Sponsored by

John C. Mithun Foundation

Bentson Foundation

Volentine Family Foundation

Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies reaches over 4,000+ underserved and low-income elementary school students each year, from around 30 schools throughout Santa Barbara County. The program includes a Common Core-compliant film studies unit for the classroom, school visits from industry professionals and a trip to the historic Arlington Theatre during the height of the Film Festival for a screening of one of the year’s best animated films, with a Q&A with the film’s director. SBIFF creates the study guides, arranges the classroom visits, and provides transportation for all Title 1 schools, all with the goal of enriching these students’ arts education, exposing them to the worlds of filmmaking and film analysis, and sparking a lifelong connection to the arts. For many of these students, Mike’s FieldTrip is their first trip to the movies, and what an experience it is!

MFT Teacher Testimonial – Alisyn Blanton – Miguelito Elementary School

Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies has given my students experiences I cannot provide to them in a classroom setting. We have been interviewed on the red carpet and been on the news and in newspapers! Some students have never been to a theater and the Arlington Theater is unlike any other. We are provided with study guides to learn about the filmmaking and editing process, the characters, and any other pertinent information that we may need to then ask questions of the writers and directors after the film. If this wasn’t all enough, they provide this entire experience, including transportation, free of charge to our Title 1 schools. May this program always flourish and provide our students the opportunities to see careers outside of our small community walls!

MFT Teacher Testimonial – Timothy Barker – Hope Elementary School

Hosting a renowned film festival is a distinctive and cherished part of the Santa Barbara experience. Every year, members of our community, including school-age students, eagerly share their experiences with the festival. Despite its grandeur, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) ensures that the event remains accessible to all community members. One of the most remarkable initiatives towards this goal is Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies.

For many years, both before and after the COVID lockdown, the Hope School community has been fortunate to benefit from this field trip. Students from diverse backgrounds come together to enjoy a movie and have the unique opportunity to meet a film producer and/or director. This cinematic experience is truly one-of-a-kind. The Arlington Theatre buzzes with excitement and enthusiasm as students express their joy through sighs, laughter, and cheers. Some may view this as unruly, but I see it as a heartwarming display of our community’s youth reveling in the magic of cinema.

In the future, when students reflect on their elementary school years, they will fondly remember experiences that are uniquely Santa Barbara, with Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies being among the highlights.