With a good tube of conditioner, I managed to pull all my Lobitos salt and dirt-infused dreads out of my hair just in time to walk the red carpet at the Arlington Theatre for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival with Johnny Depp last night.

Receiving the festival's highest award, the Maltin Modern Master Award, Johnny was humble on stage as he chatted with the legendary veteran film critic Leonard Maltin about his career of over 40 films, which Johnny apparently never watches after he completes a performance.

"It's true I don't watch them...so you're going to know a lot more about them than me tonight."

Switchboard Media's Double Barrel hosted its first screening later in the evening, just down the road at the Fiesta Theatre, our first look at the film on a professional screen. The film plays again on Sunday at 11am at the Lobero Theatre, and is part of a documentary shorts program Surfing South America, featuring Chris Malloy's documentary on Ramon Navarro, 'The Fisherman's Son.'

It was an honour to walk the red carpet on such a prestigious evening, waddling my way down the gauntlet of cameras and flash photography like a fish gasping for breath out of water. Pulled aside for several TV interviews, one interviewer asked me, "what's it feel like to have your film premiered at the festival?"

"It is an absolute honour," I told her, "to work on a project so close to your heart for two years, through blood sweat and tears and with such an incredible team and amazing support, to then have everyone's work celebrated as a complete package at such a prestigious event here among the best of the best in the industry...it's just very humbling and signifies dreams can come true. I'm so proud of my team they deserve to be here too. This wouldn't be possible without collaboration."

"And what do you hope to achieve for Lobitos from your film?"

"We hope the film brings a wave of change to the region, and inspires a global shift in the way we travel, encouraging people to give back to local communities and leave places better than they found them. At the grassroots level, the film is helping to raise funds for Juntos Por Las Playas del Norte, a project set up by Peruvian surfers to have their breaks and marine environment protected by national law. We hope it can be a blueprint for the rest of the world."

Listening with Johnny talk about his career and how he would refuse to stop wearing a turban on the set of 21 Jump Street to try and get fired so he wouldn't end up "just another cog in the machine", it really hit home how human our Hollywood heroes are, and again the reality that nothing is far from reach if we remain true to our values and go after our dreams.

Double Barrel screens again on Sunday, February 7th at 11am at the Lobero Theatre. Rush tickets for the public will be on sale for $15 before the screening, depending on availability.

The film then returns to Australia, premiering in Byron Bay on February 27th at the Stone and Wood Brewery. Tickets are now on sale and selling fast: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/double-barrel-film-australian-premiere-byron-bay-tickets-20727558686

Contact: angie@switchboardmedia.com.au | dustin@switchboardmedia.com.au