions of him. First I asked if altitude sickness was ever a factor. He relayed a story of his driver succumbing during the long trek, and Rick was forced to take the wheel on the somewhat treacherous drive. And then I asked him if there were any questions he didn't get to ask, but would have if he had more than just 10. His answer was quick and witty, "Yeah, does he eat cornflakes for breakfast?"

And lastly, I'll just touch on one observation. Is anyone else annoyed by the opening SBIFF montage shown at every screening of the naked woman wrapped up in chiffon and film strip?

Lisa Snider is the writer, producer and director of "The Price of Paradise," which mades its Santa Barbara debut at the Film Festival last week. Lisa is also a local freelance writer; check-out her website at www.findingojai.com.


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