These stories were originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent in August 2022.
I had the honor of writing the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa Barbara winners once again this year. It was a huge, fun project, and a little easier the second time around. Even (or maybe especially) in this weird year, people were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing by clicking here, or on the PDFs below.
Introduction + Eating 770 10-15-20_Part1
Eating 770 10-15-20_Part2
Eating, Drink, Out & About + Romance 770 10-15-20_Part3
Romance 770 10-15-20_Part4
Romance, Looking Good, Living Well, Sporting Life, Little Creatures, Housing + Driving 770 10-15-20_Part5
Driving + Media 770 10-15-20_Part6
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 12, 2019.
An excited, sold out crowd greeted Melissa McCarthy as she entered the stage to sit in conversation with IndieWire Editor at Large, Anne Thompson, to discuss her beginnings on stage, what she learned from her time at the Groundlings, and her future behind the camera.
Discussing her early days doing stand-up comedy, McCarthy says one of the reasons she didn’t do it for long was that she “never walked into a room where a guy didn’t tell me, ‘Take your shirt off!’ and they are just yelling at you. They would keep yelling until you have to embarrass them, but then you spend four of your five minutes eviscerating them.”
She confided that her actress friend Jennifer Coolidge (perhaps best known for playing Stifler’s Mom in American Pie) made a call to a casting agent, which ultimately earned McCarthy her first movie role, in the 1999 Doug Liman directed film, Go. Her first big television role, as “Sookie” on Gilmore Girls was originally to be played by Alex Borstein (currently co-starring in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) who was contractually obligated to MadTV at the time. McCarthy is still stunned that her first job on Gilmore Girls lasted for seven years.
On her memorable scene in the pawn shop in The Hangover—where she ignores Bradley Cooper to flirt with Zach Galifianakis—McCarthy says, “I thought, I wonder if anyone has ever just shunned Bradley off like this. I thought, this is probably good for him.”
As for her future projects, McCarthy says, “I am ready to direct. I did some Mike and Molly’s and I did a short for the Oscars and I loved it. I would like to not be in it. I just want to be there and concentrate on the people in it.”
McCarthy’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Richard E. Grant presented the award and began his presentation with a google translation of the meaning of McCarthy, “loving.” Grant says, “I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have loving words to say about her.” McCarthy accepted her award giving thanks to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for “shining a light on these types of movies.”
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 8, 2019.
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 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.
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 (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.
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 deGruy, directed 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
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
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
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
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
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
Directed by Jesse Turk and Jon Zucker
Directed by Lucia Bulgheroni
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
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
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.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 29, 2019.
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 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.”
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 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.”
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 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.
Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) honors Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman with the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. The award will be presented at a black-tie Gala dinner at The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave.) on Monday, November 19.
Jackman is best known for Oscar-nominated films The Greatest Showman and Les Miserables, and for starring as Wolverine in The X-Men franchise. Jackman will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, in theaters this month.
“I am delighted that Hugh Jackman will receive the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award. He’s an exceptional talent of stage and screen, and one of the nicest people in the business. It’s my honor to have my name linked with his on this year’s award,” states Douglas.
Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Dame Judi Dench, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta.
The black tie event is a fundraiser for SBIFF’s educational programs. For tickets and additional information, visit http://sbiff.org/events/kirk_douglas_award/.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2018.
It’s hard to believe but The Rocky Horror Picture Show is celebrating 40 years of entertaining audiences. Come watch a special live shadow cast at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 26. The film’s lead actor, Barry Bostwick, will be there. And following the screening, Bostwick will dish on all his best behind-the-scenes stories during a live talkback and Q&A.
For the past four decades, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has grown to become a phenomenon that has sparked fans to dress up and shout lines in movie theaters across the world. This scene is predominant during the Halloween season. Audience members are known for dressing as the characters, and performing alongside the film, miming the actions on the screen above and behind them, while lip-synching their character’s lines. This method of shadow casting will be on display this Friday night.
Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 21-and-older venue. Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Indulge or online at chumashcasino.com.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 25, 2018.
A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg
With Oscar’s big night coming up soon (March 4), Cocktail Chameleon author and entertainment expert Mark Addison has created a slate of lovely libations that are perfect to serve at your Academy Awards viewing party next weekend. The book—which takes a dozen classic cocktails and creates a dozen different variations for each one of them—was recently named the “Best in the U.S.” by the Gourmand Cookbook Awards and chosen one of the top six in the world to compete for the global title in May 2018.
