The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival Kicks Up Its Heels With A BUMP ALONG THE WAY

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is underway. An at-capacity Arlington Theatre audience ushered in the January 15-25 Phase Two Oscar Campaign film festival. In traditional fashion, The Mayor of Santa Barbara, Cathy Murillo (pictured above) made opening remarks and hinted of the magic about to unfold in the Opening Night film, A BUMP ALONG THE WAY, making its U.S. premiere at SBIFF. With her promise to sprinkle pixie dust into the air before introducing SBIFF Executive Director, Roger Durling.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Executive Director, Roger Durling, delivers Opening night remarks for the festival’s 35th edition on January 15th, 2020, at the historic Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

Without further adieu, Durling entering from stage left strutted to center stage and delivered eloquent remarks on his love of cinema, its unabashed inclusiveness, sense of community, and educational properties of the festival today. SBIFF began in 1986 as an economic venture. One of the community-building moments under Durling’s direction is pausing his remarks so audience members can spend a moment introducing and bonding with a before-unknown cinephile friend. In addition, a strong thank you to the festival volunteers, the backbone of the in-festival mode of operations, and to the Manitou Fund for its generous support in equipping several viewing screens with the  OTOjOY hearing loop technology.

Seemingly, with the pixie dust taking effect, Durling expounded on a 1986 cinema experience with his close friend, socially incapacitated with facial lesions. From this moment and similar experiences, a revelation of cinema as a great equalizer full of wonder, curiosity, hope, and positive expectation unfolded. With that, a vivacious Irish woman (a bonafide Derry girl), Bronagh Gallagher, took stage alongside Durling to introduce the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Opening night film, A BUMP ALONG THE WAY.

Bronagh Gallagher, right, lead actress, of the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Opening night film, A BUMP ALONG THE WAY, took stage alongside festival director, Roger Durling, on January 15th, 2020, at the historic Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Babara, Calif. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson).



Captivating the audience with her powerful presence and equally powerful Irish brogue voice, Gallagher informed the audience of the all-female film department heads involved in the film’s production. The audience responded with a resounding chorus of applause and rounds of laughter as the lead actress exuberantly expressed how proud she felt representing the women of Derry, Ireland, with the emotionally compelling film and that if she didn’t get a picture at of the full house she’d “never be allowed back into Derry.” With that, the lights went down and the 35th Santa Barbara Film Festival was underway.

Bump Along The Way
A BUMP ALONG THE WAY, a female-led, feel-good, comedy-drama set in Derry, Northern Ireland, about a middle-aged woman whose unexpected pregnancy after a one-night stand acts as the catalyst for her to finally take control of her life and become the role model her teenage daughter needs and craves, served as the Opening Night film for the 35th Santa barbara International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of SBIFF)

Following the film, the Opening Night Gala was held in the beautiful outdoor Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara featuring entertainment, food, libations, while celebrating the start of the 35th SBIFF.

Sat tuned for more as the festival runs through January 25th!

While quantities are running low, some tickets and passes are still available HERE. Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!







Posted by Larry Gleeson

Santa Barbara, CA: The Santa Barbara International Film Festival with the generous support of the Manitou Fund announced today that it has permanently equipped all four Metro 4 Theatres and two screens at Fiesta 5 Theatres with state of the art OTOjOY hearing loop technology, just in time for the 35th annual Film Festival.

All SBIFF auditoriums including The Lobero, Arlington and Riviera Theatres now proudly provide the hearing loop system. SBIFF values diversity and inclusion, and this project enriches access for the community permanently, providing a quality theatre-going experience for all.

At the historic Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara, Calif., the Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced, with the generous support of the Manitou Fund, it  permanently equipped The Metro 4 and two Fiesta 5 screens with state of the art OTOjOY hearing loop technology, for the 35th annual Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

A hearing loop system is an assistive listening technology that sends audio wirelessly to a patron’s hearing aids or cochlear implant/s. The loop provides clean sound, minimizes background noise, and eliminates the need for a separate receiver or headset. It can be accessed by any number of users and by anyone with a compatible, telecoil-enabled hearing device.  When combined with a loop receiver, this technology can also assist people who do not wear a hearing device to improve the clarity of speech and sound. With the direct wireless connection, individuals with hearing loss don’t need to borrow or return equipment from the venue. Loops provide discreet communication access for people with hearing loss and greater inclusion in public events.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, approximately 23% of the U.S. population over the age of 12, more than 60 million people, have some degree of hearing loss.

