2019 Best of Santa Barbara

SB Independent Best of

From the Santa Barbara Independent, October 17, 2019.

So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa winners this year. It was a huge, fun project. People were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing (203 winners at last count) by clicking here, or on the PDF below.

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part1

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part2

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part3

Best of Independent Cover

LEVI GILBERT | Art Meets Action

Levi Gilbert interview from 805 Living Magazine, October 2019.

Falling down stairs, crashing motorcycles, and taking death-defying leaps off the sides of cliffs are all in a day’s work for Levi Gilbert, a 2017 Santa Barbara High School graduate who got his first Hollywood stunt job as soon as he turned 18 and was legally allowed to perform. This might seem like a crazy career choice to some, but stunt performing is in Gilbert’s blood. His grandfather Mickey Gilbert’s career dates back to the 1969 classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and his father, Lance Gilbert, was Mel Gibson’s personal stuntman.

“I got started doing stunt work with the guidance of my dad,” says the 20-year-old Gilbert, who has already appeared in TV series such as 9-1-1, 13 Reasons Why, Ballers, Daybreak, Silicon Valley, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as the upcoming Ford v Ferrari film, which is generating Oscar buzz. “He has always helped me by giving me every opportunity to learn something new and expand my skill sets.

“Directors know exactly what they want from the stunt performers, but it’s up to you to make it happen safely,” says the youngest of the Gilbert family stunt artists. “The most dangerous stunts I have done so far in my career would probably be stair falls.” He starred as a young naval lieutenant who fell to a dramatic death in an NCIS: New Orleans episode this year.

“Difficulty and danger often go hand in hand,” he says. “But for me the hardest stunt isn’t a stunt at all—it’s acting—which is something I am working on and trying to understand the art of.”

Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Magazine, October 2019.

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, October 2019. 805 Living Oct 2019 The 805’s Got Talent

Dance Drives Dialogue

International colloquium in dance and performance studies addresses issues of race and racism in American classical ballet

The beauty and artistry of ballet can belie the sometimes painful truths that exist behind the dance.

Calvin Royal III and Unity Phelan in George Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957), Vail International Dance Festival 2018. Restaged by Heather Watts. Photo by Eric Baiano.

Calvin Royal III and Unity Phelan in George Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957), Vail International Dance Festival 2018. Restaged by Heather Watts. Photo by Eric Baiano.

“Those dances by George Balanchine and other 20th-century neoclassical choreographers reveal how the idiom of classical ballet has institutionalized and subverted American racism,” said Ninotchka D. Bennahum, a professor of dance and performance studies at UC Santa Barbara.

These ballets — such as the iconic, Civil Rights-era Balanchine ballet “Agon” from 1957 — reveal the complex relationship ballet and preeminent cultural institutions share with racial consciousness in the United States before and after World War II, she added. “Dance artists asked to undertake these roles have the capacity, the moral responsibility to shift our consciousness or to raise our consciousness. No work of art belongs solely to its time,” Bennahum said.

These topics and others will be considered when distinguished scholars and world-class performers gather Monday, April 29 in UC Santa Barbara’s ballet studio for the colloquium “Race, Ballet, American Dance,” a day of discussion and demonstration. Co-curated by Bennahum and Stephanie Batiste, an associate professor of English and of Black studies, the conference is the inaugural event of the International Colloquium for the Study of Dance and Performance Studies.

“We will pose the question, ‘What is the value of these actual works of ballet as historical archive?”

Combining elements of live performance and music, discussion and filmography, the multidisciplinary colloquium — which is free and open to the public — will explore the critical role of art in capturing and commenting on American history, specifically examining how racism has been institutionalized in American classical ballet.

“The history of the civil rights movement is written by ballet choreographers and modern choreographers,” said Bennahum. “Dancing bodies play a vital role in getting audiences, in raising public awareness to issues of injustice, to issues of joy and love and sexuality, and things that are not so easy to articulate with words.

“But these are not happenstance dances, these are dances that happened in very particular moments of time,” she added. “The relationship between African American vernacular dance, African American choreographed ballet and Russian, British, American ballet, really became a symbol of race relations in the United States.”

Participants will enter the event through a lobby exhibition featuring an archival collection of photographs curated by Bennahum from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library, the largest and most comprehensive archive in the world devoted to the documentation of dance.

“I really feel that it’s very important for students that we show them dancing bodies they cannot see in Santa Barbara,” Bennahum said. “The gravitational center of dance in the world is New York and I just felt we had to bring it to them, and we had to bring it in the form of performance and in the form of art exhibit, images on the walls, so they see that this is an intellectual, academic subject they can study. But it cannot happen without performance because without that the archive is missing. You have to have a sense of the geography of the stage. For these kids learning to dance, to know and feel their way through history, kinesthetic awareness is really significant.”

Further to that end, the colloquium’s featured guests include Heather Watts, former principal dancer of New York City Ballet and a distinguished lecturer, who will present and stage two seminal works: George Balanchine’s “Agon,” with music by Igor Stravinsky, and Jerome Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun,” with music by Claude Debussy. The pieces will be danced by Calvin Royal III (principal dancer, American Ballet Theatre) and Unity Phelan (soloist, New York City Ballet), accompanied by New York City Ballet Orchestra pianist Cameron Grant.

“In different ways, at their premieres both Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957) and Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun” (1953) addressed issues of race,” said Watts. “I’m looking forward to sharing and examining these works at the colloquium, focusing on their impact felt not only in the mid-century civil rights era in which they were created, but also today as they live on through new generations of dancers.”

