New Documentary Explores over 13,000 Years of Human History

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Date: February 16, 2016
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Channel Islands National Park invites the public to explore over 13,000 years of human history on the Channel Islands at the March 6 premiere of the new documentary, West of the West: Tales from California's Channel Islands, in downtown Ventura.

Produced by Sam Tyler and written and directed by Peter Seaman and Brent Sumner, the documentary provides an in-depth look into fourteen intriguing stories of island inhabitants, ranging from the first contact between Spanish explorers and the Island Chumash to the National Park Service's efforts to restore the islands' ecosystems.

Sumner, the film's cinematographer, came up with the idea for the film in 2010, after reading several books on the Channel Islands during his recovery from a serious dive accident that occurred off of Santa Cruz Island. He uncovered many compelling stories and coaxed Tyler, a former PBS producer, and Seaman, a Hollywood screenwriter, into donating their time and talent to create the documentary.

The filmmaking process was intensive, with nearly 80 days of filming over three years, extensive research, and dozens of interviews with scientists, historians, island dwellers, park rangers, representatives from Native American cultures, and others.

The full documentary, which will be available in three, one-hour parts, will be available to view on public television in April 2016. It has been condensed into a 110-minute version for the premiere in Ventura.

The Ventura premiere will take place on March 6, at the Century 10 Theater in downtown Ventura, and admission to the four screenings –12:00, 2:30, 5:00, and 7:45 pm –is free. There will be a Q&A session with the filmmakers following the 5:00 pm screening.

Free tickets for the Ventura premiere are available any day through March 4, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, at the Channel Islands National Park visitor center in the Ventura Harbor. Any remaining tickets will be available on a first come, first serve basis at the park's check-in table at the event. Tickets will not be distributed at the Century 10 Theater box office.

The full, three-hour documentary is premiering at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on March 5 and 6, with tickets still available for the Sunday showing at 7:00 pm. Tickets are on sale at the Arlington Theatre Box Office or by calling 805-963-4408.

The Ventura film premiere is sponsored by Channel Islands Park Foundation and Channel Islands National Park. This event is one of many celebrations for the National Park Service Centennial, which honors 100 years of sharing America's treasures.

West of the West: Tales from California's Channel Islands is presented by the Santa Cruz Island Foundation and Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. To learn more about the film, filmmakers, and story angles, visit

The venue for the documentary premiere of West of the West: Tales from California's Channel Islands has been generously provided by the City of Ventura, in partnership with Cinemark Century Theaters. This event is part of several celebrations for the 150th anniversary for the City of Ventura. To learn more, visit

Last updated: December 28, 2017

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