Tag Archives: Cinema Society

SBIFF’s Year in Review – Roger Durling

Posted  by Larry Gleeson

From SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling

As we head into a New Year and pave our way forward in 2017, I’d like to take pause to recognize our successes of 2016, including our decision to acquire the Riviera Theatre – a major turning point for SBIFF.  Our new home will allow us to expand and to further engage, enrich, and inspire people through the power of film on a year-round basis.


The first quarter of 2016 marked one of the most unforgettable Festivals. SBIFF continues to be an incredible education platform where Oscar-winning and nominated industry leaders, independent filmmakers, fans, and students gather to celebrate and learn.  All of us at SBIFF are honored to provide a world-class festival where thousands of visitors and local residents of all ages participate, right here in our hometown.

We expanded our film series The Showcase, and launched two new education programs: (1) Film Camp – a partnership with the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County that teaches filmmaking and film appreciation to middle and high school students; and (2) Programs for Seniors – a partnership with Easy Lift Transportation that provides a fun movie-going experience for transit dependent seniors.


We also had another tremendous year of Cinema Society and treated our community to the latest Hollywood films, and welcomed some of the world’s most talented filmmakers working today: Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals; Damien Chazelle – La La Land; Jeff Nichols – Loving; Kevin Costner – Hidden Figures; Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water; Pablo Larraín – Jackie, Neruda; and Denis Villeneuve – Arrival.

The 11th Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film was the most successful in our history.  We honored legend Warren Beatty and celebrated Kirk Douglas’ 100th Birthday – raising more money than ever to benefit our education programs.


2016’s highlight is undoubtedly SBIFF’s acquisition of the Riviera Theatre in the form of a 30-year lease, to build a 24/7 cultural hub for all things film.  SBIFF’s capital campaign – The Riviera Project – was launched in September to raise the necessary funds to support theatre renovations and expansion of our programs.  Thanks to our generous supporters – in just a few months – we’ve raised $3.7 million of our $5 million goal to be raised by March 2017.

In the coming year, we’re further expanding our many education programs that currently serve 20,000 individuals, families and children – many from vulnerable and underserved populations. The renovation of the Riviera Theatre will enable SBIFF to increase participation in nearly all of our education programs so that they are offered on a year-round basis.

  • Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies will operate year-found and increasing participation by 87% to reach 7,500 Title 1 schools.
  • The Rosebud Program will increase participation by 150%.
  • The AppleBox Family Films will also operate year-round, increasing participation by 43% to 11,500 children and families.
  • The new Programs for Seniors will serve 1,200.
  • To ensure that we fulfill our important educational mission, a full time Education Director will come on board.  Amanda Graves is starting the first week of 2017.


There are many ways to support SBIFF and the Riviera Project – all donations are 100% tax deductible:

– Contact Cindy Chyr, Director of Advancement, at cindy@sbfilmfestival.org or 805-963-0023 x809.
– View our brochure and opportunities for giving, click here.
– To name a seat, click here.
– Make a general donation to SBIFF programs, click here.

We are so grateful for our community’s support during this transformational time in SBIFF history. Thank you for being a part of our community. We can’t wait to do more together in 2017!

See you at the movies,



Roger Durling
Executive Director

#SBIFF The Wave ~ Pan-Asia Full Lineup

All 11 exciting new Asian films and the schedule have been announced!
We are looking forward to sharing this cinematic journey with you this week. Films start today. Get your passes and tickets to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia now!

Full Lineup Here



Ready to take a trip to Asia!

Patron Pass ~ $250
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
– Tuesday May 10 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
• VIP Giftbag
• Pass is non-transferable
Cinephile Pass ~ $80
• Access to Eleven (11) Film Screenings (one screening of each film)
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
– Tuesday May 10 – 5:30pm – 7:30pmIndividual Tickets
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8 (available at the door only)

Passes Here


Looking forward to seeing you there!


(Source: sbiff.org)


The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has found a new home: the historic Riviera Theatre. The Riviera Theatre will allow SBIFF to expand their current slate of education programs, preserve an important historic landmark, and create a cultural hub for all things film.

