Category Archives: #SBIFF

2016 #SBIFF Draws To A Close

Last night the 31st edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) drew to a close at the historic Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara. Festival Director Roger Durling welcomed and expressed his gratitude to the festival’s Board of Directors and to everyone who came out and supported the 200+ films and all the filmmakers from around the world. And, without missing a beat, Durling demonstrated his appreciation for the 700+ volunteers who provide additional support to his staff during the eleven day cinema celebration saying, “We couldn’t do it without the support of our volunteers…I salute you.”

(Photo Credit: William Conlin, YDL Digital Film)

The closing night film, Marguerite, started with a subtitles glitch. After a restart and a technical adjustment the film ran in its entirety and proved to be a crowd pleaser.

Next weekend several popular festival films are screened for the public free of charge at the scenic Riviera Theatre as part of the festival’s 3rd Weekend. Admission to the 3rd Weekend is on a first come first served basis. Here is a listing of films showing:

CLICK THE MOVIE TITLE FOR FILM INFO

Fri Feb 19 – 5:00 PM – Talion – Winner of the Nueva Vision Award for Spanish/Latin American Cinema
Fri Feb 19 – 7:30 PM – Mammal – Winner of the Panavision Independent Spirit Award
Fri Feb 19 – 9:30 PM – Award Winning Shorts (Graffiti, Lebanon Wins the World Cup, The Orchestra)

Sat Feb 20 – 11:00 AM – Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt – Winner of the Best Documentary Award
Sat Feb 20 – 2:00 PM – Viva – Winner of the ADL Stand-up Award
Sat Feb 20 – 5:00 PM – Ville-Marie – Winner of the Best International Film Award
Sat Feb 20 – 7:30 PM – The Culpable – Winner of the Audience Choice Award
Sat Feb 20 – 9:30 PM – Crossing Bhutan

Sun Feb 21 – 11:00 AM – 10 Billion: What’s on Your Plate? – Winner of the Social Justice Award
Sun Feb 21 – 2:00 PM – TBD
Sun Feb 21 – 5:00 PM – Harold and Lilian: A Hollywood Love Story
Sun Feb 21 – 7:30 PM – Bad Seeds

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In addition, the festival is actively engaged throughout the year with its weekly Showcase Series and additional screenings with Q & A’s through Cinema Society and the SBIFF Wave Festivals.  One of the tenants to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is giving back to the community and showcasing the art of film through it’s various outreach programming including its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, and its educational seminars.

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Patrons of the AppleBox Family Films at the Arlington Theater, on February 6th, 2016. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

Keep in mind, it’s only 364 days until the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 32nd edition. Until then….I’ll see you at the movies!

(Source: Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

 

#SBIFF 2016 Awards Announcement

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This morning, February 13th, 2016, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), announced the 31st edition’s award winners at their annual Awards Breakfast. Following is the list of award winners:

BRUCE CORWIN AWARD – BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
GRAFFITI
Directed by Lluís Quílez

BRUCE CORWIN AWARD – BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
THE ORCHESTRA
Directed by Mikey Hill

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM AWARD
LEBANON WINS THE WORLD CUP
Directed by Tony El Khoury and Anthony Lappé

NUEVA VISION AWARD FOR SPANISH/LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA
TALIÓN
Directed by Martín Tuta

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD
VITA ACTIVA: THE SPIRIT OF HANNAH ARENDT
Directed by Ada Ushpiz

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM AWARD
VILLE-MARIE
Directed by Guy Édoin

PANAVISION SPIRIT AWARD FOR INDEPENDENT CINEMA
MAMMAL
Directed by Rebecca Daly

SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY FILM
10 BILLION: WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE?
Directed by Valentin Thurn

THE ADL STAND UP AWARD
SPONSORED BY SANTA BARBARA/TRI-COUNTIES ADL
VIVA
Directed by Paddy Breathnach

THE AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD
SPONSORED BY THE SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT
THE CULPABLE
Directed by Gerd Schneider