“Part of our mission is to make the world of film and filmmaking accessible to everyone, so we are incredibly proud to partner with the Manitou Fund on this project,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

“Creating more hearing-friendly venues allows people with hearing loss to participate fully in the community. Every new hearing loop increases access for people with hearing loss and enhances our nation’s accessibility infrastructure,” says Barbara Kelley, Executive Director of Hearing Loss Association of America. “HLAA applauds the work of the Manitou Fund and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to equip area theaters with looping systems.”

 “Accessing hearing assisting loop technology is a game-changer for not only the hard of hearing but for anyone who wishes to enjoy the best hearing experience possible in a looped venue,” shares Nora McNeely Hurley of the Manitou Fund. “Hearing loops have improved my quality of life profoundly and I hope that others will discover the exciting benefits of accessing Telecoil loop technology via personal hearing devices. Ask your audiologist and/or theater manager for ways by which you can get in the loop!”

Manitou Fund is dedicated to enriching the lives of people through financial support that enhances and sustains the beauty and importance of Nature, the Arts, Humanities, Health, and Education.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 34 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 95,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community throughout many free educational programs and events. In 2016, SBIFF acquired the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s state-of-the-art, fully accessible, year-round home and Santa Barbara’s year-round arthouse theater. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs.


(Source: Press release from SBIFF’s Tyler Carr)


SBIFF OPENING NIGHT FILM Presented by UGG® US Premiere of “A Bump Along The Way”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Arlington Theatre
Santa Barbara, CA


Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Following the Opening Night Film
Paseo Nuevo
Santa Barbara, CA

SBIFF 2020 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG​®​, tonight Wednesday, January 15, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the U.S. Premiere of ​A BUMP ALONG THE WAY​ directed by ShellyLove and starring Bronagh Gallagher, Lola Petticrew, Mary Moulds, Dan Gordon and Brendan Farrell.

A BUMP ALONG THE WAY​ is female-led, feel-good, comedy-drama set in Derry, Northern Ireland, about a middle-aged woman whose unexpected pregnancy after a one-night stand acts as the catalyst for her to finally take control of her life and become the role model her teenage daughter needs and craves.

Following the film, the Opening Night Gala will take place in the beautiful outdoor Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. It will feature entertainment, food, libations, and celebrate the start of SBIFF.

Get tickets and Passes Here



(Source: SBIFF News Release)


Posted by Larry Gleeson


WHAT: Audible Inc., the world’s largest producer and seller of spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, today announced it will make its Sundance Film Festival debut as the Festival’s exclusive audio entertainment sponsor with The Audible Speakeasy, where stories are stirred, shaken and spoken. Creators and Festival attendees will have the opportunity to attend Los Angeles Times-curated and -hosted panel discussions, daily sound baths and more.

The Speakeasy will provide a home for powerful voices and feature innovative filmmakers and creatives through panel discussions curated and hosted by the Los Angeles Times. Audible Speakeasy attendees are also invited to relax through daily, 30-minute sound baths hosted by a leading voice in sound bath experiences, Sara Auster. Guests will be introduced to sound meditation with guided instructions focused on breathing practices.

The Audible Speakeasy will provide Festival attendees, creators and industry professionals with an inspiring and comfortable meeting place at the center of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Space will be open to the public on Main Street in Park City from Friday, January 24 through Monday, January 27.

Audible has a robust slate of original content featuring exclusive audio entertainment created by celebrated storytellers from the worlds of entertainment, theater, journalism, comedy, literature and more. Audible Originals offer powerful performances created specifically for listeners, spanning every genre and length, from Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane, the intimate portrait of an icon via spoken-word stories from her life, interwoven with the music from her beloved catalog; to Evil Eye, an episodic light-hearted family dramedy turned supernatural thriller by playwright Madhuri Shekar; to Kate McKinnon’s Heads Will Roll, a raunchy episodic satire set in Medieval times produced with Broadway Video and featuring Kate McKinnon, Emily Lynne, Meryl Streep and Peter Dinklage.



WHEN:                       Address: 692 Main Street, Park City (at 7th Street)

                                   Public Hours of Operation: Friday, January 24 – Sunday, January 26:

10:30am – 4:00pm & Monday, January 27: 10:00am – 3:00pm

*Speakeasy will close promptly at 4:00pm (Jan. 24-26) for RSVP-only private events


                                    Daily Public Programming:

                                    9:00 – 10:00am: Sound Bath with Sara Auster (RSVP required)

Afternoon: Los Angeles Times Panel (Jan. 24-26)

Audible, Inc., an, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio content, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible content includes more than 475,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.

