Better Together

Director: Isaac Hernandez
Producer: Nancy Black
Country of Origin: United States

Community Makes the Difference

The response to a horrendous oil blowout fifty years ago in Santa Barbara sparked the modern environmental movement, creating a culture that continues to inspire local solutions to global problems.

The 1969 Union Oil blowout mobilized the Santa Barbara community to fight for the environment, inspiring nonprofit organizations into existence, as well as Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency and the first interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program, at UCSB. The legacy of the oil spill continues to inform this community, which keeps coming together, providing local solutions to global environmental problems; such as when over 3,000 volunteers joined the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to dig the mud from homes after the deadly 2018 debris flow.

Director’s Statement:

This film started as a love letter to Santa Barbara, the community that adopted me. It soon became a personal journey in search of hope in humanity. What I learned along the way made me realize that I have no right to be hopeless, only to continue fighting for a better world, the way the people in the film have for generations.


Isaac Hernandez Isaac Hernandez Poster c3a19e968d-poster Producer: Nancy Black
Executive Producers: Leslie Sweem Bhutani, Lynda Weinman, and Linda & Frederick Gluck
Writer: Isaac Hernandez
Key Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Sylvia Earle, Abe Powell, James “Bud” Bottoms, Thomas Tighe, Kathi King, Sigrid Wright, Paul Ehrlich, Paul Relis, Michael Chiacos, David Pellow, Amanda Pantoja, Michelle Sevilla, Kira Redmond, Linda Krop, Marc McGinnes, Richard Nixon, and Mia Lopez.