The decision to make the Riviera the new home was unanimously approved by SBIFF’s Board of Directors in March 2016. The lease was negotiated by SBIFF Board president Mark Scher and board members Bob Brada and Eric Phillips, Jeff Barbakow with Michael Towbes and the Towbes Group, coinciding with the Group’s 60th anniversary.

“As we enter our 32nd year, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has cemented itself as a part of our great city’s history” stated Mark Scher, President of SBIFF and owner of the Scher Investment Group. “We believe a long-term home at the Riviera Theatre is a pivotal point in the evolution of SBIFF and will allow us the opportunity to greatly expand our programming and bring a real cultural center for film to the Santa Barbara Community.  I couldn’t be more thrilled for SBIFF and the City of Santa Barbara.”

At the heart of SBIFF’s mission is education, and through its programs its staff is able to seek to engage, enrich, and inspire people through film. The Riviera as the new home will allow for expansion in the current programs and the ability to implement new ones, and to ultimately better serve the Santa Barbara community on a year-round basis.

The new theater allows service to more underserved youth and families through programs such as AppleBox Family Films and Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies. Other programs will continue at the Riviera Theatre, including three year-round programs: Cinema Society (an exclusive membership program), the Rosebud Program for Film Students (a program for local college students), and the Wave Film Festival (the mini film festival which will be increased to three times per year). The Showcase, which features innovative independent films, will move to the Riviera from its current location Plaza de Oro.

Renovations will transform the Riviera into a state of the art movie theater, and a cultural hub for all things film. The renovations will include new seats, acoustical upgrades, improved ventilation, structural fixes, enhanced lighting, a new screen and projection system, and a state of the art sound system.

“We are very excited to provide this new home for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Riviera Theatre”, stated Michael Towbes, Chairman of The Towbes Group. “Over the years we have brought the Riviera campus to an entirely new quality level.  The historic significance of the campus, dating back to its locating on the Riviera in 1913, makes it a very special place for me and the Santa Barbara community.  The upgrades which SBIFF plans to make to the theatre will complete the campus improvements which we began some 40 years ago.  They will greatly enhance the audience experience and honor the legacy of the building.”

SBIFF will continue to provide quality, year-round arts education, provide access to independent and international cinema, and celebrate, nurture, and promote the art of storytelling, as well as the storytellers themselves. Its programs will continue to evoke inspiration and creativity, and will stimulate civic discourse, engagement and exploration.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, festival passes and packages, please visit www.sbiff.org.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. SBIFF offers 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums that transforms beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, CA into a rich destination for film lovers which attract more than 90,000 attendees.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. In recent years SBIFF has expanded its year round presence with regular screenings and Q&As with programs like Cinema Society, The Showcase and its Wave Film Festivals.

(Source: Press Release provided by Jackson Gibbon, Sunshine Sachs)

#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)

Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Banks Among the Feted for 2016 #SBIFF Virtuosos Award

8 PM Saturday night, February 6th, 2016, at the historic Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, California, Elizabeth Banks (“Love & Mercy,” ), Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina,”  “The Danish Girl.” ), Joel Edgerton (“Black Mass,” ), Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy,” & “Youth,” ), O’Shea Jackson, Jr. ( “Straight Outta Compton,” ), Geza Rohrig (“Son of Saul.” ), and Jacob Tremblay (“Room” ) will be honored as recipients for the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festivals’ 2016  Virtuosos Award. The Virtuosos Award recognizes performers who have distinguished themselves with breakthrough film performances in the past year.

Past recipients of the award include Ellar Coltrane, Rosamund Pike, Jared Leto, David Oyelowo, Eddie Redmayne, Rooney Mara, Brie Larson and Marion Cotillard. This year’s talented and diverse  honorees are being recognized for their overall career as well as for their breakout year. To get your tickets visit sbiff.org 


31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016 Press Conference #SBIFF


Don’t miss this! We’re three days away from the opening of the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Here’s an insider’s guide as Santa Barbara Mayor, Helene Schneider, kicks off #SBIFF 2016 Press Conference at Hotel Santa Barbara, local artist, Barbara Boros of Barbara Boros Art and Design, unveils the 2016 official poster while Executive Director Roger Durling provides a run-down of this year’s 31st edition of the festival. Tune in and afterwards check out the links below.

Helpful links to make your experience at the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival one to remember: