Show’s over . . . for now : Film festival closes in subdued style


Arlington employee Rosanna Ortiz changes out the name of the closing night film of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, marking the end of festivities on Sunday.
MICHAEL MORIATIS / NEWS-PRESS

TED MILLS, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
February 4, 2008 7:24 AM

Rain and thunder ushered in the 23rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival and some 11 days later, rain saw the event out, with only a few days in between letting the sun shine in.
At the fest’s closing night ceremony and film on Sunday night, Executive Director Roger Durling thanked the city of Santa Barbara and everybody else from out of town who attended, and called to the Arlington Theatre stage the entire staff of the festival, including the purple T-shirt-wearing volunteers.
The festival closed with the screening of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Unknown Woman.”
Earlier in the evening, the festival honored 11 films in a subdued awards ceremony hosted by KTYD 99.9 FM’s Julie Ramos.
Audiences selected Michael Parfit’s “Saving Luna,” about the fight to save a lone baby killer whale, as their favorite feature.

SBIFF’s executive director, Roger Durling, brought all the staff and volunteers of the film festival on stage at the Arlington for a big thank-you for all the help they gave during the festival.

A jury of filmmakers and actors, chaired by film editor Dave Stein, decided other films.
The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema went to “Amal,” about an auto rickshaw driver who inherits an estate. Director Richie Mehta received a camera package worth about $60,000.
Tao Ruspoli, who directed the buzz-heavy “Fix” — featured in Saturday’s News-Press — won the Heineken Red Star Award, which honors “the most progressive and gifted independent film director.”
Mr. Ruspoli, one of the few filmmakers available to receive the award in person, gave his thanks in a brief few sentences.
Although director Martin Theo Krieger was not present at the event to accept the Best Foreign Film Award for his feature “Beautiful Bitch,” a representative read what ended up being the longest thank-you speech of the night.
Mr. Krieger wrote of the “big and warm” response he received from the city on his first-ever visit, and how his preconceived notions of “sunny weather and little attention” were both unfounded.
The Nueva Vision Award for best Spanish-language film went to the Cuban film “Le edad de la peseta” (”The Silly Age”), directed by Pavel Giroud.
A film about the painter the Rev. Albert Wagner, “One Bad Cat,” took home The Iconix Video Award for Best Documentary, picked up on stage by Thomas G. Miller.
Two Bruce Corwin Awards for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animation went to Rob Meyer’s “Aquarium” and Joe Tucker’s “For the Love of God.”
The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award went to Anne Slick and Danielle Bernstein’s film about mining in Ecuador, “When Clouds Clear” (”Despues de la Neblina”).
Finally, the 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition, sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty, screened their two winners before the main feature. Both were dramas: Tony Johnson’s “The Apple and the Tree” and Daniel Lahr’s “Metal Detector Man.”
Unlike last year, no red carpet unfurled before the event. Despite this, more than half of the Arlington’s 2,000-plus seats were taken by the time of the final feature.
Mr. Durling appeared unfazed. After five years at the head of the fest he said, “I feel as enthusiastic as the first year.”

©2008 Santa Barbara News-Press

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