We sometimes hear people say “my life is a movie” in order to romanticize the events in their daily lives. While people are rarely serious about the phrase, it may soon be a reality for UCSB students – production is underway for a movie about UCSB’s yearly street festival Deltopia.
What is Deltopia, and Why is A Movie Coming out About it?
UCSB students already know that Deltopia is an annual unsanctioned street festival that occurs in the springtime on Del Playa Drive. Deltopia originated from Floatopia, an enormous yearly beach party that usually involved students making homemade rafts and drinking in the ocean. The first Floatopia occurred as early as the 1980s but the location was eventually moved to dry (well, not really dry) land where it became Deltopia.
As it turns out, Deltopia is notorious across the country. It especially gained publicity after the 2014 festival, when over 100 arrests took place as partying students clashed with police officers. The skirmishes turned violent as students uprooted stop signs, assaulted officers, and were met with tear gas and rubber bullets in response. Since then, Deltopia weekend has been met with increasing caution in the form of ordinances and restrictions imposed on UCSB students and IV residents.
So What Will the Movie Be Like?
Despite using its name, the movie is based only loosely on the events of the real Deltopia. The general plot involves a group of Southern California high schoolers who travel to the Santa Barbara area after graduation for an unforgettable day of partying. The cast includes young stars Madison Pettis, Luna Blaise, and Hart Denton, among others, and the film will be executively produced by Grease’s Olivia Newton-John. The film is currently in post-production but an official release date has not been announced.
Backlash against Deltopia
Some IV residents, particularly the Isla Vista Community Services District, are upset about the movie’s production, concerned that it will draw attention to the notorious 2014 Deltopia and perpetuate negative stereotypes about the Isla Vista community. Isla Vista residents have successfully ended production on movies about Isla Vista before – in 2017, a Change.org petition prevented the completion of the horror movie Del Playa, a film revolving around the 2014 Isla Vista massacre. But despite the letters the IVCSD sent to producers, production for Deltopia is already complete.
How Realistic Will The Movie Be?
In my opinion, Deltopia is going to require quite a bit of Hollywood dramatization in order to make it truly cinematic. While the 2022 Deltopia would likely have been a jaw-dropping experience for most high schoolers (like the characters in the movie), it was pretty mediocre for most of the people I discussed it with. Sweaty bodies, hot sun, and trying desperately not to lose my friends in overcrowded backyards were some of the things that I remember most clearly from that day, and many of my acquaintances recall the same. In other words, Deltopia was basically like any party weekend in IV, except with ten times more partygoers and ten times more emergency vehicles.
I’m sure plenty of UCSB students have movie-worthy recollections from that day, and I’m even more sure that the main characters in Deltopia will be part of a sensationalized story, but perhaps this story only carries a slight resemblance to the lives of most real-life Deltopians. But I guess that still remains to be seen.