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SBIFF Introduces Ed Program: Stories Matter

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced it is launching a new program, Stories Matter, in partnership with and led by best-selling author, actress, writer and award-winning documentarian, Leslie Zemeckis.

Stories Matter is the inaugural event of what will be a national program; professional writers mentoring underserved women who want/must/need to tell a story. This first event takes place with local Santa Barbara participants. The inaugural program will focus on memoir and biography.

Program participants will receive one on one mentoring with a best-selling author and group support. Works will be published at the end of the 8-week session in Entity Magazine ( online and select stories will also be posted on Entity Magazine’s FB page which has 1M+ followers. At this time, due to COVID-19, all program events will be virtual and held via Zoom.

“Everyone needs the chance to tell their story. I started this program to help empower girls, young women who are so rarely asked what they have to say to find and share their stories, or the stories of their community or ancestors through the written word. It’s a program more about finding your voice than utilizing perfect grammar” said Leslie Zemeckis.

“We are thrilled to partner with Leslie Zemeckis on Stories Matter which will bring important stories and voices to light. Leslie has created a very special opportunity by opening up the world of storytelling and helping guide women to tell their own story. Not only does this introduce a new experience for aspiring writers but it allows women who may not have had the chance, to learn to tell their story their own way and be guided and supported throughout this process” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.


Applications are due on or before Sunday, January 3, 2021. Those selected to participate will be notified via email no later than January 9, 2021. The program will begin January 19, 2021. 

For more program information and the application link, please visit:

Stories Matter:

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization. SBIFF’s mission is to engage, enrich, and inspire people through the power of film, and to make the worlds of film and filmmaking accessible to all. SBIFF celebrates the art of cinema and provides impactful educational experiences for our local, national and global communities.

Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and panels. In addition to the annual festival, SBIFF works year-round to offer a slate of free educational programs that benefit the community, and in 2018, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara to serve as a hub for creativity and learning.

In 2016, SBIFF acquired the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s state-of-the-art, year-round cinematic home, with curated programming showing new international and independent films.

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