SBIFF American Riviera Award Honors Sam Rockwell

SBIFF American Riviera Award honoring Sam Rockwell, courtesy photos.

SBIFF American Riviera Award honoring Sam Rockwell, courtesy photos.

Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award winner Sam Rockwell is being honored with the 2018 American Riviera Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF).

Rockwell’s tribute celebrates his acclaimed performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

“In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, audiences are treated to the kind of mesmerizing and extraordinary performance we have come to expect from Sam Rockwell,” states Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF. “We are long overdue to celebrate this tremendous talent who has lit up the screen for decades.”

The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. Rockwell will join a prestigious group of past recipients, including Jeff Bridges, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke, Tommy Lee Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane.

The 33rd edition of the Festival runs from January 31 to February 10 and the American Riviera Award takes place on Wednesday, February 7, at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St..

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2018.

Warren Beatty to Receive SBIFF’s Kirk Douglas Award

Legendary filmmaker Warren Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in RULES DON’T APPLY, which Beatty wrote, directed and produced. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel.

Legendary filmmaker Warren Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in RULES DON’T APPLY, which Beatty wrote, directed and produced. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will honor Academy Award winner Warren Beatty with the 11th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Bacara Resort & Spa on December 1, with all funds raised supporting SBIFF’s free year-round educational programs.

Known for his iconic roles in films such as Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds and Dick Tracy, all of which he produced; Beatty’s next film, Rules Don’t Apply—an original story which he wrote, directed, produced and stars—will be released on November 23.

“Warren Beatty upholds the highest artistic standards of the film industry,” says Kirk Douglas, original award recipient. “His choice of material has entertained us as well as made us think more deeply about the world we live in. I’m delighted he is accepting this recognition of his extraordinary talent.”

Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, which this year coincides with Douglas’s 100th birthday, has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta. All funds raised from the event will be used to support SBIFF’s free educational 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.

The 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place February 111. For more information, please visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on September 20, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Toasting the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Even movie stars shine a little brighter when you give them a perfect cocktail. Since the stars will be out in full force this week, here’s where I would take some of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival VIPs out for drinks:

Harry's (courtesy photo)

Harry’s (courtesy photo)

Golden Globe winning director Ben Affleck, whose terrific film Argo seems to be the Oscar front runner at the moment, is a down-to-earth guy who would appreciate the local charm and flavor of Harry’s—not to mention the generous drinks. Perhaps after he receives the Modern Master Award on January 25 he’ll join us for a Dirty Martini at Harry’s. Made the old-fashioned way, with Bombay Gin, Dry Vermouth, a splash of olive juice, and a “family of olives,” like Affleck, this drink is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The Biltmore's Smoked Maple Manhattan (courtesy photo)

The Biltmore’s Smoked Maple Manhattan (courtesy photo)

This Saturday night the whole town’s got a date with Daniel Day Lewis when he accepts the Montecito Award on January 26.

Be still my heart.

After years of lusting after Daniel Day Lewis (for his brain, of course, not to mention his smoldering Irish accent) I think its only fitting that before he takes the stage at the Arlington that night we should enjoy an ocean view sunset cocktail together at Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore in Montecito. I think Daniel would appreciate the poetry of a Smoked Maple Manhattan, made with hickory smoked Maker’s Mark bourbon, Bliss maple syrup infused vermouth, shaken straight up and garnished with a brandied cherry or two.

Quentin Tarantino will receive the American Riviera Awardon January 30. He’s a great raconteur in any setting, but I think he’d revel in both the view and the cocktails at The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, one of Santa Barbara’s loveliest spots for drinks. My personal favorite is the Blood Orange Margarita, made from El Charro 100% Agave Tequila, with fresh blood orange juice, fresh lime, Triple Sec and a splash of sweet and sour, served on the rocks. I also love the Honeycomb Mojito: Myers Platinum Rum with honeycomb simple syrup, a squeeze of lime, mint, and a splash of club soda.

The enchanting Amy Adams is in town next Thursday, January 31, to receive the Cinema Vanguard Award for her work in The Master. This woman’s versatility is amazing. I’ve loved her in everything from serious dramas (Doubt, The Fighter) to lighthearted films (Enchanted, The Trouble With the Curve). I’d take Amy to Kunin Wine Tasting Room on the Urban Wine Trail. I think she’d appreciate the elegance and local flavor of this great spot, as well as a glass of Seth Kunin’s 2007 Santa Barbara County Syrah. Crafted from three different local vineyards, it’s a smoky, spicy taste of Syrah—and Santa Barbara.

Kunin Tasting Room (courtesy photo)

Kunin Tasting Room (courtesy photo)

Finally Jennifer Lawrence, who was fabulous in both the Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook this year, will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year award on Saturday, February 2. I think she’d enjoy cocktails on the patio at Blush. I have a feeling she’d like one of their fruity fun libations, like the Melted Popsicle (Stoli Raspberry Vodka, Cointreau, fresh oranges, cranberry and lemonade) or Pineapple Smash (Pineapple-infused Skyy Vodka, agave nectar, lime juice, pineapple and jalapeno). Who knows, we might even go ballroom dancing later … when Bradley Cooper shows up.

Seriously, if any of you are reading this—especially Daniel Day Lewis—drinks are on me. Cheers!

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Leslie Dinaberg, hard at work. Photo by Derek Johnson.

Leslie Dinaberg, hard at work. Photo by Derek Johnson.

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 25, 2013.