BRUCE CORWIN AWARD – BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
GRAFFITI
Directed by Lluís Quílez

BRUCE CORWIN AWARD – BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
THE ORCHESTRA
Directed by Mikey Hill

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM AWARD
LEBANON WINS THE WORLD CUP
Directed by Tony El Khoury and Anthony Lappé

NUEVA VISION AWARD FOR SPANISH/LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA
TALIÓN
Directed by Martín Tuta

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD
VITA ACTIVA: THE SPIRIT OF HANNAH ARENDT
Directed by Ada Ushpiz

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM AWARD
VILLE-MARIE
Directed by Guy Édoin

PANAVISION SPIRIT AWARD FOR INDEPENDENT CINEMA
MAMMAL
Directed by Rebecca Daly

SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY FILM
10 BILLION: WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE?
Directed by Valentin Thurn

THE ADL STAND UP AWARD
SPONSORED BY SANTA BARBARA/TRI-COUNTIES ADL
VIVA
Directed by Paddy Breathnach

THE AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD
SPONSORED BY THE SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT
THE CULPABLE
Directed by Gerd Schneider

Congratulations to all the winners!

Tonight is the closing film, Marguerite, scheduled to screen at 8 PM at the Arlington Theater. Individual tickets are available at Will Call in the Hotel Santa Barbara. For more information on Will Call click here.

(Source: Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

 

Rooney Mara Accepts Cinema Vanguard Award #SBIFF

Actress Rooney Mara, joined a notable group of honorees last night at the historic Arlington Theater, including last year’s recipients Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as she accepted the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) prestigious Cinema Vanguard Award.

The event was moderated by  Joe McGovern from Entertainment Weekly. McGovern engaged with Mara gently drawing out the diminutive actress. Throughout the conversation, clips were intermittently shown from Mara’s body of work including the Side Effects , Her and The Social Network, a biographical drama of Mark Zuckerberg and the genesis of Facebook.

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Santa Barbara International Film Festival Executive Director Roger Durling (Photo Credit: The Independent)

Festival Director Roger Durling praised Mara by saying,

“From her scene-stealing turn in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to her outstanding performance in Carol, Rooney has repeatedly showcased her talents as one of the most gifted actors of her generation. I truly admire the enigmatic and complex nature of her performances. She’s an adept, beguiling actor, and we are proud to present her with this year’s Cinema Vanguard Award.”

Rooney’s Carol Director, Todd Haynes presented the award with Aussie Cate Blanchette providing a rousing tribute recorded earlier from her home Down Under.

Past recipients of the award include Amy Adams, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, Ryan Gossling and Stanley Tucci. The award was created to recognize “actors who have forged their own path – taking artistic risks while making a significant and unique contribution to film.”

 

 

#SBIFF “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz”

The “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz” panel debuted in 2005 and celebrates influential women in film. Women from all stages of film production, including editing, directing, costuming, casting, production design, and producing come together to discuss the unique challenges they have faced and successes they have had in the film industry.

The  2016 panel will feature:
Susan Cartsonis (STOREFRONT PICTURES)
Svetlana Cvetko (THE ARCHITECT – Cinematographer)
Alison Eastwood (BATTLECREEK – Director)
Liz Garbus (WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? – Director)
Shannon McIntosh (HATEFUL EIGHT – Producer)
Rosa Tran (ANOMALISA – Producer)

Madelyn Hammond, President, Madelyn Hammond & Associates will moderate. Brooks Institute is sponsoring the event.

Tickets are available here: sbiff.org

Sylvester Stallone Receives 2016 Montecito Award #SBIFF

Last night was a total knockout at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival with Sylvester Stallone receiving the festival’s esteemed  Montecito Award.

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Montecito Award
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 09: Actor Sylvester Stallone attends the Montecito Award at the Arlington Theater at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 9, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

Stallone arrived arm-in-arm with his wife Jennifer and made their way into the historic Arlington Theater where Sylvester took the stage and carried a heartfelt dialogue with Deadline’s Pete Hammond.

