By Olivia McCafferty-Cable & Emerson McCafferty-Cable
Thursday, February 2, 2017, was the second night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Denzel Washington received The Maltin Modern Master Award, presented by Fences co-stars, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Saniyya Sidney. At 7:00 P.M., people began to arrive. We were stationed towards the end of the press section, close to the Arlington Theatre doors. When the actors, directors, writers, and producers began to arrive, they walked around outside of the entrance to greet the fans and people passing by, anxiously waiting to see who would arrive, and then walked onto the red carpet to get their pictures taken. After they were interviewed by the big news channels and magazines, they continued walking down the carpet. Some spoke to the rest of the reporters, and others went straight inside.
Our first interview was with the Different Flowers cast. In response to a question about what advice they would give to junior high students about pursuing a career in the film industry, they told us, “You can do it. You can do whatever you set your mind to and you can’t let anybody tell you that you can’t. You know, this was a movie that we put together independently that we put funds together for by crowdsourcing, and I think it’s given a lot of hope to a lot of people to continue on that journey and tell their stories and get involved in a way. You know, it’s that perseverance and working really hard that helps you do that.” Being able to start our evening by talking to them made us feel calm and prepared for what was to come that night.
When talking to Bobbi Jo Hart, the writer and director of Rebels on Pointe. She was very excited to talk to young reporters like us. Again, we asked what her advice would be to students interested in film, and she told us, “Celebrate your differences. Find the people that love you for you, that don’t care whether you dress different or talk different, or whatever. And if people do judge you, then they’re not the people to hang out with, and the sooner you learn that, girls, the better you’re going to be.” She had many interesting things to say to us, and she seemed genuinely happy to answer our questions and to be at the Film Festival.
The next interview we had was with the cast of The Good Catholic. We asked them what the most rewarding part of their jobs were. They responded with, “So we actually did what most people don’t do. We just made a movie with a bunch of our friends. So that’s kind of how we got started with everything…You get to kind of just chase your dreams.” One piece of advice they gave us was, “Everybody will make reasons why something can’t be done, and the way that movies happen and movies get made is by people that step up and are like, ‘I might not necessarily know how to do that, but I’ll figure it out.’”
Once all the actors were done on the red carpet, everyone went inside, but we didn’t get the chance to interview Denzel Washington. One thing he did say, though, was, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Hearing him say this was very encouraging. All in all, it was a very exciting experience to be there and see him in person. We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to see how red carpets work and to speak with other filmmakers. We were very pleased with how the evening turned out and this will be a night we’ll remember forever.