SBIFF Opens to Sold Out Drive-in Screenings

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I shouldn’t have expected anything less than SOLD OUT screenings for the 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) Opening Night Film, Invisible Valley. SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, looking debonnaire in a black-tie tuxedo, started off the evening with an introductory note emphasizing the words of community, optimism, positivity, and hope, then thanked the city of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Lynda Weinman, Bruce Heavin, and the SBIFF Staff for their support and efforts in bringing this year’s live/virtual hybrid event to fruition before introducing the director of Invisible Valley, Aaron Maurer. Maurer proceeded to introduce his film, Invisible Valley, as the 2021 SBIFF Opening Night Film.

Post-Opening Night screen in the lower Santa Barbara City College Stadium Lot for the 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival sponsored by UGG, March 31, 2021. The festival runs, March 31st – April 10th, 2021, online and with two ocean-front “state of the art” drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA! Tickets and passes are available at (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

I viewed the Opening Night Film, Invisible Valley, on the Stadium Screen in the Santa Barbara City College lower lot next to the football stadium. The quality was as good as some of the extreme definition screenings I’ve seen. I also heard several wishful comments that the festival and/or the city keep the screens and continue making film viewings community events! They’ll get no complaints from me. In the meantime, stay tuned for more on Invisible Valley and the multitude of highly curated films of the 2021 edition of SBIFF.

As luck would have it, I had bumped into SBIFF Operations Director Sean Pratt at the downtown Cajun Kitchen location a few days ago. With bated breath, Pratt seemed cautiously optimistic over the deployment of the high-end, “state-of-the-art” drive-in screens. Quite the understatement! Check ’em out….you’ll be glad you did!

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will continue through April 10th, 2021, online and with the two ocean-front drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA. Tickets and passes are available at


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