Award-winning Better Together screens at the Arlington Theatre
Christopher Lloyd narrates Better Together, a feature documentary sharing how one community keeps coming together, over 50 years, through oil spills, fires, mudslides and the future challenges of a changing climate
Award-winning documentary Better Together returns to Santa Barbara after screening in three film festivals and picking up a Best Documentary award in Santiago de Chile.
The 1969 Union Oil blowout brought people together to protect their beaches, just like the 2019 Montecito Debris Flow united over 3,000 volunteers to help victims and rebuild Montecito. Better Together (2019, 47 minutes) illustrates the power of community, pulling together for the common good.
Fifty years ago, an oil spill united a community and changed the world
The 1969 oil spill covered the Santa Barbara Channel in oil for a long year and inspired the creation of the Community Environmental Council (CEC), the UCSB Environmental Studies Program, Get Oil Out! and the Environmental Defense Center. These organizations in turn spawned others like Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and Gaviota Coast Conservancy. Nationally, the oil spill inspired the creation of Earth Day and a public outcry that had President Nixon sign the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Better Together narrates a history of activism through the eyes of the community. It features News-Press journalist Bob Sollen, artist Bud Bottoms, Selma Rubin, Direct Relief’s President Thomas Tighe, and many others from the aforementioned organizations, as well as Montecito Trails Foundation, Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, Habitat for Humanity, and inspiring young graduates of the Environmental Studies Program at UCSB. It also guest-stars National Geographic oceanographer Sylvia Earle, The Population Bomb co-author Paul Ehrlich and Solution Project’s founder Mark Jacobson.
Director Isaac Hernández (Madrid, Spain) offers a poetic and hopeful look at what’s possible at a global level through local action, featuring many solutions generated in Santa Barbara, from the birth of curbside recycling to the first solar micro-grid in the continental United States at Direct Relief’s headquarters.
The film is beautifully scored by Sheena Birrittella, and features songs by Emiliano Campobello and Jack Johnson.
Better Together was made possible thanks to generous donations by Bobbie and Gerry Rubin, by Executive Producers Lynda Weinman, Leslie Sweem Bhutani and Linda & Frederick Gluck, and by the Zegar Family Fund, Anne Towbes, Sofia Martin, Merryl Brown, Stan and Bettie Hatch, Sandy Robertson & Marshall Donovan, Nancy Gifford, Stacy Pulice, Judy Egenolf and many other supporters.
Better Together won the Best Documentary Feature at the Santiago Independent Film Awards (August 2019) and was a finalist for the Best Special Focus Documentary at LA Femme Film Festival and for the Ted Turner Prize for the film that best encourages environmental stewardship at the 2019 Bozeman Film Celebration. The film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and was produced by Nancy Black and directed by Isaac Hernandez for Mercury Press International.