Also performing is Alicia Graf Mack, chair of dance at The Juilliard School and former principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Alonzo King/LINES. Her piece will be followed by a conversation with Lynn Garafola, professor emerita of dance at Barnard College, Columbia University and “preeminent ballet scholar in the United States who, with her husband (American historian Eric Foner of Columbia University) is a really important race scholar,” noted Bennahum. Garafola also will lecture on the African American Presence in Postwar American Dance.

An artists’ roundtable early in the day will provide insight direct from dancers themselves, while a later artist-scholar discussion will offer a multi-pronged analysis of what has taken place during the conference.

“My research on Black dance often has a lot to do with analysis of form and in terms of movement and repertoire,” Batiste said. “Dancers often think about dance in ways that are really different from how scholars think about dance. Those two approaches to how the body makes meaning together in one space show the value of what scholars bring and what dancers bring to same work of art.”

Batiste gave much of the credit to Bennahum for putting together the colloquium, while Bennahum extended credit to Watts, to donors John and Jody Arnhold and to Majewski. “Dance is very expensive,” said Bennahum. “Classical ballet is very expensive and they have made this possible for the university, and believed that UC Santa Barbara, above every other place in the country, was the place to create a laboratory, a think tank, about race and ballet.

“We’re at a very tense moment in history,” she concluded. “Art plays a significant role in that conversation in these moments in time.”

Originally published in the UCSB Current on April 23, 2019.

Celebrating 60 Years

Six decades strong, Arts & Lectures keeps education at the core of its mission

Ma’s visit to Santa Barbara — which includes a free, open-to-the-public, master class with UC Santa Barbara students, and the above-mentioned lecture, “Culture, Understanding and Survival” — marks a high point for the program.

“Our relationship with Yo-Yo is very special,” said Celesta M. Billeci, A&L’s Miller McCune Executive Director. “I think it’s unique to any program in the country, and I can say with confidence he has a very special relationship with us.” That relationship, she added, extends to Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife, Dilling.

This season, A&L has also co-commissioned a project with the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded by Ma in 1998. The genre-defying global musicians will perform the world premiere of “Take Their Stands” Friday, April 26, at the Granada.

“This is really research in action in the arts,” Billeci said. “We gave the money to this ensemble to create new work. They’ve created five new pieces they will premiere and will tour all over the world. And we did this here at UCSB. So that’s a real testament to the quality of this program and to being a leader in the arts.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.

During the week prior to their performance, the musicians will be on campus working with students in the music, dance and religious studies departments and in the Givertz School of Education.

For example, Silkroad members Haruka Fuji and Sandeep Das will conduct a lecture/demonstration and Kayhan Kalhor will conduct a Dastgah practicum in world music; Kojiro Umezaki and Cristina Pato will hold a workshop with Gevirtz School of Education student teachers; Ahmad Sadri and Wu Tong will lead a meet-the-artist conversation on Asian religious traditions; and Aparna Ramaswamy will share Bharatnatyam dance traditions with students in the theater and dance department.

Education, Billeci stressed, is at the heart of A&L’s programming. “Its purpose is to really be intertwined with the academic program and be a supplement for the academic experience of students on this campus,” she said. “It’s not peripheral; it’s definitely to the core of the academic mission.”

To that end, Billeci, Associate Director Roman Baratiak and their team, particularly program manager Heather Silva, work closely with academic departments and individual faculty members to set priorities for the types of lectures and performances they bring to campus. “The speakers and artists we bring are not just coming here and doing their public presentation,” explained Caitlin O’Hara, A&L writer and publicist. “They’re going to campus for class events or master classes. They’re very heavily enmeshed in the campus as part of their stay.”

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s recent visit is a prime example. Prior to her public lecture she met with honors students from the College of Letters and Science. “Frankly, I think some of our speakers are shocked at how much we expect them to do,” Baratiak quipped.

“We also present a lot of free events for students,” added Billeci, noting the recent concert with ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro in Storke Plaza. “This is the second time we’ve had him do that. He did it before and the students went nuts for him. They just love him. And he just loves them. He’s a great ambassador for our program and for music overall.”

Plans to bring performers to A&L are often in the works years ahead of time. With the dance series, for instance, Billeci meets with faculty members several times throughout the year to understand who they are interested in having come to campus. Professors and lecturers often build class visits into their curricula, and when these companies perform, hundreds of students are in the audience.

“On our lecture side, our education coordinator will reach out to academic departments and individual faculty members and say, ‘Here’s an opportunity,’” explained Baratiak. They can elect to send their students to an event or, if time can be spared in the performer’s or presenter’s schedule, he or she might meet with students. “We have collaborations with the College of Creative Studies, the writing program, pretty much most departments,” he added.

“I think we’ve got one of the most exciting and interesting public lecture programs in the country,” said Baratiak, whose 40-year tenure with the program began when he was a student at UC Santa Barbara. “So it’s obviously something that I think all of us are proud of here at A&L.”

Baratiak is particularly enthusiastic, he added, about the annual free summer film series presented at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.

The truth is, over the last 60 years, A&L has enabled Santa Barbara audiences to spend time with some incredible individuals and performers: Upton Sinclair, Robert Oppenheimer, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Allen Ginsberg and The Dalai Lama (on three separate occasions), to name a few.

In addition to Yo-Yo Ma, A&L has more recently brought to the local stage Joan Baez, Trevor Noah, Laurie Anderson, Gloria Steinem, Bill T. Jones, the NYC Ballet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Sonny Rollins and Twyla Tharp.

