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Flying Lessons has been selected to open the Santa Barbara Film Festival






Derek Magyar's feature film debut "Flying Lessons" has been selected as the coveted Opening Night Film for the 25th Anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival which runs February 4-14, 2010.


This World Premiere Film touts a stellar cast which includes Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Christine Lahti, Screen Actors Guild Awards recipient Maggie Grace ("Lost"), Young Hollywood Award winner Jonathan Tucker ("In the Valley of Elah"), critically acclaimed veteran actor Cary Elwes ("A Christmas Carol"), Golden Globe winner Joanna Cassidy ("Buffalo Bill") and Emmy- and Tony-Award winning actor Hal Holbrook ("Into the Wild").


"Flying Lessons" is the intimate story of a 25 year old young woman (Grace) forced to abandon her self- destructive and empty life in L.A. to return to her home town and estranged mother (Lahti).  There she is forced to face the relationships she left behind and the memories that go with them - all the while befriending an elderly man (Holbrook) who teaches her the value of the present which allows her to come to terms with her past.  


"I am truly honored and humbled to have my directorial debut premiere as the opening night gala for SBIFF," says Magyar.  "Not only is Flying Lessons a perfect fit for this festival, but the fact that we shot the entire movie in Santa Ynez Valley, makes it feel like we've come full circle."


Flying Lessons is directed by Derek Magyar from a screenplay by Thomas J. Kuehl.  The film stars Maggie Grace, Christine Lahti, Cary Elwes, Jonathan Tucker, Michael O'Neill, Joanna Cassidy, Rick Gonzalez, Nikki Deloach and Hal Holbrook.  Chris Carter ("X-Files") and Mark Johnson ("Chronicles of Narnia") executive produced and Magyar produced along with Jenny Hinkey ("Boy Culture").  Thomas Kuehl served as co-producer.


The 2010 Santa Barbara International Film Festival will announce the full program for the 25th edition at a press conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2010, at the Hotel Santa Barbara.  For ticket information, contact the SBIFF office, 805-963-0023 or visit

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