A Wealth of Talent – POP-UP FILM FESTIVAL SHOWCASES LOCAL TALENT

Mekhi Phifer stars in "The Suspect."Sherry McCracken photo

Mekhi Phifer stars in “The Suspect.”

Sherry McCracken photo

In the run-up to the SBIFF, you might have spotted some posters around town announcing another film fest at the Arlington in January. Well, you aren’t seeing double. The Pop-Up Film Festival is a day-long, 12-hour selection of mostly local filmmakers and their work, set up by producer-director Daniel Bollag. A long-time fan of all SBIFF brings to town (he often attends their tribute evenings), Mr. Bollag says the timing is purely coincidental.

Yes, he does wonder if SBIFF has evolved into a “marketing opportunity for bigger studios” and noticed there were also a lot of local, social-justice documentaries that weren’t being shown at the Fest or anywhere else in town. So the Pop-Up Film Festival was born, a full 12 hours of film for which one can buy individual tickets ñ or a whole day-pass. And nearly all films save “No Burqas” have a Santa Barbara-based filmmaker, including Israeli Meni Philip, who recently moved to town.

Sharon Stone and leading experts in religion, science, history, politics and entertainment discuss women healing the world in "Femme."Wonderland Entertainment Group photo

Sharon Stone and leading experts in religion, science, history, politics and entertainment discuss women healing the world in “Femme.”

Wonderland Entertainment Group photo

“The amount (of filmmaking talent) that saturates the soil here is amazing,” he says. “The fertile ground is never-ending here, creatively. There’s so many people here who want to be involved in the filmmaking process.”

With a limited advertising budget and needing to get the word out, the Arlington’s courtyard will play host to musical groups throughout the day and will feature more music inside. Mr. Bollag wants to take this program to several more cities to show off Santa Barbara’s homegrown talent. He’ll also be overseeing more films this year ñ he just took over the Community Film Studio Santa Barbara from Jack Presnal, and promises to make three films a year. But for now, this is the menu for Thursday:

12 noon “The Suspect” — Director Stuart Connelly
The Pop-Up Fest starts with a fiction film starring Mekhi Phifer and Sterling K. Brown as two friends pulling an elaborate bank heist … or are they? Is the whole thing a dangerous ruse or a strange, social experiment? (Local connection: one of the executive producers is Tracy Bollag, Daniel’s sister-in-law.)

2:30 p.m. “No Burqas Behind Bars” — Directors Maryam Ebrahimi and Nima Sarvestani
This doc takes us into Afghanistan’s women’s prison system where, unlike outside, the female prisoners can’t wear burqas. The women’s stories reveal a system of injustice where victims are not protected by law.

4 p.m. “Let There Be Light” — Directors Meni Philip and Noam Reuveni
Mr. Philip was an Orthodox Jew until he lost his faith and became secular. But, as this documentary shows, it tore his family apart, and he struggled to keep all sides together.

5:15 p.m. “Sinner” — Director Meni Philip
In Mr. Philip’s short narrative, a young man studying in a Jewish, ultra-orthodox school is confused by the awakening of his sexuality, and is then abused by his Rabbi.

6 p.m. Blood Ganja — Director Daniel Bollag
In 2005, Joshua Braun opened the Hortipharm marijuana clinic in Santa Barbara and despite following the letter of the law, the Obama administration and local law enforcement raided the shop and shut it down in 2010. This is Mr. Braun’s story about how the events ruined his life.

7:15 p.m. “Femme: Women Healing the World” — Director Emmanuel Itier
Emmanuel Itier believes women can change the world for good, and so she set out around the world to interview some of the most influential women in the human rights field.

9 p.m. Femme Q&A with Emmanuel Itier

9:45 p.m. A Womb with a View — Director Jennifer Miller
Ms. Miller’s film profiles 18 women who have decided not to have children either through choice or circumstance. Societal pressures abound, and the doc asks how inherent is the role of motherhood to a woman’s worth?

Pop-up Film Festival 2014
When: 12 noon – 12 midnight Thursday
Where: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St.
Cost: $15 individual movie, $50 full pass
Information: 963-4408, ticketmaster.com

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