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Montecito Award
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 09: .Actor Sylvester Stallone and model Jennifer Flavin attend the Montecito Award at the Arlington Theater at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 9, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

At the end of the conversation, the original Apollo Creed Carl Weathers recounted his audition for the role of Apollo Creed and presented Stallone with the award.

(Video Credit: YSL Digital Films – Gary, Harlene and William Conlin. Titles by Larry Gleeson)

Guests made their way to the festival’s Hennessey Lounge afterwards to celebrate the evening.

(Source: Press release provided by Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

 

Outstanding Performers of the Year #SBIFF

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(Credit: YSL Digital – Gary, Harlene and William Conlin)

Monday night at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival started off with a bang as hundreds of fans lined the streets to get a glimpse of Oscar nominated actresses Saoirse Ronan (BROOKLYN) and Brie Larson (ROOM). The leading ladies were presented with the Outstanding Performers of the Year Award sponsored by Dom Perignon.

In almost matching shoulder-baring white dresses, Ronan (wearing a Chloe dress and Jimmy Choo shoes), walked the carpet in Santa Barbara while Larson (wearing an Emilia Wiskstead jumpsuit) was regrettably unable to attend in person. She did, however, Skype, a first at SBIFF, into the presentation moderated by Pete Hammond. The irony of the space Larson was Skyping from was not lost on Hammond, who commented that it looked like she might have been back on the set of ROOM.

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Performer Of The Year
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Moderator Pete Hammond speaks with Actor Brie Larson at the Outstanding Performer of the Year ceremony at the Arlington Theater during the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 8, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

Larson discussed her favorite movies as a child, one being GONE WITH THE WIND. She followed up by sharing that the physicality of her role in ROOM was incredibly intense and was a vital part of understanding her character.

 

Following Larson’s conversation, Ronan took the stage. Ronan not only touched on the power of story telling but laughed about the fact it has taken almost 11 years for her name to be pronounced correctly in the business – going through each iteration.

 

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Performer Of The Year
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Actress Saoirse Ronan of “Brooklyn” speaks at the Outstanding Performer of the Year ceremony at the Arlington Theater during the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival. on February 8, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

 

Accepting her award with tears in her eyes, Ronan closed the evening with heartfelt words and expressed how grateful she was to be a part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

 

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Performer Of The Year
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Actress Saoirse Ronan of “Brooklyn” receives the Outstanding Performer of the Year ceremony at the Arlington Theater during the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival. on February 8, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

(Source: Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

#SBIFF Virtuosos Award

(Credit: YTS Digital)

It was a busy night in Santa Barbara, as the 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival feted its Virtuosos at the historical Arlington Theater.  Elizabeth Banks, Paul Dano, O’Shea Jackson, Jr, Géza Röhrig, Jacob Tremblay, and Alicia Vikander took to the stage for discussions with moderator Dave Karger and to be presented with their awards by Leonard Maltin.   

Joel Edgerton was regrettably unable to attend, but a taped interview with Karger played during his portion of the tribute evening, which was sponsored by Travel and Leisure.

With honoree ages ranging from nine to 48, the evening began with Elizabeth Banks, who told the audience that the LOVE AND MERCY script was one of only two scripts she has ever fallen in love with (the other was ZAC AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO) and the success of the first film as a director, PITCH PERFECT 2.  Paul Dano followed and talked about the three months of preparing he did with the music of The Beach Boys for LOVE AND MERCY.

After Joel Edgerton’s taped conversation played, O’Shea Jackson, Jr explained that it was his father’s idea that Jackson, Jr play him in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, not the other way around!  He discussed studying screenwriting at USC and how he needed to grow confidence to become an actor.  As the audience applauded at the end of his conversation, he exclaimed, ‘I feel like The Rock!’

Géza Röhrig spoke to Karger about how he had already been a musician, poet, and teacher, and joked that yes, he did expect to one day be sitting on a stage in Santa Barbara accepting an award for acting.  Before SON OF SAUL, Géza had only acted once before, 25 years ago in a Hungarian mini-series.  Next up, Jacob Tremblay charmed the crowd while describing the emotionally stressful ROOM.  ‘If you’re an adult or a mom you understand what’s happening, but if you’re a kid you’re like, ‘oh whatever’,’ he said about his viewing experience.

