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Santa Barbara celebration of the 20th anniversary


Santa Barbara, CA – Star power and a slew of notable films combined to create a year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival worthy of a platinum celebration. The 20th anniversary of the Fest was marked by ten days filled with more than 140 films, five panel discussions, four award events, and a smattering of “Conversations With” actors, all drawing crowds of film fans and stargazers into the community.

“This year’s program was unbelievable. We worked hard to bring a diverse selection of films and special events to this year’s Fest and I’m thrilled with the outcome. I was excited before the Festival began, but the past ten days have exceeded my expectations,” said Artistic Director Roger Durling.

The ten-day program included four tributes to Kevin Bacon (Riviera Award),
Academy Award® nominees Annette Bening (Montecito Award), Leonardo DiCaprio (Platinum Award), and Kate Winslet (Sapphire Inspired Award). Additionally Sir David Attenborough was recognized for his life’s work as a pioneer in the field of nature filmmaking. This year saw the addition of the “Conversation With” series and welcomed a number of actors for question and answer sessions following screenings. Paul Giamatti, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Thomas Hayden Church shared their experiences with audiences during the “Conversation With” series. Question and Answer sessions were conducted with Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, David Duchovny, Dave Barry and John Cleese.

The popularity of the Festival’s panel discussions continued this year, starting with the “Movers and Shakers” panel, which welcomed producers to discuss their craft. Moderated by Variety’s Deputy Editor, Elizabeth Guider, the panel included Stuart Benjamin (“Ray”), Lee Daniels (“The Woodsman”), Richard Gladstein (“Finding Neverland”), Graham King (“The Aviator”), Michael London (“Sideways”), Michael Nozik (“Motorcycle Diaries”), and John Walker (“The Incredibles”).

Next was “It Starts With the Script,” the popular screenwriters panel, moderated by AMPAS President Frank Pierson. Participants include Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”), Zach Braff (“Garden State”), Bill Condon (“Kinsey”), Julie Delpy (“Before Sunset”), Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby”), Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), John Logan (“The Aviator”), Jose Rivera (“Motorcycle Diaries”), and Jim Taylor (“Sideways”).

Female power players from the industry gathered for “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz,” moderated by Variety’s Madelyn Hammond. The discussion stayed lively with participants Colleen Atwood (costume designer, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”), Karen Baldwin (producer, “ Ray”), documentary filmmaker Candice Schermerhorn and Virginia Madsen (actress, “Sideways”).

The insights continued during the Fest’s second weekend with “Directors on Directing.” Moderated by producer and co-host of AMC’s “Sunday Morning Shootout” Peter Guber, the panelists included first-time directors through those with experience under their belts. Alejandro Amenebar (“The Sea Inside”), Jeff Arch (“Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys”), Kevin Bacon (“Loverboy”),Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”), Luis Mandoki (“Innocent Voices”), Joel Schumacher (“Phantom of the Opera”) and Michael Traeger (“The Moguls”).

“Scoring the Film,” moderated by film critic and KUSC Radio host Jim Svejda included composers John Debney (“The Passion of the Christ”), Michael Giacchino (“The Incredibles”), Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (“Finding Neverland”), Rolfe Kent (“Sideways) and Mark Mothersbaugh (“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”) and Aaron Zigman (“The Notebook”).

The Future of Nature Filmmaking: Classic or New Wave allowed filmmakers to discuss world oceans, their art and dramatic new changes in the business of making nature films. The panel included Thom Beers, Howard Hall, Michelle Hall, Michael Hanrahan, Bruce Reitherman and was moderated by Mike deGruy,

Award winners and stalwart industry giants graced the normally peaceful streets of Santa Barbara, starting with the opening night film, a special preview of Woody Allen’s “Melinda and Melinda.” The Centerpiece film, “Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys,” filmed by local director, Jeff Arch offered comedic relief and the Fest finished with “The Moguls,” starring local favorite, Jeff Bridges, for the closing night film.

Enhancing a long list of film events, the 10-10-10 Sotheby’s International Realty Student Filmmaker Competition enabled one each of a Santa Barbara high school and college students to vie for a $3,000 equipment scholarship.

Sidebars were back, celebrating extreme sports, Cult Asian films and Latin films. The To The Maxxx sidebar showcased talent in action sports filmmaking. The Cult Asian sidebar saw the Festival collaborate with local actor/director/producer Tim Matheson (National Lampoon’s Animal House, The West Wing) in assembling a collection of pictures from today’s leading Asian filmmakers. Latino CineMedia was first inaugurated into the Festival last year with tremendous support. This year the CineMedia section was comprised of 20 films in both feature and documentary categories with 11 competing in the Latin American category.

Talent graced many of the screenings, events and festivities throughout the Fest, including Martin Scorsese, Jeff Bridges, Paul Giamatti, Paul Reiser, Christopher Lloyd, Jane Russell, Ivan Reitman, Brooke Smith, Radha Mitchell, Martin Landau, Jason Lee, Martin Gore, Michael Keaton, Leonard Maltin, Perry Lang, Kelly Ward, Andy Davis, Deandra Douglas, Harry Hamlin, Robert Carradine, Mark Hamill, Pete Hammond, Carlos Ponce, Lochlyn Munro, Lindsey Wagner, Linda Gray, Don Hertzefeld, Tim Blake Nelson, Joey Pantaliono, Ted Danson, Richard Harris, Jane Lynch, Cheri Oteri, Michael Panes, John Hawkes and Bo Derek.

Dedicated to the art of filmmaking, the SBIFF offers a broad array of international and independent films, with a commitment to diversity. It attracts more than 40,000 visitors each year. As the festival begins its 20th year, the SBIFF endeavors to enrich the community both culturally and economically by presenting ten days of films, seminars, symposiums and parties! More than 140 films from American Independents to major studio releases, to award-winning foreign films and international documentaries, cinephiles have the opportunity to discover mainstream and alternative films, as well as meet the filmmakers and talk with them after screenings. Log onto for more information.

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