A&L also presented talks by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (“We were the only university in the country that got that date,” Billeci pointed out) and comedian Jon Stewart (“We presented him to 5,000 students in the Thunderdome”), and a concert by alumnus Jack Johnson, who performed at Harder Stadium.

The talk by former vice president Joe Biden at the Arlington Theater also stands out. “We were doing a free simulcast for students on the campus, and as soon as it ended he jumped in the car and came to campus to meet with the students who’d watched the simulcast,” recalled O’Hara. “He sat and talked with them. I’ve had so many students talk to me and say how impactful that was.”

Similarly, a recent — and free — lecture by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, also was a high point for students, according to O’Hara. So many students wanted to hear her talk that simulcasts to overflow rooms were required to accommodate them.

“If you go back 60 years,” Billeci remarked, “this program is really really amazing.”

On the community outreach side, the A&L initiative dearest to Billeci’s heart is ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! The program offers free performances and educational activities to students, at-risk youth and families in Santa Barbara County. “We have made the long-term commitment to bring high quality arts — not average or mediocre — the very best in music and dance to these communities and to the folks who live there,” Billeci said.

Putting on more than 100 events every year is a team effort, and Billeci is quick to credit the contributions of A&L staff, which includes roughly 75 work-study students. “Often Roman and I get a lot of credit, but this does not work without the amazing group of people that make this machine move,” she said. “For the size of this program — a nationally respected, top-five program in the country — this group of people is so dedicated and so hard working and it’s my privilege and my pleasure to work with them every day.”

More information about A&L, including and a schedule of events, is available at www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on April 19, 2019.

New York Polyphony

New York Polyphony, photo by Chris Owyoung.

New York Polyphony, photo by Chris Owyoung.

The New Yorker calls them, “Singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure.” National Public Radio praises New York Polyphony for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts.”

Hear them for yourself when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents the two-time Grammy Award-nominated vocal chamber ensemble New York Polyphony in its Santa Barbara debut on Wednesday, February 20 at 7 p.m. at Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall (1070 Fairway Rd., Santa Barbara).

The provocative program Faith and Reason includes Thomas Tallis’ Mass for Four Voices and Gregory Brown’s Missa Charles Darwin—the inspiration behind his brother Dan Brown’s latest Da Vinci Code novel—which honors the conventions of its musical antecedents but replaces sacred texts with excerpts from Darwin’s writings. Of special note, this performance marks the return of Music Academy of the West alumnus Christopher Dylan Herbert, the group’s baritone, to his alma mater.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 19, 2019.

SBIFF 3rd Weekend: Free Films at the Riviera

Students attend Mike's Field Trip To The Movies during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).

Students attend Mike’s Field Trip To The Movies during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).

As a way to thank everyone who supported and made the Film Festival possible, Santa Barbara International Film Festival will once again be showing select award winning films from the 2019 SBIFF during the 3RD WEEKEND!

“As a thank you to our community, films we will be shown for FREE! No tickets necessary, seating will be on a first come first served basis at SBIFF’s Riviera Theatre,” according to the organizers.

Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story

Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story

Friday, February 15 – 7:30 p.m.
Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story – Winner Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International

In the world of professional sports, no athlete ever came back from a mental health disorder—until Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace.

In Love and War

In Love and War

Saturday, February 16 – 7:30 p.m.
In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed) – Winner Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent

When Esben flees the trenches of WWI after three years at the front, it’s so he can return to his beloved wife Kirstine and son Karl. But everything at home has changed.

Babysplitters

Babysplitters

Sunday, February 17 – 7:30 p.m.
Babysplitters – Winner Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema

When two couples with mixed feelings about having kids hatch a plan to have and share one baby, it seems like the perfect compromise—until things spiral out of control.

The Riviera Theatre is located at 2044 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 12, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Cheers to Wine & Spirits at SBIFF

SBIFF 2018, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation.

SBIFF 2018, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Guests at the 34th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF)—which runs from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 9 in downtown Santa Barbara—will get an extra warm welcome from our local winemakers.

Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation is sponsoring the festival and providing wine at nightly Filmmaker’s Happy Hours and post tribute Studio Parties from member wineries, including Au Bon Climat, Brander Vineyard, Brewer-Clifton, Brick Barn Wine Estate, Cambria Estate Vineyards, Folded Hills, Hitching Post Wines, Mail Road Wines, Margerum Wine Company, Nielson Winery, Pence Vineyards & Winery and Temperance Cellars.

“This is the second year the Vintners Foundation has sponsored SBIFF and we are proud to continue our support for this showcase for filmmaking and the community education programs that SBIFF organizes throughout the year for local students,” says Katy Rogers, president of Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, the charitable umbrella under which Santa Barbara Vintners conducts its philanthropic work.

At the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, January 30 in Paseo Nuevo, the wines of Brewer-Clifton, Cambria Estate Vineyards and Nielson will be served.  The Gala follows a showing of the film Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike DeGruy at the Arlington Theatre.

Belvedere Vodka bar at SBIFF 2018. Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF.

Belvedere Vodka bar at SBIFF 2018. Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF.

Belvedere Vodka will also be on hand as the sole liquor sponsor of the 34th annual festival, serving signature cocktails like the Belvedere Classic Martini and Belvedere Expresso Martini, among others. Belvedere is the official sponsor of the Cinema Vanguard Award honoring Michael B. Jordan on February 7, where the brand—named “Vodka Producer of the Year” three times in a row by the International Spirits Challenge—will spotlight its “Beautiful to see. Beautiful to experience.” campaign.

