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Santa Barbara Film Festival 2015

Santa Barbara Film Festival is one of our great West Coast treasures ( I have attended the festival every year for the past 15 years and am continually impressed with the nature and psychological quality of many feature, documentary, and short films chosen for screening.

This year's bounty included a number of films that could serve to heal souls of individuals in severe conflict through biological ancestral lines, and across geographical borders. It is my belief that film can help heal souls while educating and entertaining audiences.

Here are a few excellent examples screened at the Santa Barbara Film Festival this year:

"A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake" (2014), directed by Michael Lessac, is a documentary filmed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Ireland, Rwanda, Serbia, and South Africa. *Excellent! Re: World Conflict

(Retrieved from Santa Barbara International Film Festival:

A diverse group of South African actors tours the war-torn regions of Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia to share their country’s experiment with reconciliation. As they ignite a dialogue among people with raw memories of atrocity, the actors find they must once again confront their homeland’s violent past – and question their own capacity for healing and forgiveness. Featuring never-before-heard original music by jazz legend Hugh Masekela. (Durban Film Festival)

"I am Femen (Je suis Femen)" (2014), directed by Alain Margot is a Social Justice Film from Switzerland which reveals the plight of Ukrainian activist Oksana Shachko.

(Retrieved from Santa Barbara International Film Festival:

Founded in 2008 in Ukraine, Femen is a feminist protest group known for organizing radical, topless protests against patriarchy, sexism, sex tourism and homophobia through Ukraine and across Europe. The controversy that surrounds the group springs mostly from their own protests, but also from the fact that a man formed the group. They also have strange connections to the Fascist Party, Svoboda, and have been criticized for being Islamophobic. I AM FEMEN follows Oxana Shachko, an artist, activist and one of the founding members of Femen, and portrays the hopes, dreams and artistic ambitions of this determined feminist and activist driven by her creative craft. Above all, the documentary is about Oxana’s personal struggle against the objectification of female bodies and the prejudices against Eastern European women. Directed by the Swiss filmmaker Alain Margot, I AM FEMEN is a vibrant and thought-provoking documentary about feminist activists fighting for freedom of speech. (Stockholm Film Festival)

"Sins of a Father" (2015), directed by Andrew Piddington, is a feature film from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.

At the memorial for his father, a WWII hero (Alan Bates), John (Lambert Wilson) confesses a dark family secret to his own son which he has harbored for over twenty years. A very British suspense drama, the likes of which have become wildly popular with American audiences (THE IMITATION GAME, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY), SINS OF A FATHER spans three generations to tell a classic story about the complex nature of heroism, betrayal, and father­?son relationships. A cinematic resurrection of a long?forgotten Alan Bates movie formerly entitled SHUTTLECOCK and based on the Graham Swift novel, the new 2015 feature reunites director Andrew Piddington, producer Graham Leader, and its key stars, and it introduces the striking David Oakes (The Borgias). Everyone joined forces in London in January 2014 to shoot a whole new layer of narrative to integrate into the original film, which tells a three-generational saga of secrets and betrayal, revelation and redemption.

"The Judgment (Sadilishteto)" (2014), directed by Stephan Komandareva, is a feature film from Bulgaria.

(Retrieved from Santa Barbara International Film Festival:

In a small and poor village in Bulgaria, located close to the border with Turkey and Greece, Mityo loses his job and is forced to work for his former commander in order to keep his house and pay his loans. His job is to smuggle illegal immigrants from Syria through the Bulgarian-Turkish border into the EU. Since the death of his wife, the relations between Mityo and his son are strained. The revelation of a terrible secret will force Mityo to face the past, in order to regain his internal peace and find forgiveness from his son.

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