Nancy Black

Over 25 years in media and publishing

Nancy Black's latest activity
published Better Together Trailer in Blog 2020-02-02 22:50:24 -0800


Fifty years ago an oil spill united a community and changed the world

The 1969 Union Oil blowout mobilized the Santa Barbara community to fight for the environment, inspiring the creation of many nonprofit organizations, 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 including climate change, exemplified when over 3,000 volunteers joined the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to dig mud from homes after the deadly 2018 debris flow. "Better Together" was directed by Isaac Hernandez and produced by Nancy Black of Mercury Press International. This feature documentary (RT 47 m) was officially selected for World Premiere by Santa Barbara International Film Festival, followed by selection at Bozeman Film Celebration (where it was a Finalist for the Ted Turner Prize for Environmental Stewardship), LA Femme Film Festival (Finalist for the Best Special Focus Documentary), and Santa Barbara Surf Film Festival (Environmental Showcase Feature). The film won the Santiago Independent Film Award (August 2019). Upcoming screenings include San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Nature Track Film Festival and Earth Day Film Festival. 

published "Better Together" for Earth Day 2020 in Blog 2020-02-02 22:35:03 -0800

"Better Together" for Earth Day 2020


Better Together

Fifty years ago an oil spill united a community and changed the world forever

Christopher Lloyd narrates Better Together, a feature documentary about how one community keeps coming together through oil spills, fires, mudslides and the future challenges of a changing climate.

Upcoming screenings include:

Earth Day Film Festival, Chico, CA (March 12 - 19) 

"Better Together" FB event for Earth Day Film Festival, Chico, CA, March 12 - 19

Earth Day Film Festival Official Selection Laurels 

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, SLO, CA (March 17 - 22)


Nature Track Film Festival, Los Olivos, CA (March 20 - 22)

Better Together, narrated by Christopher Lloyd ("Back to the Future", "Over the Garden Wall"), is a celebration of the power of community to affect lasting positive change. Focused on the Santa Barbara oil blowout, this coastal community has pioneered environmental laws and policies to protect water, air, soil and living creatures... including each other. We're better together. 


The catastrophic effects of four million gallons of oil spilling on the ecologically rich Santa Barbara Channel for most of 1969 changed Santa Barbara forever, and ignited a global shift that resulted in new laws and protections for environmental health. Through the years, the community has continued to come together in the face of disasters.

This 47-minute documentary covers community response from that 1969 oil spill across five decades to the devastating 2018 Montecito debris flow, and the community-generated response to climate change. 

The effects of the 1969 oil blowout were felt across the world, inspiring Earth Day, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

Better Together features an array of local activists, including Direct Relief’s President and CEO Thomas Tighe, as well as California thinkers and scientists like oceanographer Sylvia Earle, Paul Ehrlich (author of The Population Bomb) and Solution Project’s founder Mark Jacobson.

Santa Barbara is rich with community organizations, several of them like the Community Environmental Council, the Environmental Defense Center, and the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, were born directly out of the 1969 oil spill. They are featured in Better Together alongside the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and many others. The newest of these organizations is the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, which has gathered over 3,000 volunteers to dig homes and trees out of the mud. It was born, coincidentally, on the 49th anniversary of the oil blowout.

Director Isaac Hernández (Madrid, Spain) offers a poetic and hopeful look at what’s possible at a global level through local action, featuring many solutions generated in Santa Barbara, from the birth of curbside recycling to the first microgrid in the continental United States at Direct Relief’s headquarters.

Funding was provided in part by Bobbie and Gerry Rubin. Executive Producers include Lynda Weinman (Diving Deep, 2019; The Tale, 2018; Unrest, 2017), Leslie Bhutani (Lutah, 2014) and Linda & Frederick Gluck. 

Better Together was the Environmental Showcase Film at the Santa Barbara Surf Film Festival (November 2019), won the Best Documentary Feature at the Santiago Independent Film Awards (August 2019), and was a finalist for the Best Environmental Documentary at LA Femme International Film Festival (October 17-20, 2019). It was also a finalist for the Ted Turner Prize and official selection for the 2019 BZN Film Celebration (September, 2019) and the 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (February, 2019), where it held its World Premiere. 