(Source: Press release provided by Gabrielle Flamand, CIVIC on behalf of Audible)


ADL Stand Up Award goes to the feature film Liberté: A Call to Spy at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

DATE: January 8, 2020 … ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties announced today that it has awarded its ADL Stand Up Award at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival to the feature film Liberté: A Call to Spy.

Dan Meisel, ADL’s Regional Director issued the following statement:

The ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties Region is pleased to present this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival ADL Stand Up Award to Liberté:  A Call to Spy, a dramatic portrayal of the true stories of the first women recruited and sent by the British military to occupied France with orders to disrupt the Nazi war machine.

The courageous heroism of soldiers risking their lives to counter the Nazis is not a new story.  It is new, at least for the big screen, that the heroes featured in Liberté are women, and it is certainly worth discussing why it has taken so long for their stories to be celebrated in this way.  What made these women truly remarkable, in addition to the challenges they had to overcome as “lady spies,” was the strength of their common conviction despite their varied identities and experiences.  The lead characters enter the frame in Liberté bound by how the world sees them — an American foreign servant with a disability, a Muslim pacifist of Indian heritage, and a Romanian Jew fearing deportation.  By the end of the story, their shared commitment to defend the human dignity of others supersedes any limiting labels, and their diversity proves critical to the success of their respective missions.

A jury of local ADL staff and supporters annually present the ADL Stand Up Award to a film in the festival that exemplifies the impact storytelling can have in fostering mutual understanding and respect, consistent with ADL’s mission “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”  Given the recent and deeply troubling trend of rising hate and violence directed towards religious, racial, and ethnic minorities in the U.S. and around the world, ADL is proud to stand up with these filmmakers in highlighting the real-life heroism of standing up to fear-based aggression towards others solely on account of who they are.

Liberté: A Call to Spy is directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher, and stars Sarah Megan Thomas (“Equity”), who also wrote the screenplay and produced, Stana Katic (“Castle”), and Radhika Apte (“Andhadhun”).  More info about the film can be found on twitter @libertethemovie.

The festival’s U.S. premiere of Liberté will occur on January 16.  ADL is hosting a cocktail Soireé in honor of the Stand Up Award at 6:15pm in the Lobero Theater Courtyard, to be followed by the film’s premiere at 7:40pm in the Fiesta 5 Theater with a Q&A thereafter with Lydia Dean Pilcher and Sarah Megan Thomas.  Tickets to ADL’s Soireé (which include a confirmed seat at the 7:40pm screening) can only be purchased at or by calling 805-564-6670.  Limited general admission to the 7:40pm showing will be available for the festival pass or ticket holders.

The film is also screening at the Metro 2 Theater on Friday, January 17 at 2:20pm and Saturday, January 18 at 5:20pm for the festival pass or ticket holders.

This is the fifth year ADL has sponsored its Stand Up Award.  Previous winners explored the lives of a drag performer in Cuba (Viva, 2016), Polish migrant workers in Sweden (Strawberry Days, 2017), Syrian refugees seeking passage to Berlin (Sky and Ground, 2018), and a team of basketball players with disabilities (Campeones, 2019).\

This year’s Soireé is being sponsored in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.  For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact ADL at 805-564-6670.

ADL, founded in 1913, is among the world’s leading organizations fighting bigotry, hatred, and discrimination.  Learn more at  ADL’s Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties Office was established in 2001.  Follow it on twitter @ADLSantaBarbara.

(Source: SBIFF press release)

Casting Society of America announces the film nominees for the 35th Artios Awards

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Ceremonies to be held January 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, New York City, and London

Los Angeles, CA – January 2, 2020 – Casting Society of America (CSA) today announces the film nominees for the 35th Artios Awards, which honor the contribution of Casting Directors to film, television and theatre. The winners will be revealed on Thursday, January 30, 2020 in ceremonies in Los Angeles, New York City, and London. Ron Funches will serve as host for the Los Angeles event, with Michelle Buteau hosting the New York ceremony.

“The art of casting for film continued to shine this year, as represented in this noteworthy list of projects. Joining our television and theatre nominees, these talented Casting Directors exemplify the range of skills and expertise throughout our craft,” said Russell Boast, President, CSA. “The 35th Artios Awards will put a spotlight on the year’s outstanding contributions from our members as we collectively build on this year’s achievements for an even stronger future.”