Tickets for all festival events and film screenings, are available at sbiff.org. Hope to see you there. Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 30, 2019.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Lineup

Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) opens with world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. Closing night film is Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, directed by Wyatt Daily. Just announced: Rami Malek to receive Outstanding Performer of the Year on Friday, Feb. 1. Plus tributes to Viggo Mortensen, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan and more, including 64 world premiere and 59 U.S. premiere films.

“SBIFF is an event that brings together a plethora of visitors—international, national and local filmmakers, Oscar contenders, vital educational programs,” said Executive Director Roger Durling at a kick-off press conference earlier this month.  “We have entered this year with a renewed sense of purpose and continuity with the festival and understand more than ever the important role we play in the community. As such, we have chosen to bookend our festival with two films about iconic people and places in Santa Barbara to highlight the resilience, vitality and the talent within the Santa Barbara community.”

Here’s an overview of the entire festival, which runs from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 9. 

OPENING NIGHT

SBIFF 2019 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG®, on Wednesday, January 30, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruydirected by Mimi deGruy.  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 his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed: we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.

Following the film, the Opening Night Gala, sponsored by Amazon Studios, will take place in Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. Always a fun event, the party features entertainment, food, libations, and a chance to celebrate the start of SBIFF.

CLOSING NIGHT

The Festival will close Saturday, February 9 at the Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story directed by Wyatt Daily. The Closing Night Film is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.

TRAILER – Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story from Wyatt Daily on Vimeo.

Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story is an exploration of how one of the most significant corners of the world produced, and continues to produce, some of the most talented surfers and innovators. Deeper than all is a story of craftsmanship, work ethic, renegades and tradition. This is a film that goes beyond the time spent in the ocean to define how one spends a lifetime. Following the film, SBIFF will end with a final celebration at the Closing Night Party sponsored by Amazon Studios.

THE TRIBUTES

SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy Award frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 34th SBIFF proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film.

 

  • The Outstanding Directors of the Year Award, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter, will be Thursday, January 31 at 8 pm. All five Best Director nominees will be in attendance: Alfonso Cuarón (ROMA), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
  • Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Friday, February 1 at 8 p.m.
  • Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) will receive the American Riviera Award, on Saturday, February 2 at 3 p.m.
  • Glenn Close (The Wife) will receive the Maltin Modern Master Award, moderated by longtime friend, film historian, and award namesake Leonard Maltin on Saturday, February 2 at 8 p.m.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) will receive the Montecito Award, sponsored by Bella Vista Designs, on Sunday, February 3 at 8 p.m.
  • The Variety Artisans Awards, sponsored by Variety, will take place on Monday, February 4 at 8 p.m., and will be moderated by Tim Gray. Honorees to be announced.
  • The Virtuosos Award, presented by UGG®, will be awarded to Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), and Steven Yeun (Burning) on Tuesday, February 5 at 8 p.m., moderated by Dave Karger.
  • Michael B. Jordan  (Creed II, Black Panther) will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award presented by Belvedere Vodka on Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m.

All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre with the exception of the Variety Artisans Award which will be at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai.

MIchael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.

MIchael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.

THE PANELS

SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders.

  • Producers Panel will be on Saturday, February 2 at 10 a.m., moderated by Glenn Whipp.
  • Writers Panel will be on Saturday,February 2 at 1 p.m., moderated by Anne Thompson.
  • Women’s Panel will be on Sunday, February 3 at 11 a.m., moderated by Madelyn Hammond.

All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai. Panelists to be announced.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND FREE SCREENINGS

Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies – Named for renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies uses filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident, and culturally aware thinkers. The program is offered to 4,000 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County, and SBIFF provides free transportation to students from Title I schools. This year SBIFF presents Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with directors Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., Rodney Rothman and Ralph Breaks the Internet with directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. The directors will participate in a Q&A following the screenings with the students to discuss the craft of animated filmmaking. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, Patagonia, Union Bank, Bentson Foundation and Volentine Family Foundation.

Student Film Studies Program – Returning for its fifth year thanks to the generosity of Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, the national student film studies program will bring 30 undergraduate film students from across the country for a three-day symposium with a focus on film appreciation, criticism, and analysis. Sixty college students in Santa Barbara have the opportunity to take an 11-Day Film Festival course through Santa Barbara City College.

AppleBox Family Films – SBIFF will again screen animated feature frontrunners free to families on the weekends of the Festival with complimentary popcorn and refreshments. This year’s screenings will include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (10 a.m. on February 2), Ralph Breaks the Internet (10 a.m. on February 3), and Incredibles 2 (10 a.m. on February 9). Sponsored by Metropolitan Theatres.

10–10–10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition – In October, 20 high school and college screenwriters and filmmakers were accepted after a competitive application process before beginning a series of workshops, a table read, and a casting day. Since then, the ten writer/director teams and their crews have worked with industry mentors to produce short films that will be screened on Saturday, February 9 at 2 p.m. at The Arlington Theatre, with an announcement of the winning scripts and films following the screening. Sponsored by Final Draft Inc. and generously supported by Mary Beth Riordan.

Free Public Screenings – SBIFF will again offer critically acclaimed film screenings free to the public at the Lobero Theatre presented by Toyota Mirai everyday throughout the Festival.