No matter what your favorite film of the year was, here’s a celebratory recipe just for you.
And the nominees are:
- Darkest Hour: The Churchill
- Call Me By Your Name: Apricot Negroni Spritzer
- The Shape of Water: Swamp Fizz
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Three Cocktails from Inside Missouri
- Missouri Mule
- Missouri Manhattan (aka Moonshine Manhattan)
- Missouri Martini
- Dunkirk: Dunkirk Toddy
- Phantom Thread: Dark Love
- The Post: Black & White and Read All Over
- Get Out: The Sunken Place
- Lady Bird: Kiwi Punch (aka Flightless Bird)
The Churchill Champagne Cocktail is a variation of a Manhattan-style cocktail created for Winston Churchill in the 1940’s at the Savoy hotel in London. This version features his beloved Scotch whisky and champagne, which he reportedly drank most every day from noon to night.
Film: Darkest Hour
(variation on the Champagne Cocktail)
1 oz. Scotch whisky (Churchill preferred Johnnie Walker)
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. Cointreau
2 oz. champagne
Garnish: lemon peel
Glassware: 8 oz. Tiffany & Co. Vintage Coupe Glass (7” h)
Shake ingredients together with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe and top with chilled champagne. Garnish with the lemon peel.
“The themes in Three Billboards… are dark and horrific, which is challenging to draw inspiration from for a festive Oscar cocktail…,” says Addison, who instead chose to draw inspiration from the title and the film’s location. “Three Cocktails…” features Missouri-based spirits incorporated into classic cocktails with a distinctively Ozark ingredients and themes.
Three Cocktails from inside Missouri
1 1/2 oz. Missouri Sprits Bourbon Whiskey
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Campari
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
Garnish: lemon wheel
Glassware: 16 oz. Christofle Highball Glass (6” h)
Combine with ice, shake and pour into a highball glass. Garnish with lemon wheel.
2 oz. Missouri Sprits Corn Whiskey
1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish: maraschino cherry, one king ice cube
Glassware: 8 oz. Christofle Old Fashion (3” h)
In a mixing glass with ice, combine the ingredients and stir well. Strain over a king cube in an old fashion glass. Garnish with a cherry.
2 oz. Missouri Sprits Vodka
1/4-oz. extra dry vermouth
1/4-oz. pickle juice
1 dash of hot sauce
Garnish: dill pickle spear
Glassware: 8 oz. Christofle Martini Glass (6 1/2” h)
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain contents into chilled martini glass and garnish with pickle.
Film: Call me by Your Name
The iconic Italian Negroni is updated with apricot liqueur and French dry vermouth inspired the film’s Italian location, the apricot orchards surrounding family’s Italian countryside villa and the French heritage of romantic lead character, Elio. Addison notes, “No peaches were harmed in the making of this cocktail… (too soon?).”
Apricot Negroni Spritzer
1 1/4 oz. gin
1 1/4 oz.
French dry vermouth
3/4 oz. Aperol
1/4 oz. apricot liqueur
3 dashes of orange bitters
Garnish: orange peel & apricot wedge
Glassware: 16 oz. Chateau Baccarat Tumbler (3 1/2″ h)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and slowly stir to chill. Pour into a tumbler and garnish with a peach slice and a cherry.
Film: Shape of Water
Fizz cocktails were at their height of popularity in the 50’s and 60’s during which the Shape of Water is set. The Swamp Fizz combines green Crème De Menthe (also immensely popular in the era), citrus, sugar and club soda in classic fizz proportions with egg whites for added fizz and accentuates the Creatures’ favorite food, eggs!
2 oz. gin
1 Tsp. Green Crème De Menthe
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
1 Tsp. Superfine Sugar
Garnish: lime zest
Glassware: 16 oz. Tiffany & Co. Vintage Highball Glass (5 1/2″ h)
Add gin, crème de menthe, lemon juice, sugar and egg white to your shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into Collins glass over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with lime zest.
Inspired by struggle of evacuate the Allied soldiers from the beaches of France under attack by German forces, the Dunkirk Toddy blends a classic English hot beverage with French cognac and Benedictine, resulting in a Franco-British hot cocktail that any of the 300,000 soldiers rescued in the operation would appreciate.
