The Story Line:
We love a story in which underdogs beat the odds. Our documentary will tell the true story of how a small group of people organized to successfully pass a ballot initiative in 1972 to protect the California coast.
The story of Prop. 20, a landmark of state-level environmental protection, begins with the drama of two disasters. One was the 1969 Santa Barbara oil blowout, caused by a cost-cutting measure in Union Oil’s offshore oil drilling operations, which lead to a fracture of the sea floor. The blowout caused a seemingly endless flow of black oil to wash ashore on the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The oil killed untold numbers of birds, fish and sea mammals, and affected residents enjoyment of their beaches for many years.
The second disaster was a political one. In 1968, the voters in Sonoma County were persuaded by a corporate-financed advertising campaign in the last days before the election to vote against their self-interest and allow a large corporation, Castle & Cook, to cut ten miles of beach from public access in a stretch known as Sea Ranch.
There were many other threats to the coast at the time, such as a plan to turn Highway 1 into a four-lane highway, numerous plans for coastal nuclear power plans, even more plans for high rise hotels, condominiums, marinas and golf courses that threatened to make the beaches available only to the wealthy.
As a result, for three years, the Coastal Alliance tried to push legislation through the state legislature, but failed to make it through the State Senate. The Alliance launched the initiative, qualified it for the ballot through the efforts of hundreds of unpaid signature gatherers, and then successfully campaigned for its passage by voters in 1972, though wildly outspent by commercial interests.
The Prop. 20 victory, which created the California Coastal Commission and lead to passage of the Coastal Act, has kept the California coastline from looking like Miami Beach. Now, 40 years later, those active in the campaign are elderly, or have passed on.
Janet Bridgers, co-founder and president of Earth Alert, www.earthalert.org, has decades of experience in environmental outreach via media. “Environmental issues affect us all, but mainstream media, funded by corporate interests, dissuades many from believing they still have power to protect their most basic needs—clean air, clean water, natural food and beautiful places where stress is relieved by reconnecting with the natural world.
Bridgers, now a filmmaker with four previous documentaries, looks to film and video as the best way to provide teach history. “To piece together a personal perspective on history, with all the cultural and political elements that collide to create it, is now more difficult. School curricula favors science and math over the humanities. While studying science and math are great, those studies don’t inform us on how we became who we are. Many young people today can’t even cite the date of the American Revolution, much less understand how the broad social movements of the 60s and 70s resulted in important legislation that protects us, and must be maintained if not strengthened. I want this documentary to help show that political victories to benefit ordinary people, as well as nonvoters such as children and animals, are possible. If you don’t believe that, you won’t even bother to vote, much less participate in campaigns.”
Toby Younis, who will direct and edit this project, has nearly 40 years experience in freelance photography, cinematography, videography and video production. See more about him at www.videotero.com.
Why Us? Why Now? Why You?
We’ve already created a half hour documentary about the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill that can be viewed at www.storiesofthespill.org.
And over the past eight years, we’ve conducted 35 interviews with coastal activists, several of whom are now deceased. From these, we selected 17 of the best interviews and have more than ten hours of these video interviews posted online at www.heroesofthecoast.com.
We have this historic archive of video interviews already in the can, so much of the work toward a documentary has been done. Now, we have the capability of creating a one-hour documentary for a relatively small amount to pay for writing editing, b-roll and graphics.
If we don’t reach our goal of $10,000, your credit card will not be charged.
We’d can have this documentary finished by November, the 40th anniversary of the passage of Prop. 20, but not without the funds to move quickly, which would be provided by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
"By the way, we're a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your contribution to this project is tax-deductible. So, remember to retain your receipt from Amazon."
- (30 days)