Filmmaker Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars that will be free to the public and will take place in the Festival Pavilion daily at 11 a.m. Filmmaker Seminars are sponsored by Driscoll’s.

Super Silent Sunday On Sunday, February 3, SBIFF will present the 1927 influential German science-fiction film Metropolis at the Arlington Theatre completely free to the public.  Live accompaniment will be provided by Adam Aceto on the theatre’s Wonder Morton pipe organ. Super Silent Sunday is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.

Youth CineMedia SBIFF presents a documentary film series produced entirely by teens involved in the Youth CineMedia program. Striving to help children transition away from gang life, drugs, and alcohol and into college and careers in music, photography, and video production, the organization offers creative tools, training, and support for underprivileged and at–risk teens.  Free to the public with Q&A following on Saturday, February 9.

FOCUS ON SANTA BARBARA

Santa Barbara Filmmakers – The Santa Barbara filmmaking community continues to captivate and inspire audiences with this year’s impressive lineup. Santa Barbara filmmakers provide a diverse, thought–provoking series of features and shorts.

The “Stand Up” Award sponsored by ADL – The Santa Barbara Tri–Counties Region of the Anti–Defamation League will be sponsoring and presenting the “ADL Stand Up Award” to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important addition to the efforts of the ADL “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” 

The Tribute Awards were once again specially designed by Santa Barbara’s own Daniel Gibbings Jewelry. The award is inspired by the iconic steeple of Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre, is handcrafted in metal, and is 24 karat gold–plated, with a custom marble base.

34th Festival Poster Barbara Boros has designed the SBIFF poster each year for 16 years, this year highlighting Butterfly Beach.

Official Festival Hub – The official festival hub will again be located at Hotel Santa Barbara, returning for their 16th year as supporters of SBIFF.

 2019 FILMS

 

Below is the list of feature and short films at the 2019 SBIFF. For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events, visit www.sbiff.org.

20 WORLD PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS (listed alphabetically)

 

Babysplitters, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Sam Friedlander

 

Better Together, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Isaac Hernández

 

The Bird Catcher, Norway, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Ross Clarke

 

Cemetery Park, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Brandon Alvis

 

Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Mimi deGruy

 

Enormous: The Gorge Story, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nic Davis

 

Find Your Groove, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Michael Kirk

 

Guest Artist, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Timothy Busfield

 

Ham on Rye, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Tyler Taormina

 

Here and Now (Aquí y ahora), Costa Rica – World Premiere

Directed by Paz León

 

Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Jason Baffa

 

Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film, USA – World Premiere

Directed by William Conlin

 

The Map to Paradise, Australia – World Premiere

Directed by Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood

 

Ordinary Gods, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Pascui Rivas

 

Peel, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Rafael Monserrate

 

Quiet Storm, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Johnny Sweet

 

Silent Forests, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Mariah Wilson

 

Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Wyatt Daily

 

Working Man, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Robert Jury

 

Zulu Summer, South Africa, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader

 

51 U.S. PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS (listed alphabetically)

 

Alone at My Wedding (Seule à mon mariage), Belgium – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Marta Bergman

 

Amá, UK – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Lorna Tucker

 

Angel Face (Gueule d’ange), France – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Vanessa Filho

 

The Apollo of Gaza (L’Apollon de Gaza), Switzerland, Canada – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Nicolas Wadimoff

 

Belmonte, Uruguay, Spain, Mexico – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Federico Veiroj

 

Betrayal (Traición), Mexico – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ignacio Ortiz Cruz

 

Break (Recreo), Argentina – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Hernán Guerschuny and Jazmín Stuart

 

Breaking Habits, USA – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Robert Ryan

 

Celeste, Australia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ben Hackworth

 

Crystal Swan (Khrustal), Belarus – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Darya Zhuk

 

The Dead and the Others (Chuva é cantoria na aldeia dos mortos), Brazil, Portugal – U.S. Premiere

Directed by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora

 

Emma Peeters, Canada, Belgium – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Nicole Palo

 

Ether (Eter), Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Krzysztof Zanussi

 

Fine Lines, Hong Kong – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Dina Khreino

 

Fly by Night (Fei chang dao), Malaysia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Zahir Omar

 

Freaks, USA – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky

 

Helmet Heads (Cascos indomables), Chile, Costa Rica – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Neto Villalobos

 

Here and Now, Israel – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Roman Shumunov

 

Holy Tour (La grande messe), Belgium, France – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Méryl Fortunat-Rossi and Valéry Rosier

 

I Act, I Am (Igram, sem), Slovenia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Miroslav Mandic

 

Joel, Argentina – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Carlos Sorín

 

José, Guatemala, USA – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Li Cheng

 

Journey to a Mother’s Room (Viaje al cuarto de una madre), Spain – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Celia Rico Clavellino

 

King Bibi: The Life and Performances of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, USA – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Dan Shadur

 

Land of Hope (Oma maa), Finland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Markku Pölönen

 

Land of My Children (Im land meiner kinder), Germany, Switzerland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Darío Aguirre

 

The Laps: Tasmania, Australia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Dustin Hollick and Angie Davis

 

Les Dames (Ladies), Switzerland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond

 

Metal Heart, Ireland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Hugh O’Conor

 

Murderous Trance aka The Guardian Angel, Finland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Arto Halonen

 

My Own Good (Il bene mio), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Pippo Mezzapesa

 

Nose to Tail, Canada – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Jesse Zigelstein

 

Not Quite Adults (Tampoco tan grandes), Argentina – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Federico Sosa

 

Tampoco Tan Grandes (Not Quite Adults), by Federico Sosa (Arg., 2018) / TRAILER with English subtitles. from Pampa Films on Vimeo.