Last to the stage, but certainly not least, Alicia Vikander spoke about how her background in dance has helped her as an actress.  She mentioned in particular that it helped her with the physicality of her character in EX-MACHINA.  She also discussed the challenges of playing such a range of emotions in THE DANISH GIRL.

The fourth day of the festival began with a breakfast where filmmakers around the world bonded over bagels and coffee in the Lobero Courtyard.

The Lobero also played host to the esteemed writer’s and producer’s panels.  LA Times’ Glenn Whipp moderated a panel of producers from some of this year’s most buzzed about movies, Finola Dwyer (BROOKLYN), Ed Guiney (ROOM), Jeremy Kleiner (THE BIG SHORT), Steve Golin (SPOTLIGHT) and Mary Parent (THE REVENANT). The panel discussed what makes a good producer, “making it work” even under difficult circumstances, and diversity in filmmaking. On the latter, Mary Parent said “as a woman, I’m thrilled the conversation is happening”.

Festival goers were then treated to the “It Starts With the Script” Writers Panel.  IndieWIRE’s Anne Thompson led a conversation with some some of the year’s  top screenwriters including Pete Docter (INSIDE OUT), Emma Donoghue (ROOM), Alex Garland (EX MACHINA), Drew Goddard (THE MARTIAN), Jonathan Herman (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON), Charlie Kaufman (ANAMOLISA), Phyllis Nagy (CAROL), Charles Randolph (THE BIG SHORT), and Josh Singer (SPOTLIGHT).  Audiences were captivated by the group’s discussion of  the process of giving life to a film, the challenges that arise on the journey to the big screen, and what it takes to succeed.

Throughout the day as well, SBIFF volunteers handed out free popcorn and soda to families and festival goers as they stormed the Arlington Theater to catch two of this past year’s biggest animated hits, INSIDE OUT and MINIONS, at the community AppleBox screenings. (Source: SBIFF Press Office)

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(Photo Credit: Larry Gleeson)

The Magic of Possibilities: Crossing Bhutan #SBIFF

Crossing Bhutan, a new documentary by Director Ben Henretig, is the story of four veteran athletes who undertake a human-powered journey of 500 miles, walking and mountain-biking across the tiny Bhuddist nation in south Asia known as Bhutan. The trek was sponsored by the Bhutan National Olympic Committee.

Interestingly enough, Bhutan measures its economic development and spiritual growth by Gross National Happiness! Every two years, the Bhutanese government sends out a nine-category happiness survey asking questions about how connected do its citizens feel to their surroundings and to their community, what is their knowledge of indigenous plants and animals, and how often do they feel at ease.

The film opens with a very small archival black and white footage with a narrative voice over by Imogene Heap providing an historical discourse to the diminutive country. Quickly the film opens up with establishing shots of fairly recently shot footage revealing 24,000 foot peaks with snow-capped mountains. Soon we find out the story is about a never-done-before 500 mile trek across Bhutan that includes over 90,000 vertical feet in changing elevation.

The team is composed of four experienced, adventure-seeking athletes. The team leader is a female, Terri Schneider. The other three American members are Tony Lillios, David Kelly and Greg Thomas. A fifth member participated in a portion of the journey – Tshering Tobgay from Bhutan.

Henretig provides an extraordinary glimpse into Bhutan with a splendid mixture of direct cinema – as scenes are captured with the action moving through frame – and cinema verite’ that captures intimately emotional moments.

Most Bhutanese believe their traditions and cultural characteristics are vital in the construction of the bonds that have held the Bhutanese together throughout the centuries. Bhutan had been a monarchy until 2006 when the county’s fourth king abdicated his throne and ushered in a new era of democracy. Despite fears from the Bhutanese people of losing their identity, Bhutan is shedding light on what many are calling the magic of possibility centered around a sense of community, connectedness and belonging. Nevertheless, the country is facing challenges with growing their economy and with the recent introduction of media to its social and cultural structure.

