Panelists added to SB premiere of "Twisp: The Power of Community"
A panel of Santa Barbara activists will share their thoughts on strengthening local community following Unity of Santa Barbara’s screening of Twisp: The Power of Community (www.twispmovie.com) on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30, and admission is by donation. Unity of Santa Barbara is located at 227 E. Arrellaga St.
Twisp is a 40-minute documentary that asks, “In a society that seems increasingly polarized and confrontational, how do some communities manage to get along?” The film, which has won awards from half-a-dozen national and international festivals, is by long-time Santa Barbara resident (SBHS ’71) Leslee Goodman.
Sharing their thoughts on the qualities that make for strong communities and their own organizations’ work to cultivate those qualities here will be panelists Alejandra Gutierrez, executive director of the Franklin Service Center and candidate for Santa Barbara City Council District 1; Meagan Harmon, representing District 6 on the Santa Barbara City Council; Pilar Montoya, executive director of Aha!, and Jarrod Schwartz, executive director of Just Communities.
Several years in the making, Twisp explores the qualities that enable one rural community to thrive, when so many others are dying, or being swallowed up by development. It also reveals how a community can work together to address big challenges, despite possessing a diversity of opinions. Producer and director Goodman was inspired to make the film “as an antidote to the increasingly confrontational and intolerant rhetoric that has characterized public discourse in recent years.
“The residents of Twisp are as evenly divided between ‘red’ versus ‘blue’ affiliations as the rest of the country,” she says. “But they still work together to address their common problems and to celebrate the qualities they’re grateful to share—such as local beauty, local food, and local talent. I hope that’s a message that will inspire the rest of the country, as well.”
Starting with a telling of the town’s Native/white reconciliation process, the film also shares Twisp’s successful opposition to a controversial mega ski resort development; its development of a homegrown safety net—from a teen suicide prevention program to an affordable housing initiative; its recovery from back-to-back summers of devastating wildfires; and its investment in art and local artists as an economic development strategy.
Since its completion in January 2019, the film has won “Official Selection” laurels from Docs Without Borders, Impact Docs, Utopia Film Festival, WRPN.tv’s Short, Tight, and Loose Global Film Competition and its International Women’s Film Festival, as well as several “Outstanding Excellence” and “Exceptional Merit” awards. The film features original songs by Luc and the Lovingtons, Brittany Jean, Native hip-hop artist Supaman, and Rita Coolidge’s trio Walela.
“Our staff chose to show the film because it reflects the values of inclusivity and love it is our mission to share,” said Cheri Nagle, Unity of Santa Barbara business administrator. “We invite everyone in Santa Barbara to attend.”