As part of its ongoing commitment to children’s education, SBIFF’s program Mike’s FieldTrip to the Movies educates 4,700+ fourth, fifth and sixth grade Santa Barbara County students in two separate screenings during the Festival. Founded by the late acclaimed nature cinematographer Mike DeGruy, Mike’s FieldTrip to the Movies explores how to use the art of filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident and culturally aware thinkers and empower students and teachers with a creative approach to education. To guarantee that underserved populations can experience this opportunity, SBIFF provides FREE transportation to students from Title I schools (low-income demographic areas). In addition, SBIFF provides a Study guide for the film and works with select schools to coordinate in-school filmmaker presentations prior to the field trip so that students approach the film as active viewers.

The program begins with a screening of a film that has themes consisting with the program’s goals. Directly following the film will be a discussion with the film’s director covering many topics but all revolving around educating our youth to follow their dreams. In the past, Oscar winners James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar), Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3), Gore Verbinski (The Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango), Peter Ramsey (Rise of the Guardians), Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (Frozen), Chris Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie), Pete Docter (Inside Out), Bryan Howard (Zootopia), Adrian Molina (Coco), Phil Johnston & Rich Moore (Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Peter Ramsey & Bob Persichetti (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse) have been in attendance and educated our Santa Barbara county fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

Myra Perez, a teacher at Ontiveros Elementary School, shared, “Many, if not all of my students have never been to the Arlington Theater or any theater. The experience in itself is amazing to the students who lack these types of experiences. The expression on their faces as they entered the theater was priceless.”

With the acquisition of the Riviera Theatre, the program will be expanded to include in-school visits and screenings on a year-round basis, allowing us to reach and inspire more kids through the power of film. A four year case study was created to show the program’s impact over the years.