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Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Halfway Through, All the Way There-Oscar Nominated Animated Short Filmmakers Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter

  The journey may not yet even be half over, but Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are already nearing a creative summit of sorts.  Eight months into what has already been an extensive, awards-filled festival run with no foreseeable end on the horizon, the couple’s animated short “Negative Space” was recently nominated for an Oscar in that category by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  "Negative Space" filmmakers Ru Kuwahata and Ma...

THE CHALLENGE documentary - Father of the Year Brings Light to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Surely all parents have a deep love for their children. Alex Smith has something even more, or perhaps he is just more capable of showing that love. On Friday at the Santa Barbara Film Fest I went to see THE CHALLENGE, a documentary directed by Peter Williams out of the UK. In the story, Alex Smith trains for and competes in an Ironman, an incredible feat. As if that's not enough for a story on its own, Smith is doing it with his son Harrison in tow, all to raise awareness for a fatal ver...

Robert Redford and Film Independent President Josh Welsh on the Continuing Rise of Independent Filmmaking (Second of Two Parts)

By Mike Takeuchi The Film Independent’s 29th Annual Spirit Awards will be held on Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica.  Hosted by Patton Oswalt, the Spirit Awards will be televised later that evening on the Independent Film Channel (IFC).  Check your local listings for showtimes.                                                         ...

CROSSTOWN World Premiere in Santa Barbara, Directed by Miriam Kruishoop

  Some movies are important. Some movies are really good. Miriam Kruishoop’s Crosstown is both. Last week the film had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. It is the story of an illegal immigrant family in LA. I sighed in exasperation, I got the chills, I cried. I have not been this moved by a film since seeing Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere last summer. "Crosstown is a story about two marginalized families dealing with the brutal realities about what ...

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Wraps

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The 28th Annual SBIFF came to a close on Sunday, February 3rd. 

The 11 day festival screened nearly 200 hundred films, hosted various Academy Award nominees and brought out the latest creative forces in independent films, world wide.

 In an assembly such as this, the genre's were eclectic from sexual adventures (An Awkward Sexual Adventure) to meditation (Retreat), extreme sports (Discovering Mavericks) to nature (Revolution).  Features and shorts, both live and animated fille...

Writers Panel @ Santa Barbara Int’l Film Fest

  Saturday in Santa Barbara writers of the year's prominent movies gathered to talk in the annual “It Starts with the Script” panel. In attendance were Stephen Chbosky: "Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Roman Coppola: “Moonrise Kingdom,” John Gatins: “Flight,” Rian Johnson: “Looper,” and David Magee: of “Life of Pi.” I love film festivals for these kinds of events that let us in; so close to the perspectives of peop...

Martin Scorsese at 27th Santa Barbara Int'l FIlm Fest

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Martin Scorsese was honored Monday night at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Sir Ben Kingsley was in attendance as well, to award Scorsese with the American Riviera Award. Here are some tidbits from the gentle evening in Santa Barbara paradise, 90 miles outside of Los Angeles. Upon the stage before Scorsese came on moderator Leonard Maltin said,  "I like to talk to a man who likes to talk." Soon enough I realized how TRUE this is about the greatest living ...

Santa Barbara Int'l Film Fest 27: Writers Panel

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                                My experience of the Santa Barbara International FIlm Festival began Saturday morning at the Lobero Theatre with JC Chandor (Margin Call), Tate Taylor (The Help), Jim Rash (Descendents) Will Reiser (50/50), and Mike Mills (Beginners). The artists spoke passionately & candidly about their writin...

Harrison Ford To Be Honored In Santa Barbara

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  Indiana Jones himself will be on the scene when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present its fifth annual Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film to legendary actor/producer Harrison Ford. The black-tie Gala, which serves as a fundraiser for the Festival will take place at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara on Friday, November 19. Ford, one of the planet's biggest stars for more than 3 decades, has made an astonishing 43 feature films, 12 of which hav...

The Global Film Village: Sandra Bullock Honored at 2010 Santa Barbara Film Festival

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Friday night Sandra Bullock received the  25th Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s  American Riviera Award presented by Forest Whitaker on behalf of Chopin Vodka.  The award was established to recognize an actor who has had a strong influence on American Cinema.  Bullock has recently won the Golden Globe and SAG awards for Best Actress. The tribute was moderated by Pete Hammond, Film Critic for Box Office and a columnist for the LA Times-Envelope.   ...

The Global Film Village: Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland

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by Marla Lewin                    photo from "Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland"Just days after Dr. Conrad Murray surrendered to the Superior court in Los Angeles, where he was arraigned on one count of felony involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson there is  a new film being screened at  the 2010 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The world premiere of the feature documentary “Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland”  by ...

10-10-10

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It goes something like this. Seven years running, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has made dreams come true with a themed student competition that pairs industry professionals with student filmmakers. Appropriately, this year’s theme is Twenty-Five. Final Draft and Business First Bank sponsored the competition with The Riordan Foundation providing a grant. To start, both high school and college student writers submit a ten page sample of their best work be it sta...

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

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          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"), Youn...

Standout performers to be honored at Santa Barbara

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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival continues its tradition of honoring the year's standout performers by presenting The 2010 Chopin Virtuosos Award to Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Stuhlbarg, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.  The Award presentation, sponsored by Chopin Vodka, will take place Sunday, February 7 at the Lobero Theatre at the 25th edition of the festival, which runs February 4-14, 2010.   The ...

Santa Barbara FF Filmmaker Awards

 Wednesday, February 6----------While such mega-watt movie stars as Angelina Jolie, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones steal much of the limelight in the media coverage of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the true heart of the event are the American indie and international films that the festival showcases. More than 70,000 visitors (a record number) came out for the mix of glamour and discovery in one of America's most beautiful festival venues. So, for the record, the winners of...

Angelina Jolie Receives Outstanding Performance of the Year Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

  “I think this is the most important role of my life,” Angelina Jolie remarked upon playing Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart. Pearl is the famous widow of fellow Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed by terrorists in Pakistan. Pearl’s heart is mighty indeed, as the clips shown in Jolie’s conversation with film critic Pete Hammond reveal.   She graciously accepted the award presented by renowned actor and director Clint Eastwood. The two praised each other...

Tommy Lee Jones Receives American Riviera Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

              Prolific actor Tommy Lee Jones can't name his favorite film role. “I don't think that way,” he answered while he strolled down the evening's red carpet with a bit of a grin. He's a professional, he states, working at whatever role he finds himself in. During the discussion and movie clip viewing, Jones was intense. He leaned forward to raptly watch the film clips and sat on the edge of his seat to dicuss reading every...

Javier Bardem Receives Montecito Award at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

After Javier Bardem received the Montecito Award, a long-time Santa Barbara tradition. Montecito is the town just south of Santa Barbara on the 101, most of it tucked within hills and behind trees, a playground with class.   Javier Bardem has class and piercing eyes, and good looks that often get masked behind the intense roles he plays, and the dizzying variety in his body of work. He’s Spanish, from Madrid (where he walks everywhere and doesn’t have to drive a car—so he doesn’t drive)...

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