The traditional Hot Toddy recipe is made with whisky but to give the classic Toddy a French twist Addison substitutes equal parts French cognac and Benedictine Dom with its lovely warming flavors and its pronounced herbal and spicy tones.
1 oz. Benedictine Dom
1 oz. French cognac
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 lemon peel
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. honey
Top with hot water
Garnish: one cinnamon stick
Glassware: 8 oz. Bormioli Rocco Oslo Coffee Cup (3 3/4″ h)
Fix the cloves into the wedge of lemon and put into a glass mug. Add
all the other ingredients and top with hot water. Stir gently
Film: Phantom Thread
Dark Love is a champagne cocktail that embodies the volatile love affair between 50’s fashion couturier and a young waitress. Parfait Amour (or Perfect Love) is a French violet liqueur, which when combined with blue curacao takes on a blackish tone. The blend of the eau de vie (water of life), Parfait amour and champagne creates a sweet rich libation that is impossible to resist… submit to this Dark Love.
(variation on Perfect Love from Cocktail Chameleon)
1 oz. Parfait Amour (violet liqueur)
1/2 oz. eau de vie Poire (pear brandy)
1/2 oz. blue curacao
5 oz. Champagne, chilled
Garnish: orchid flower
Glassware: 8 oz. Chateau Baccarat Flute (9 1/2″ h)
Fill the shaker with ice, then add the Parfait Amour, brandy and liqueur, shaking until well chilled.
Film: The Post
“What’s black, white and red all over…? The most infamous newspaper, The Washington Post,” says Addison. Known for exposing the Watergate scandal and Pentagon Papers, the latest film The Post (and this cocktail) draw allusions to the then and current presidencies. Black, White, and Read All Over looks like an all American coffee but a white Russian lurks under the surface and is stained by a red cherry syrup.
Black & White and Read All Over
2 oz. cold-press coffee
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. orange liqueur
1 oz. half & half
Garnish: 1/2 oz. maraschino cherry juice
Glassware: 8 oz. Libbey Irish Coffee Mug (5 3/4″ h)
Fill the shaker with ice and add the coffee, vodka and liqueurs, shaking until well chilled. Pour into the glass and float the half & half on top by slowly pouring it over the back of the spoon followed by the cherry juice.
Film: Get Out
The character of Chris agrees to be hypnotized by his girlfriend’s mother to cure his smoking addiction but instead, sinks into the “sunken place” where after an operation to transplant the mind of a white man into his body, Chris would remain in the void watching powerlessly. The Sunken Place cocktail looks innocuous on the surface but has a dark underside trapped beneath.
The Sunken Place
2 oz. rum
1 oz. coconut rum
2 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. cream of coconut
½ oz. blue curacao
½ oz. grenadine
Glassware: 12 oz. Mikasa Cheers Martini Glass (7 1/2″ h)
Combine rums, pineapple juice and cream of coconut in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. Combine the blue curacao and grenadine and slowly drizzle down the side of the glass. It will settle at the bottom and create a beautiful “black and white” layered look.
Film: Lady Bird
The Kiwi Punch represents the struggle of Lady Bird (aka Christine) who desperately wants to fly-off to an out-of-state college but feels grounded by her over protective and critical mother. A Kiwi is a flightless bird native of New Zealand as well as a fruit also from New Zealand. Kiwifruit give this punch it’s fruity punch and is served in a soda glass making it look unassuming while packing another punch of vodka. *simply omit the vodka for a non-alcoholic version sans the punch!
Kiwi Punch (aka Flightless Bird) – Serves 8
2 cups kiwi, peeled and diced
12 mint leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
3 limes, juiced
2 cups vodka
2 cups tonic water
1 kiwi, thinly sliced for garnish
Garnish: Star fruit slice, mint sprigs
Glassware: 16 oz. Riedel Coca Cola Glass (6 1/2″ h)
In a pitcher, combine diced kiwis, mint leaves, sugar, and ½ lime juiced. Muddle the contents until fully combined. Fill the pitcher with ice and top off with vodka and tonic water. Stir, pour into eight tumbler glasses over ice making sure each glass receives equal amounts of kiwi and mint leaves. Garnish with a star fruit slice and mint sprig.
Addison’s mantra—which I’m a big fan of—is “It’s called entertaining for a reason; you’ve got to have fun while you do it.” So have fun … and let us know about it (or better yet, invite us)!
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 February 24, 2018.