In an engaging, responsive and informative Q & A following this morning’s screening of Crossing Bhutan at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Henretig discussed the experiential factors that he and the team of trekkers faced and discerned during and after their journey and the impact the experience has made in their lives. Mostly, the team members agreed it was a life-affirming, paradigm-shifting experience with positive and potentially powerful implications for the meshing of the Bhutanese way of contentment with the often discontented, disillusioned, high-octaned Western way of life.

Team leader, Terri Schneider has been back to Bhutan six times and was instrumental in starting the Bhutan International Marathon that attracted over 220 participants in 2015- 145 of whom were Bhutanese runners. Henretig has also returned to Bhutan within the last year and is currently working on a seventy minute follow up documentary on Crossing Bhutan. Wholeheartedly recommended.

#SBIFF American Riviera Award – Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams & Mark Ruffalo

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - American Riviera Award
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Actress Rachel McAdams walks the red carpet for the American Riviera Award at the Arlington Theater at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 5, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

Excitement and anticipation abound Friday evening as Rachel McAdams electrified the red carpet at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, CA for the American Riviera Awards at the 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). McAdam’s stunning Jonathan Simkhai gown awed the crowd as the Canadian actress gracefully made her way from her limousine greeting the onlooking crowd and signing autographs for adoring fans.

A near capacity crowd jostled into the 2000+ seat venue as bags were checked and festival passholders were granted priority access. Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF and moderator for the evening, greeted the audience and provided a short discourse on the importance of film and its ability to unite communities across the globe and proceeded to introduce the evening’s honored guests, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton. The Arlington audience welcomed the pair with a rousing wave of applause. Unfortunately, Mark Ruffalo could not be in attendance.

Durling began the tribute with insightful remarks about SPOTLIGHT delving into what attracted them to the story and their experience in working with director Tom McCarthy. McAdams spoke specifically about the real-life character she portrays, reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, who sat in the audience this evening.

As an added caveat, the audience was treated with a trip down memory lane as a montage of film clips highlighting significant moments in their respective careers including MEAN GIRLS and THE PAPER. McAdams recounted her memorable role in THE HOT CHICK and how it was “probably the scariest job she’s ever had because she had to become Rob Schneider” and Keaton commented on his Boston accent in SPOTLIGHT, and why he “prayed that he would never have to do one”. In rounding out the 2016 American Riviera Award conversation Keaton and McAdams shared stories about their favorite filmmakers.

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - American Riviera Award
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Actor Michael Keaton, Actress Rachel McAdams and SBIFF Director Roger Durling speak onstage at the American Riviera Award at the Arlington Theater at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 5, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

Tom McCarthy came on stage to present the honorees with their American Riviera Award, an SBIFF award established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. McCarthy shared a few words about Ruffalo’s incredible determination as a performer, McAdam’s unique listening ability and her space as the heart of SPOTLIGHT, and Keaton’s remarkable energy and tenacity that he brings to the film.

The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival - American Riviera Award
SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Actor Michael Keaton receives the American Riviera Award from Director Tom McCarthy and Actress Rachel McAdams at the Arlington Theater at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 5, 2016 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

On Sunday, February 7th, Terrance Malick’s experiential KNIGHT OF CUPS will have its US Premiere at the Arlington Theatre as the festival’s Centerpiece Film.  The highly anticipated film stars Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Frieda Pinto, Isabel Lucas, Imogen Poots, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy and Teresa Palmer, among others. Xavier Giannoli’s funny and emotional drama MARGUERITE will close out the festival on Saturday, February 13th. 1921, the beginning of the Golden Twenties. Not far from Paris. For information on tickets, passes and packages click here.

If air travel is required for your attendance, Alaska Airlines, the official airline for the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival, is offering 10% discounts on airfare between Santa Barbara, Los Angeles or Burbank, California and any of Alaska Airlines departure cities (excluding Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica and Prudhoe Bay) now through February 16th, 2016.  Click here. Discounts are automatically applied. Restrictions apply. See site for details.

