Tag Archives: Opening Night

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!






Opening Night at the 34th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival


Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 34th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival officially opened with an enormously emotional celebration and screening for Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy.

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Director and wife, Mimi deGruy introduced the screening alongside her below the line team and children, Max and Francis, who “teach her everyday” and let her tell and craft this story. Mimi deGruy also gave a nod to Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF, for continuing to lead the festival “with global outreach while keeping it to its roots.”

Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy is a feature film documentary about Mike deGruy, an irrepressible biologist turned award-winning filmmaker who swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and  became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist. In 2012, deGruy died tragically in a helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron. Told through the eyes of Mimi deGruy, his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed:  we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.

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19th Annual Ojai Film Festival Opens

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Opening Night-1

The 19th Annual Ojai Film Festival (OFF) is up and running. Last night at the enchanting Libbey Bowl in downtown Ojai, a free Community screening of Mel Brooks’ raucous and rollicking Young Frankenstein was the Opening Night Film. OFF President Jonathan Lambert jump started the evening with Opening Night remarks including a plug for Loving Vincent and OFF’s new environmentally-oriented films, “Focus Earth.”


Without further adieu Lambert brought forth the evening’s special guest, Hank Wynands. Wynands built the sets for Young Frankenstein and worked on several other of Mel Brooks’ films. Wynands shared some colorful inside jokes on the day-to-day operations on a Brooks film set and the impact budgeting has on a production.

Opening Night-1-2
Special Opening Night guest, Hank Wynands shares his experience on working with Mel Brooks on the set of Young Frankenstein (1974), last night, November 1, 2018, during the 19th Annual Ojai Film Festival at The Libbey Bowl in downtown Ojai, Calif. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)






Tomorrow is the first full day of OFF starting at 10:00 A.M. with the Student Filmmakers Program at the Ojai Art Center Theater. Stay tuned for more on this emerging film festival! Legendary Hollywood producer Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, told the audience at a recent Toronto International Film Festival that “Ojai is the next Telluride.”

Ojai Street entrance to Libbey Park in downtown Ojai, Calif., on November 1st, at the 19th Annual Ojai Film Festival. The festival will run through November 11th, 2018. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)
Opening Night_Post Office-1
Welcome sign to the 19th Annual Film Festival on Ojai Street at Signal Street in downtown Ojai, Calif., November 1st. The festival will run through November 11th, 2018. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

See you at the movies!

2016 #TCM Classic Film Festival Adds Film Legends To Lineup

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) continues to add screen icons and intriguing panels to its star-studded festival lineup during the 7th Annual 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, set to take place April 28 – May 1 in Hollywood.  

Beloved Oscar® and Golden Globe® winner Angela Lansbury joins the festival with a screening and conversation of The Manchurian Candidate (1962), the combination satire and political thriller.

Oscar winning actress and singer Rita Moreno will introduce a 60th anniversary screening of the cherished musical The King and I (1956).

Emmy nominee Billy Dee Williams will present a screening of Brian’s Song (1971), the true story of friendship between Chicago Bears’ player Gale Sayers (Williams) and Brian Piccolo (James Caan).

Investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, Oscar winning director/ screenwriter Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), along with Oscar Winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight), join the festivities for opening night’s 40th Anniversary screening of the political thriller All The President’s Men (1976).

Club TCM, the central gathering point for festival passholders located in the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, will feature a remarkable slate that includes:


  • Man’s Best Friend: Dogs in Film.” Movie icons are stars that evoke an immediate emotional response, and Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Old Yeller, Benji and Beethoven are right up there with the best of the two-legged variety.  Join Randy Haberkamp of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as he shares stills and clips from the Academy’s collections of dogs in movie history, and then interviews three of Canine Cinema’s biggest stars during a rare public appearance. Meet Clyde of Marley & Me (2008), Brigitte, the original Stella from Modern Family and the latest Lassie.


  • “From Headlines to Ticket Lines” a panel discussion with director James Vanderbilt (Truth), Oscar winning writer Josh Singer (Spotlight), broadcast news producer and author Mary Mapes and print journalist/editor Ben Bradlee, Jr. about the challenges of dramatizing the work of journalists for the screen.


Previously announced events and appearances for the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival include a handprint-footprint ceremony to honor acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. John Singleton for the 25th anniversary screening of his coming-of-age classic Boyz N The Hood (1991), Carl Reiner with an extended conversation and screening of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Elliott Gould with screenings of his Golden Globe nominated performance in M*A*S*H (1970), The Long Goodbye (1973) and Eva Marie Saint who will be on hand to introduce a screening of the political comedy The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966).  Actor Stacy Keach will be discussing John Huston’s gritty look at the world of small-time boxing in Fat City (1972) and French actress Anna Karina will be introducing Band of Outsiders (1964), Jean-Luc Godard’s riff on gangster films.


Complete bios for each of the artists appearing at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival can be found at the festival’s website: filmfestival.tcm.com

(Press release courtesy of TCM Pressroom)