About the director

Isaac Hernández came to America from Madrid, Spain to study film at Brooks Institute of Photography. His career took him into photography, journalism, painting and writing plays, before returning to produce short films for nonprofits, and finally directing his first feature.

He’s working on a memoir about the impact of censored American films during his childhood in Franco’s Spain, and thinking about his next film.

About the producer

Nancy Black was president of the Pesticide Awareness and Alternatives Coalition that successfully campaigned to reduce the use of pesticides in public parks and schools. She serves on the board of The Israel Palestine Project, Committees for Land, Air Water and Species (CLAWS), and Gaviota Coast Conservancy. 

About Mercury Press International

When Nancy Black and Isaac Hernández met in 1991, they had a dream to make films together. They founded an animation company which evolved into Mercury Press International, and went on to publishing stories and photographs in over 300 publications in 27 countries, including Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, ESPN, Focus, Stern and USA Today. Now they produce books (including In Love With Earth by environmental elder Marc McGinnes, which chronicles some of the stories in the film Better Together), documentary films and journalistic videos for nonprofits (clients include United Way, Direct Relief, Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, Tri-Counties Regional Center, CALM, and UCSB Arts & Lectures). 

Twitter @B2getherFilm



Better Together Media Kit


Directed by

Isaac Hernandez

Produced by

Nancy Black 

Executive Producers 

Leslie Sweem Bhutani

Lynda Weinman 

Linda and Frederick Gluck

Director of Photography 

Isaac Hernandez 


Isaac Hernandez 

Associate Producer

Zegar Family Fund

Music by

Sheena Birrittella


Funded in part by

Bobbie and Gerry Rubin


Featuring (in order of appearance)

Thomas Tighe

Kathi King

Miguel Zepeda-Rosales

Lynn Kirst

Rick Stein


Linda Eckerbom Cole

Abe Powell

Linda MacNeil

Janna Molder

Liz Beebe

Sofia Arabella Martin

Ashlee Mayfield

Robert H. Sollen

James "Bud" Bottoms

Linda Krop

Paul Relis

Marc McGinnes

Barry Capello

Sylvia Earle

Roderick Frazier Nash

President Richard Nixon

Selma Rubin

Francis Sarguis

Michael Lunsford

Lee Heller

Lee Moldaver

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson

Kira Redmond

Glenn Russell

Elaine Ibarra

Mia Lopez

Paul Ehrlich

Michelle Sevilla

David Pellow

Marc Chytilo 

Katie Davis

Mark Jacobson

Michael Chiacos

Amanda Pantoja

Sigrid Wright



Isaac Hernández



Heather Smith Wennergren

Jon Zuber

Nancy Black


First Camera Operator

Isaac Hernández


Second Camera Operator

Jon Zuber


Selma Interview

Susan Epstein

Jon Zuber

David Cowan


First Assistant Editor

Heather Smith Wennergren


Assistant Editor

Jon Zuber


Sound Engineer

Nicholas Dobbie


Assistant Sound Engineer

Aishwarya Raju



"Better Together" © Jack Johnson/Brushfire Records/Universal Music

"O" © Emiliano Campobello

"Elk Prayer" © Emiliano Campobello and Kevin Donoho

published Volunteer 2019-11-05 09:02:21 -0800
published Contact 2019-11-05 09:01:36 -0800
published Poster in Blog 2019-10-10 20:22:50 -0700
published LA Femme International Film Festival in Blog 2019-10-10 20:15:32 -0700

"Better Together" at LA Femme International Film Festival

LA Femme International Film Festival banner logo

October 18 at 2 pm

Regal Theater, LA Live (1000 W. Olympic Blvd, LA, CA 90001)

Fifty years ago an oil spill united a community and changed the world

Christopher Lloyd narrates Better Together, a feature documentary about how a small beach community learned to keep coming together through oil spills, fires, mudslides and the future challenges of a changing climate.

Watch the Trailer

Read more
published Blog 2019-11-05 08:53:31 -0800


Posted by · February 02, 2020 10:50 PM

"Better Together" for Earth Day 2020
Posted by · February 02, 2020 10:35 PM

Posted by · October 10, 2019 8:22 PM

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