Posted by Larry Gleeson
The 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) Women’s Panel took place on Saturday, March 12th, featuring Diane Warren (Composer, “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days) Jessica Kingdom (Director, Ascension), Lynn Harris (Producer, King Richard), Amber Richards (Set Decorator, Power of the Dog) and Elizabeth Mirzaei (Director, Three Songs for Benazir) in a conversation led by Madelyn Hammond, Hollywood’s ‘Job Whisperer’.
Highlights from the conversation included:
Harris on working with Will Smith: “He was so kind and wonderful, and generous. Generous to the other actors, especially to the young girls, it was their first big movie with a movie star… we shut down seventeen days into the pandemic… when we did come back, Will, truly as a leader, kept morale up at a time when it was very difficult and scary.”
Mrzaei on the timeliness of her documentary: “We can see what’s happening in Ukraine right now… we feel like it just can’t be an accident that we feel an ability for us to speak about the way that the world looks at the people who are considered the ‘other’. That’s why we feel this movie is important right now in a time when the world is confronting multiple wars… we hope this film helps…”
Warren on not taking ‘no’ for an answer: “Everybody on this panel has been told ‘no, you can’t do this, it’s not gonna work’. I’ve been told that so many times, it’s like ‘fuck you, yes I’m gonna do it!’ …I read something once that said you’ve gotta be dyslexic when you hear the word ‘no’ so then, it’s ‘on’!”
Jessica Kingdom on persevering to get her documentary completed: “When we first got our funding from our sales agent, they gave us a small loan to go and do the initial shoot…. We didn’t know if we could pull this off or not because the vision was so ambitious… I told the other producer, ‘the loan says we have to deliver a movie by this date, but it doesn’t say it has to be a good movie!’ …that was the mindset I was going into it with, just try to finish it. You don’t have to shoot for greatness, you just have to shoot for finishing it. And this is what we ended up with!”
Richards on picking out set décor from the United States: “I got to come over and go to prop houses here, because we don’t have that in New Zealand. I was completely blown away by the access that you have here to critical collections. I spent four and a half days here and filled a forty-foot container!”
Watch the full panel HERE!
The 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival ran from March 2nd to March 12th.
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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. 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 and a place for creativity and learning.
(Press release from Sunshine Sachs, Michelle Tarangelo)