Posted by Larry Gleeson.
Given the tragic mudslide in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area questions were abound. Would the film festival take place? Would it be appropriate given the number of evacuees? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes.
Executive Director of the festival, Roger Durling, explained in his opening remarks why he decided to proceed. Given the state of the Santa Barbara community having the largest wildfire in the history of California inundate the area with smoke and ash for days on end only to have a massive torrential downpour dropping over an inch of rain in in a matter of minutes trigger a deadly mudslide burying residents, destroying property and dislocating its inhabitants, even the Opening Night Film’s Writer/Director/actor Emilio Estevez inquired into the status of his film’s screening.
Sharing personal experience, Roger Durling decided to use the magical power of film to bring a state of healing upon the Santa Barbara/Montecito community. Reading all the deceased victims by name, Mr. Durling, preceded each with ” I wear this turquoise ribbon for,” invoking the color’s properties of clarity, calmness and healing. Coincidentally (or not) the Opening Night Film, the public, touched on themes of clarity, calmness and healing as a group of homeless library patrons occupy a Cincinnati public library on a brutally cold night.
Funding from the evening’s sold out event has been earmarked to support the various educational and community outreach programs the Santa Barbara International Film Festival conducts each year including Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, Apple Box, the Student 10-10-10 Mentorship and Film Competition, the Film Studies Program, and the newest initiative, Summer Film Camp. The 33rd Santa Barbara Film Festival will run through February 10th.