For this 30th year of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival,Tuesday is the new Thursday Moved up two days and extended by one, the 12-day festival looked the same as in years past.
The Arlington Theatre was filled with film lovers and the smell of popcorn.
The streets outside bustled with fans hoping to glimpse a celebrity while searchlights raked the skies, now clear of the storm clouds of the day before.
The stars of the opening night film had come in from places due east, whether that was New York or Europe, or even a little more inland down in Los Angeles. And the consensus was: What a lovely place to have a film festival.
The 30th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival opens tonight for 12 days of celebrities; world premiere films; popular panels on writing, producing and directing; and much more. In a show of its expanding success, the festival now starts two days earlier and ends nearly a week later on a Saturday, a change after many years.
SBIFF as usual has a bevy of Oscar contenders ready to be honored and walk the red carpet, events that cause Santa Barbarans to flood the street outside the Arlington Theatre for a chance to see Hollywood’s best. Honored this year are Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, the Cousteau family, Michael Keaton and a selection of breakthrough actors in the festival’s Virtuosos Award evening.
Starting positions, everyone! The 12th annual 10-10-10 Student Competition kicked off yesterday at a press conference at the Canary Hotel, a day before the 12-day Santa Barbara International Film Festival begins. High school and college students get the span of the festival to shoot and edit a film to be screened on the final day of the film fest, with cash prizes and summer workshop scholarships going to the winners.
This year the competition has brought on a new sponsor, Relativity Education, part of Relativity Media, which is also hosting tonight’s opening film, “Desert Dancer.” According to programmer Mickey Duzdevich, the media company runs a summer workshop for film students and was seeking to partner with a film festival nationwide that ran a similar competition. The sponsorship may continue through the following years with the possibility of equipment loans during the week.
When Eddie Redmayne picks up the phone, he’s got handlers waiting outside, already prepared to take him to rehearsal. He’s had a full morning. On this particular Thursday, Oscar nominations have been announced and his portrayal of astrophysicist and all-around genius Stephen Hawking has earned him a Best Actor nomination and his co-star Felicity Jones, who plays Mr. Hawking’s wife Jane, a Best Actress nomination.
“I was in Los Angeles and asleep and I was woken up with this rapping on the door, and it was my manager at the hotel with a phone with a cacophony of screams from the team of people who have been supporting me for years,” he says. “I went from naught to 100 in the space of three seconds. I’ve been flying on adrenaline ever since.”
Happy 30th birthday Santa Barbara International Film Festival! Now expanded by one full day and moved up to open on a Tuesday, the fest that draws film and movie star lovers from all over keeps getting bigger and better. With 23 world premieres and 53 U.S. premieres, along with loads more films on offer, from shorts to documentaries and back again, it can get quite overwhelming, especially when time is of the essence and major decisions need to be made.
As of this writing, days and times have not been announced, so this is our cursory look at the upcoming line-up of films, section by section, with our favorites based on trailers, director reputation and spidey-sense. From experience, some films at SBIFF never see the light of day in terms of DVD, VOD or streaming after the fest circuit, so we’ve learned not to wait. So let’s get to it!
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off its upcoming 2015 installment two months ahead of time with its annual fundraiser at the Bacara on Sunday. The Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film ceremony honored actress Jessica Lange for her lifetime of work in the movies and did so with a gala dinner, a series of retrospective clips, and celebrity presenters. This was the ninth year for the popular event.
Currently, Jessica Lange is riding a career high as the central character in FX’s award-winning creepshow, “American Horror Story.” Because of its season specific stories, Jessica Lange has played a different character every season, from a spooky neighbor in the first one, to a cruel Mother superior in season two, a supreme witch in season three, and now the leader of a traveling freak zone in the ongoing fourth season. While other actors are resting on their laurels in their 60s, or playing to their familiar strengths, Ms. Lange keeps stretching her abilities, pushing herself to grander and more outré directions. And while Hollywood is having a hard time finding any meaty roles for women these days, Ms. Lange has owned her corner of the television world and won two Emmys.
Director David O. Russell returned to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Friday night after a year’s absence to accept the Outstanding Directing Award.
Last year he arrived first as a panelist, one of six directors talking about their work, his being “Silver Linings Playbook.” Then he was an award giver, descending into the maelstrom of Jennifer Lawrence fandom to present her with an award for her young but stunning career. Read More
One more piece of the puzzle has been placed in Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s award schedule. After the announcements of Oprah Winfrey, Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson and the seven recipients of the Virtuosos Award, the Festival revealed that actor Robert Redford will receive this year’s American Riviera Award.
The 77-year-old actor scored among critics this year with his bravura, one-man survivalist movie “All Is Lost,” about a man trying to save his boat and himself at sea when the hull is ripped open. The sometimes wordless, visceral performance has earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and a Best Actor Oscar nomination may be in the cards, as the SBIFF often serves as a bellwether for award season.
Film actor Forest Whitaker, who stars in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” is to receive this year’s Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, according to an announcement from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
The award will be given at a black-tie gala dinner Dec. 15 at the Bacara.
The 52-year-old actor is best known for his roles in “Platoon,” “Bird,” “The Crying Game,” and “Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.”
His starring role in “The Last King of Scotland,” in which he played Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, earned him his first Oscar for Best Actor. He also was honored for the role at SBIFF in 2007.
On Monday, two Santa Barbara City College filmmakers will be flying out to that most famous and illustrious of cinema events, the Cannes Film Festival.
In a combination of talent and luck, along with hard work, Benjamin Golabre and Gabriella “Gabi” Guillen submitted their film to several fests right after it won at this year’s 10-10-10 student competition at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.