In the years since Sumner resided in the coastal town of Santa Barbara, frequently staring out at the Channel Islands that span the horizon just 20 miles offshore; sometimes visible down to the etched cliffs but usually a vague suggestion at land shrouded in fog. He didn't give their history much thought for many years and busied himself working on reality shows, commercials, and eventually documentaries.
Then in 2010 while testing a underwater camera out at the most frequently accessed island, Santa Cruz. While forty feet below at Little Scorpion Bay, the long arms of a kelp garden ensnared his weight belt and ripped it from his waist, shooting him abruptly to the surface. He ended up in the emergency room the next morning strapped with an oxygen mask. While waiting to see if he had the bends, Sumner started to truly wonder about this place that almost took his life. Thus began his obsession to learn anything he could about the human history of the Channel Islands.
Sumner moved to Santa Barbara in 1996 to attend Brooks Institute of Photography, with an emphasis in cinematography. Getting his start with reality television, Sumner went on to create his own production company, Studio 8 and has worked on several documentaries as a cinematographer, editor, and director. His early credits include ABC’s The Bachelor and WB’s The Living Edge. He also worked on Autograph a documentary series which took him around the world to interview stars such as Ben Kingsley, Janet Leigh, and Michael Caine.
Highlights of his career were filming and editing a PBS documentary entitled Above Yellowstone, the first ever aerial tour of Yellowstone. He also shot and edited Above Santa Barbara and Citizen McCaw a documentary about the future of journalism.
Brent received a Gold Medal at the International Film Awards for both cinematography and editing of a documentary featuring Robert Duvall.
He has serves as a board member of the Santa Barbara Visitor’s Bureau and Film Commission.
Peter S. Seaman is a writer/producer/director with numerous credits from a career spent in the motion picture business. He wrote the romantic comedies Doc Hollywood and Last Holiday, box office hits like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Shrek the Third, and the ground breaking, multiple Academy Award winning Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Seaman (with longtime collaborator Jeffrey Price) received Best Adapted Screenplay nominations from both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for his work on Roger Rabbit. As well, he received a BAFTA Children’s Award nomination for The Grinch.
Seaman has also worked in TV, creating original series as well as writing and directing episodes of Tales From The Crypt.
In 2008, Seaman produced the documentary Citizen McCaw about the upheaval at a Santa Barbara newspaper with, among others, Sam Tyler and Brent Sumner.
A transplanted Chicagoan, Seaman has lived in Carpinteria for 25 years. He’s a graduate of Harvard University and a member of the WGA, the DGA and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He serves as a mentor for young filmmakers at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Tyler’s most recent film (June 2011) is a special for PBS stations titled Above Yellowstone, the first-ever aerial tour of Yellowstone National Park.
He has been involved in creating and producing documentary films since 1983, including specials for PBS on the best-selling business books of the last 30 years:
In Search of Excellence
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Good to Great
Tyler also produced and directed Citizen McCaw, a film about a controversial newspaper publisher in Santa Barbara.
Prior to becoming an independent producer, Tyler was VP for Development at WGBH Boston, one of PBS’ flagship stations, where he was involved in funding programs such as Julia Child’s Kitchen, This Old House, NOVA, and Frontline.
Tyler is also responsible for 30 other video and film projects including the launch of Michael Porter on Competitive Strategy for The Harvard Business School Video Series, which he co-founded, and other PBS films, including The Excellence Files and The Entrepreneurial Revolution.
Tyler is a graduate of Princeton University. He served in the US Marine Corps Reserve. He is on the board of a foundation in Santa Barbara, where he resides.