(Source: Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Michael Albright Moderates Documentary Filmmakers Seminar

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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) Film Studies Program filled the Engels and Volkers Pavilion on Friday, February 5th, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. for Documentary Filmmakers. Documentary Filmmakers was the second topic in the *Free Admission Filmmakers Series following yesterday’s Conversation with Mark Osborne, Director of The Little Prince (SBIFF’s Opening Night Film). The Filmmakers Seminar will resume on Monday, February 8th with Social Justice Documentaries.

SBIFF Programming Director, Michael Albright, a Santa Barbara City College Associate Film Studies Professor of Documentary Film, moderated a widely diverse, yet talented panel of documentary filmmakers this morning at the Engels and Volkers Pavilion as part of the SBIFF *Free Admission Filmmakers Seminars before an audience including many students in the Santa Barbara City College Film Studies Film Festival Course and several participants from the SBIFF Film Studies Program as well as a throng of Santa Barbara community filmmakers.

The panel was comprised of Jeff Bowden, Executive Producer, A Single Frame; Jeffrey Brown, Producer/Director, Vinyl Generation; Lilibet Foster, Director, Writer, Producer, Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story); Laura Gabbert, Director, City of God; and, Leanne Pooley, Director, 25 April. The films are screening during the festival. Visit the festival site for a complete, up-to-date film schedule: http://sbiff.org/

Albright introduced the participants to the audience and proceeded to politely ask the panel members to introduce themselves respectively. Jeff Bowden started revealing the inspiration behind his film – a photograph given to him by his daughter. It wasn’t just a photograph, however. The photo was hanging in a War Photo Limited gallery in Dubrovnik, Croatia when War Photo was exhibiting work by female photographers. Among the cataclysmic cover photos of bombed out buildings and incinerated automobiles was the face of an Albanian boy with an expression Bowden has carried with him ever since. In an effort to uncover the boy’s identity, Bowden embarked upon a journey that has inckuded six trips to Kosovo and has culminated in A Single Frame.

Next, Jeffrey Brown, a veteran filmmaker with over 20 films including a number of award-winning global features and documentaries. His latest work Vinyl Generation, examines the influence a renewed interest in vinyl LP’s had on Czech Generation X during the 1980’s.

Picking it up, Academy Award Nominated and multi-award winning filmmaker Lilibet Foster captured the moment as she shared her emotional, heartfelt journey in capturing the wrenching saga, Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story).

Not one to sit idly by, Laura Gabbert, grabbed a hold of the microphone and mesmerized the audience with her shot description showcasing the City of Angels – Los Angeles, California – in City of God, her expose of flamboyantly Old World, Pulitzer Prize winning food critic, Jonathan Gold.  The film premiered at Sundance 2015 and was picked up by IFC/Sundance Selects and is slated for a March 2016 theatrical release. Also, Gabbert received her MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Television and Film.

Wrapping up the introductions was Leanne Poooley, a New Zealand filmmaker with over 20 films under her belt including her the recent 25 April,  an animated excursion into a retelling of the bloody and ill-fated Gallipoli campaign form the annals of World War I.

Seemingly, such an extraordinary self-described introduction would have been satisfactorily enough for most audiences. Albright, however, with a keen sense of his audience demographic, peppered the panel with intelligent questions to draw out the inner workings of these successful, highly charged filmmakers. For example, how do you as filmmakers balance creativity with financial realities? It appeared as though a strong illumination surrounded the group as the response button was activated immediately after the question left Albright’s lips. Answers varied from panelist to panelist eventually segueing into narrative structure, storytelling versus topical material, film distribution channels, production, post-production and the ensuing miracle inherent to the magic of filmmaking. And, what started out as a Filmmaking Seminar on Documentary Film morphed into a master filmmaking class running the gamut from the inspirational spark to finished product. Stay tuned!

Until next time….I’ll see you at the movies.