Pause (Pafsi), Cyprus – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Tonia Mishiali

 

Phoenix (Føniks), Norway – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Camilla Strøm Henriksen

 

Private Album, Israel – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Kobi Farag

 

Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz, Canada – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Barry Avrich

 

Put Grandma in the Freezer (Metti la nonna in freezer), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Giancarlo Fontana and Giuseppe Stasi

 

A Seed for Change, Greece – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Alexandros Ikonomidis

 

Sıren’s Call (Son Çikiş), Turkey – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ramin Matin

 

Tell It to the Bees, USA – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Annabel Jankel

 

Two Times You (Dos veces tú), Mexico – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Salomón Askenazi

 

Ulysses & Mona, France – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Sébastien Betbeder

 

The Unorthodox (Ha-Bilti Rishmi’im), Israel – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Eliran Malka

 

Van Goghs (Van Gogi), Latvia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Sergey Livnev

 

Virgin and Extra: The Land of Olive Oil (Jaén, virgen y extra), Spain – U.S. Premiere

Directed by José Luis López Linares

 

What Have We Done to Deserve This? (Womit haben wir das verdient?), Austria – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Eva Spreitzhofer

 

Wherever You Are (Ovunque proteggimi), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Bonifacio Angius

 

Wild Kids, Israel – US Premiere

Directed by Tal Pesses

 

With the Wind (Le vent tourne), Switzerland, France – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Bettina Oberli

 

The Young Fan (Il ragazzo più felice del mondo), Italy – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Gianni Pacinotti (Gipi)

 

2019 SBIFF FEATURE FILMS  (non-premieres listed alphabetically)

 

Afterward, USA

Directed by Ofra Bloch

 

Amazing Grace, USA

Directed by Sydney Pollack, completed by Alan Elliott

 

Angel (Un ange), Belgium, Netherlands, Senegal

Directed by Koen Mortier

 

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Canada

Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky

 

As Needed (Quanto basta), Italy, Brazil

Directed by Francesco Falaschi

 

Ash Is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv), China

Directed by Jia Zhang-ke

 

Between the Lines, USA – *World Premiere Restoration

Directed by Joan Micklin Silver

 

The Biggest Little Farm, USA

Directed by John Chester

 

Carmen y Lola, Spain

Directed by Arantxa Echevarría

 

Carmine Street Guitars, Canada

Directed by Ron Mann

 

Cassandro the Exotico!, France

Directed by Marie Losier

 

Champions (Campeones), Spain

Directed by Javier Fesser

 

David Crosby: Remember My Name, USA

Directed by A.J. Eaton

 

Echo in the Canyon, USA

Directed by Andrew Slater

 

The Factory (Zavod), Russia, France, Armenia

Directed by Yury Bykov

 

Fire on the Hill: The Cowboys of South Central L.A., USA

Directed by Brett Fallentine

 

Gatao 2: Rise of the King, Taiwan

Directed by Yen Cheng-Kuo

 

Harvest Season, USA

Directed by Bernardo Ruiz

 

The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution, Canada

Directed by Maya Gallus

 

Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America, Canada

Directed by Brigitte Berman

 

I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story, Australia, USA

Directed by Jessica Leski

 

Incredibles 2, USA

Directed by Brad Bird

 

Inside Lehman Brothers, Canada

Directed by Jennifer Deschamps

 

Laila at the Bridge, Canada, Afghanistan

Directed by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei

 

The Last Prosecco (Finché c’è prosecco c’è speranza), Italy

Directed by Antonio Padovan

 

Light in the Water, USA

Directed by Lis Bartlett

 

Maya, France

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve

 

Mouthpiece, Canada

Directed by Patricia Rozema

 

Outdoors (Bayit Bagalil), Israel

Directed by Asaf Saban

 

The Parting Glass, Canada, USA

Directed by Stephen Moyer

 

Ralph Breaks the Internet, USA

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore

 

Shadow, China

Directed by Zhang Yimou

 

Sharkwater Extinction, Canada

Directed by Rob Stewart

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, USA

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman

 

Stockholm, Canada, Sweden, USA

Directed by Robert Budreau

 

Take It or Leave It (Võta või jäta), Estonia

Directed by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo

 

The Third Wife, Vietnam

Directed by Ash Mayfair

 

This Changes Everything, USA

Directed by Tom Donahue

 

A Thousand Miles Behind, USA

Directed by Nathan Wetherington

 

Too Beautiful: Our Right to Fight, USA

Directed by Maceo Frost

 

Transit, Germany, France

Directed by Christian Petzold

 

Unsettling, UK, Israel

Directed by Iris Zaki

 

Winter Flies (Všechno bude), Czech Republic

Directed by Olmo Omerzu

 

2019 SBIFF SHORTS – (listed alphabetically)

42 WORLD PREMIERES AND 8 U.S. PREMIERES

 

1 in 100,000, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Benjamin Yates

 

805 Strong, USA

Produced by Ellie Vargas

 

Accident (Ongelukje), Netherlands – U.S. Premiere

Directed by David Cocheret


Ah Gong (Grandpa), Taiwan – World Premiere

Directed by Clifford Miu

BIG DATA – “L1ZY”, USA

Directed by Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci

 

The Bird & the Whale, Ireland – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Carol Freeman

 