CSA previously announced the television and theatre nominees and this year’s honorees including Academy Award® winner and advocate Geena Davis, who will receive the Lynn Stalmaster Award for Career Achievement, and Emmy®, Grammy®, and Tony® Award winner Audra McDonald, who will be honored with the Marion Dougherty New York Apple Award.

Among the Casting Directors being recognized are Deborah Aquila, a three-time Artios Award winner for her work on La La Land, My Week with Marilyn and Red, who will receive The Hoyt Bowers Award, and Andy Pryor, an Emmy nominee and stalwart in the British casting community for his work on projects including Stan & Ollie, Dr. Who, Cold Feet and Call the Midwife, who will be honored with the Excellence in Casting Award at the London ceremony.

The film nominees for the 35th Artios Awards are:


Abominable – Christi Soper Hilt
Frozen 2 – Jamie Sparer Roberts, Sarah Raoufpur (Associate)
The Lion King – Sarah Halley Finn, Jason B. Stamey (Associate)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Christi Soper Hilt

Toy Story 4 – Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

Big Budget – Comedy

Dolemite Is My Name – Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham Ahanonu
Hustlers – Gayle Keller
Knives Out – Mary Vernieu, Angela Peri (Location Casting), Brett Howe (Associate)

Rocketman – Reginald Poerscot-Edgerton
Uncut Gems – Francine Maisler

Big Budget – Drama

1917 – Nina Gold
The Irishman – Ellen Lewis, Kate Sprance (Associate)
Joker – Shayna Markowitz
Little Women – Francine Maisler, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler, Douglas Aibel (Location Casting), Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Victoria Thomas

Studio or Independent – Comedy

Brittany Runs A Marathon – Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox

The Dead Don’t Die – Ellen Lewis, Kate Sprance (Associate)

The Farewell – Leslie Woo
Jojo Rabbit – Des Hamilton

Late Night – Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox, Kimberly Ostroy (Associate)

Poms – Mary Vernieu, Marisol Roncali, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting)

Studio or Independent – Drama

Harriet – Kim Coleman, Erica Arvold (Location Casting), Anne Chapman (Location Casting), Meghan Apostoles (Associate)
Honey Boy – Chelsea Ellis Bloch, John Papsidera
Judy – Fiona Weir, Alice Searby

Marriage Story – Francine Maisler, Douglas Aibel, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler (Associate)

Waves – Avy Kaufman, Mark Mullen (Location Casting)

Low Budget – Comedy or Drama

Clemency – Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Roya Semnanian (Associate)
Diane – Jodi Angstreich
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Julia Kim, Nina Henninger (Location Casting)

Skin – Jodi Angstreich, Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox
Them That Follow – John McAlary, Orly Sitowitz

Micro-Budget – Comedy or Drama

Low Tide – Susan Shopmaker, Lois Drabkin
Mickey and the Bear – Avy Kaufman
Skin in the Game – Matthew Lessall
The True Don Quixote – Stephanie Holbrook, Ryan Glorioso (Location Casting), Justin Coulter (Associate)

The Wind – Meg Morman, Sunday Boling

The Zeitgeist Award

Avengers: EndGame – Sarah Halley Finn, Chase Paris (Location Casting), Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting), Jason B. Stamey (Associate)
It Chapter 2 – Rich Delia, Stephanie Gorin (Location Casting), Coco Kleppinger (Associate)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Nina Gold, April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg, Angela Young (Associate)

First held in 1985, the Artios Awards honor Casting Directors in more than 20 different categories encompassing film, television, and theatre. In addition, special honorees are selected for their contributions to the craft. Nominees and winners are voted on by members in good standing of the Casting Society of America. Key dates are below and nominations and additional information will be announced in the coming months.


35th Artios Awards Timeline

January 2, 2020 Open final ballot – Features
January 16, 2020 Close final ballot – Features
January 30, 2020 35th ARTIOS AWARDS



Casting Society of America (CSA) was founded in February of 1982 with the intention of establishing a recognized standard of professionalism in the casting field and providing its members with a support organization to further their goals and protect their common interests. CSA currently boasts close to 1000 members. CSA casting directors and associate casting directors work around the world, with members based in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. CSA is a global resource for producers, directors and creative teams seeking casting professionals while promoting the image of casting directors and associate casting directors worldwide, engaging in a number of charitable activities and supporting its members by sharing important and helpful professional information. For more information on the Casting Society of America, please visit

(Source: News release from Shari Mesulam, The Mesulam Group)