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Kimmie Dee

Originally from the Jersey shore, Kimmie Dee is a freelance writer, stand-up comic, producer and promoter of all things funny. She's worked with Paul Provenza and Troy Conrad of the international comedy show SET LIST. Additionally, she's worked with Doug Stanhope, Kira Soltanovich, Rick Overton, Alonzo Bodden and many, many more. She runs her own production company in Santa Barbara, California called NO INDOOR VOICES and holds a monthly writing salon at Granada Books with famous authors, comedians and other funny professional writers. Oh and she has an opinion on everything, well almost. 


The Santa Barbara International Film Festival Kick Off

In recent years Fantasy Football has been catching on at a fever pitch. An Internet thing, you get to pick any player from any team in any position to be on your imaginary fantasy team.

On Thursday, February 4 the Santa Barbara International Film Festival hits the ground running with a line up that only seems possible in a fantasy, Internet or otherwise. Once again, Executive Director Roger Durling has accomplished the seemingly surreal in good ‘gets’ for the festival’s 25th Anniversary.

Opening Night kicks off this eleven day extravaganza with Derek Magyar’s directorial debut, “Flying Lessons,” starring Christine Lahti, Maggie Grace, Jonathan Tucker, Cary Elwes, Joanna Cassidy and Hal Holbrook. This fish out of water story works backwards as the protagonist returns home, a place she’s never been comfortable, to face and deal with relationships she would have been happier leaving behind. Immediately following the film, head down to the Paseo Nuevo mall for a kick ass party sponsored by Ugg Australia, Studio 7 and Coca-Cola.

But wait, there’s more!

That’s only the beginning. Next up on Friday, February 5th will be Sandra Bullock accepting this year’s American Riviera Award for recognition of an actor with a strong influence on American Cinema presented by Chopin. After her breakout performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blindside, for which she’s already won a Critic’s Choice Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role. Because of her versatility her impact on American films has been relentless. We’ve watched Bullock grow from that adorable bus driver in Speed to a force to be reckoned with in The Blindside and we’ve loved her every step of the way.

Saturday night, February 6th will be a ‘knocked-out-of-the-park’ kind of night as Lucky Brand sponsors the Modern Master Award honoring the incomparable James Cameron, moderated by Leonard Maltin. One of the festival’s highlights for sure. And for those of you who can’t get enough, be sure to get your tickets now for the Directors Panel, as Cameron will also be one of the panelist on hand. (More to come on that.)

And speaking of homeruns, acting legend Stanley Tucci, one of this year’s Cinema Vanguard honorees, will be in conversation after a special presentation of “The Lovely Bones.” Due to scheduling conflicts, Tucci begins rehearsals for the revival of Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor,” also Tucci’s Broadway directorial debut, so we get him for one night all to ourselves. Talk about fantasy! How great is that?!

On Sunday, February 7th the Chopin Virtuosos 2010 Awards, created to recognize a dynamic group of actors with distinguishing breakout performances of the past year, will go to Emily Blunt for “The Young Victoria,” Carey Mulligan “An Education,” Saoirse Ronan “The Lovely Bones,” Michael Stuhlbarg “A Serious Man,” and Gabourey Sidibe “Precious.” Gabby will be honored with her “class,” but will receive her award on February 12th with the Cinema Vanguard honorees because she‘s got a plate full on the 7th. So, you’ll just have to buy tickets to both events, well worth it, I assure you.

This Just In!

Kathryn Bigelow has not only been named Outstanding Director of the Year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, she is also the first woman to win top honors from the Directors Guild of America for “The Hurt Locker,” beating out Quentin Tarantino, Jason Reitman, Lee Daniels, and James Cameron. See what I mean about fantasies being a running thread in this year’s fest?

Be sure to catch this amazing director in conversation on Monday, February 8th as the festival presents “A Celebration of Kathryn Bigelow,” followed by a retrospective of her work.

“The Cove” will be awarded the David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking on Wednesday February 10th. Filmmaker Mike DeGruy will moderate a conversation with Director Louie Psihoyos and

Ric O’Barry, a dolphin trainer who captured and trained dolphins for the acclaimed television series. After a change of heart, O’Barry set out on an adventure of redemption. Discover man’s impact on nature from both sides of the spectrum with this unprecedented film.

When it comes to a body of work that sets an artist apart, Julianne Moore is one of the first names that come to mind and she is this year’s recipient of the Montecito Award, presented to an actor whose career is filled with one sublime performance after another. The tribute will take place on Thursday, February 11th.

In the same vein with sublime performances comes recognition through the Cinema Vanguard Awards being held on Friday, February 12th. These awards honor artists whose choices carve a fierce and fearless swath of unforgettable performances that range from comic to diabolical. This year’s recipients are Vera Farmina “Up In The Air,” Peter Sarsgaard “An Education,” Stanley Tucci “The Lovely Bones,” and Christoph Waltz “Inglourious Basterds.”

Not to be missed is the handsomely elegant Colin Firth who’ll be in attendance on Saturday, February 13th to receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award. As if I have to say anything more? This incredible, understated performance in Tom Ford’s directorial debut, “A Single Man,” is flawless and so contained is his emotional rage you can’t help but ache for him as he portrays a character whose overwhelming grief brings him to plan out his own demise with intricate detail.

Closing the festival is a One-Two punch of excellence. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with Santa Barbara’s own Jeff Bridges. If I didn’t love his wife Susan so much, he’d have a stalker on his hands! But I digress. In the YouTube age, Bridges performance in “Crazy Heart” feels more like a voyeuristic look into the intimate details and insight to the machinations of a personal life, rather than a cinematic experience. A performance so raw and rich, you can almost smell the smoke and booze that define this character as well as his flaws. Come early to see “The Last Picture Show,” “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” “Starman” and “The Contender.” Bridges himself will appear for a conversation, followed by a screening of “Crazy Heart.”

Closing night proves to button the incredible eleven days of head spinning events with the world premiere of George Gallo’s “Middle Men.” The all star cast of Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, Jacinda Barrett, Gabriel Macht, James Caan, Kelsey Grammar and Kevin Pollak reads like a Who’s Who with Ribisi, Wilson, Barrett and Macht in attendance as well as the director, George Gallo himself. The film follows the Jack Harris, an Internet pioneer who wrestles morals and the struggles that brings. Festivities to immediately follow.

And this doesn’t even come close to covering all the festival has to offer. There are the panel discussions, the competitions, the films themselves … you know the main reason for a film festival. Keep close watch as I release more information on the events, the films, the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes of the fest and so much more!!

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