Birth of a Movement, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Paul Lynch

Black Lips, Australia

Directed by Adrian Chiarella

 

Buzzer, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Albert Birney

 

CC, Canada

Directed by Kailey Spear and Sam Spear

 

The Cheshire Cat Inn, USA

Directed by Joshua Sechrist

 

The Clinic, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Elivia Shaw

 

A Cohort of Guests, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Todd Sandler

 

Cruisin’ Santa Barbara, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Justin Gunn

 

Damage, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Matt Porter

 

Definition of Resilience, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alexis Sallee and Tomas Karmelo


Dream Girl, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Ryan Slattery and Andrea Sanchez


Duel of the Hearts, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Harrison Derbyshire

 

Dust Devil, Australia

Directed by Poppy Walker

Esfuerzo, USA

Directed by Alana Maiello

 

EZK: Beyond the Walls (EZK: Au-delà des murs), France – World Premiere

Directed by Shawn Pyfrom

 

The Fallen Tree, USA

Directed by Drew Hodges

 

Fathom, USA

Directed by Alessio Morello

 

Forgotten, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Daniel Soares

 

From Water to Wind, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Casey McGarry

 

The Garden Is Singing: Ganna Walska Lotusland, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Karen Kasaba

 

Guns Found Here, USA

Directed by David Freid


Henrietta Bulkowski, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Rachel Johnson

 

Hidden Blueprints: The Story of Mikey, USA

Directed by Jeremy Lee MacKenzie

 

Holding, USA

Directed by Jesse Turk and Jon Zucker


Inanimate, UK

Directed by Lucia Bulgheroni

 

Inlove, France

Directed by Les Frères Lopez

 

jack, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nick Paonessa

 

John Van Hamersveld – Crazy World Ain’t It, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Dave Tourjé

 

Jump, Australia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ryan O’Kane and James Conway-Law

 

Last Day of School (Paskutinis skambutis), USA, Lithuania – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Gabriele Urbonaite


The Last Harvest, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alexis Spraic

 

Love Is Never Wasted, USA

Directed by Nathanael Matanick

 

The Mayor, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Taylor Horky


Mitya’s Love (Mitina Lyubov), Russia – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Svetlana Filippova

 

MOOSE, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Jonah Ansell

 

My Brother Amal (Amali bram), Norway – U.S. Premiere

Directed Christopher Wollebekk

My Moon, USA

Directed by Eusong Lee

 

Near Miss, USA

Directed by Josh Berry

 

No Traveler Returns (D’où nul ne revient), USA, Ivory Coast – World Premiere

Directed by Ellie Foumbi

 

Nothing Ever Good Happens in a Parking Garage, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Mike Winger

 

November 1st, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Charlie Manton

 

Opening the Earth: The Potato King, Peru, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Eric Ebner and Aaron Ebner

 

Our Last Trash, USA

Directed by Joanne Yue

 

Reboot, USA

Directed by Ellen Osborne

 

RETURN: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health and Spirit, USA

Directed by Karen Cantor

 

Reverence (Curtain Call), Iran – World Premiere

Directed by Sogol Rezvani

 

The Running Man of Pasadena, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Brett Nicoletti

 

The Salty Generations, USA

Directed by Shaun Wolfe and Shelby Oliver

 

The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism, USA

Directed by Peter Samis

 

Second Unit: A Mockumentary, USA

Directed Ankush Khemani

 

Secret Times, Belarus, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Montanah Blue

 

Selling Lies, USA

Directed by Leslie Iwerks

 

Set on Intent, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Tate Larrick

 

Silence (Sunyi), USA – World Premiere

Directed by Riani Singgih

SPIN, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Marielle Woods

 

Start with Half, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nathaniel Katzman

 

Stunning, USA, Sweden

Directed by Gustav Högmo

 

Tala,, UK – World Premiere

Directed by Missy Malek

 

This Side Has Dreams Too, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Spencer Rabin

 

Tino, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Robin Hauser


Too Many Bodies, USA

Directed by Reena Dutt


Trail Heads, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Dani Rodriguez


Treat Yourself, USA

Directed by Nathan Leonard


Trial by Fire, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alex Astrella

 

True Love / True Crime on an American Bus, USA

Directed by Nicholas Coles

Tweet-Tweet, Russia

Directed by Zhanna Bekmambetova

 

VACA, Spain – U.S. Premiere

Directed by Marta Bayarri

 

The Video Shop, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Isaac Seigel-Boettner

 

We Are Love, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Nick Lentz

 

White Guys Solve Sexism, USA

Directed by Christopher Guerrero


Who You Are, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Joel Jay Blacker

 

You Say Hello, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Lovell Holder

 

You Think You Can’t Dance?, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani

Zombie Debt, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Ashly Blodgett

For more information and updates, visit sbiff.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 29, 2019.

 

Cocktail Corner: Constellation Pop-Up at Hotel Californian

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for something fun to do to chase those winter blues away. Why not check out the first-ever foodie, wine, mixology & indie music weekend at Hotel Californian (36 State St., Santa Barbara) from January 25-27.

“This is the first of a new quarterly weekend series that will bring inspiring culinary, musical and cultural experiences to Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighborhood,” says Niki Jenson, who represents Hotel Californian.  

Featuring chefs, indie musicians, vibey DJ beats and community vintners, this sounds like something that shouldn’t be missed. Highlights include Friday night’s “meet the makers” opening night reception with a vibey beats from Boom Forest, along with Bittercube Cocktails, Potek Wine and light bites.

There will be a Bittercube mixology class—the Seven Pillars of Classic Cocktails—on Saturday in Hotel Californian’s sexy new Djinn lobby bar. Bittercube is a Wisconsin-based line of densely flavored cocktail bitters that are created by hand with real botanicals, taking as long as 25 days to complete the process. 

As part of Hotel Californian's Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

As part of Hotel Californian’s Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

Saturday evening features a chef & winemaker reception and six-course dinner from Guest Chefs Justin Carlisle & Chris Mangless, featuring wines by Russel From of Herman Story (Paso Robles), Vailia Esh of Desparada (Paso Robles), and Dave Potter (who we just featured in the winter issue of Santa Barbara Seasons) of Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara).

 

Later that night (Jan. 26) is an indie pop-up concert with Langhorne Slim, Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers and Chris Porterfield of Field Report.

Stelth Ulvang – Clocktower (live at Scandinavia) from The Sights Of Sounds on Vimeo.

And if that’s not enough excitement, Sunday features a winemaker brunch featuring wines from Dave Potter of Municipal Winemakers.

Tickets are still available, click here to access them (choose among individual event tickets or two VIP Packages). This should be a really fun weekend. I hope to see some of you there.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 21, 2019.

 

 

Legacies: Santa Barbara International Film Festival Will Dazzle Once Again

Actresses Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and moderator Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers Honoring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Presented By Belvedere Vodka during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 8, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Rebecca Sapp, Getty Images for SBIFF.

Actresses Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and moderator Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers Honoring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Presented By Belvedere Vodka during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 8, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Rebecca Sapp, Getty Images for SBIFF.

By Leslie Dinaberg

A joyous celebration of the art of cinema, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is one of the leading film festivals in the U.S., offering its 90,000 attendees (comprised of an eclectic mix of locals and visitors from around the world) an 11-day experience jam-packed with 200+ films, tributes and panels.

Among the highlights of the 2019 festival, taking place Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, are the celebrity tributes at the historic Arlington Theatre. First up (at press time) is the American Riviera Award honoring Viggo Mortensen on the afternoon of Feb. 2. Mortensen will be recognized for his many attributes to the art of film over the years, and most recently, his work in Green Book.

Viggo Mortensen, courtesy SBIFF.

Viggo Mortensen, courtesy SBIFF.

“Viggo is one of the steadiest acting forces in cinema and one of its greatest chameleons,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “As Tony Lip in Green Book, he delivers the capstone to his remarkable career. He encapsulates the American Riviera Award. We greatly admire and love him.”

Glenn Close, courtesy SBIFF.

Glenn Close, courtesy SBIFF.

That same evening, Glenn Close is set to receive the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award. Close will be honored for her longstanding contributions to the film industry, most recently gracing the silver screen in The Wife. Leonard Maltin will return for his 28th year to moderate the evening.

“Glenn Close is one of the great actresses of our time. Versatility is her hallmark, and there is clearly nothing she can’t do. She became a star with her first feature film, The World According to Garp, and has gone on to play everyone from Cruella de Vil to aging silent-film star Norma Desmond in the stage musical of Sunset Blvd. I can’t wait to spend an evening with her onstage at the Arlington Theatre,” states Maltin.

Melissa McCarty, courtesy SBIFF.

Melissa McCarty, courtesy SBIFF.

Melissa McCarthy will receive the prestigious Montecito Award, for her starring role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Given to a person in the entertainment industry who has made a great contribution to film, the award will be presented to her on Feb. 3.

“Melissa McCarthy—always a compelling talent—triumphs as Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?” says Durling. “She’s funny, dark, caustic and oh so vulnerable. SBIFF is so pleased to be able to award this performance and her career so far.”

SBIFF Virtuosos Award presented by UGG honoring Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman),and Steven Yeun (Burning). Photos courtesy SBIFF.

SBIFF Virtuosos Award presented by UGG honoring Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman),and Steven Yeun (Burning). Photos courtesy SBIFF.

Always a fun and lively presentation, the Virtuosos Award is an honor created to recognize a select group of talent whose noteworthy performances in film have elevated them into the national cinematic dialogue. Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), and Steven Yeun (Burning) will receive the award on Feb. 5.

“From talented teenagers starring in their first feature films to veteran actors shining in career-best performances, this year’s
Virtuosos prove that you can have a breakout moment at any point in your career,” says Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger, who will preside over the evening for the eighth consecutive year.

Michael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.

Michael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.

Michael B. Jordan is set to receive the Cinema Vanguard Award on Feb. 7 for his work in two of the year’s critically acclaimed,
culturally significant and record-breaking box office hits, Black Panther and Creed II.

“It’s thrilling to honor Michael B. Jordan this year for the emboldened way he’s shown us what it means to be a movie star for the 21st century—mixing sensitivity with swagger, choosing important material that remains full of integrity yet become world phenomenon, and forging a cinematic partnership with visionary director Ryan Coogler,” says Durling.

SBIFF educational offerings include a Film Studies Program for undergraduate students from around the U.S., and the 10-10-10 (Ten Writers – Ten Directors – Ten Films) Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition. There are also numerous other educational opportunities for local students and community members. For more information and the complete schedule, visit sbiff.org.

Actor Sam Rockwell speaks onstage at The American Riviera Award Honoring Sam Rockwell during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for SBIFF.

Actor Sam Rockwell speaks onstage at The American Riviera Award Honoring Sam Rockwell during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for SBIFF.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.