Tag archives: film festival

Lola Blanche
By Sigrid Toye   |   March 22, 2022

One of the gems presented in the short film program of the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival was a 13-minute beautifully shot piece titled Kissy and the Shark helmed by writer/director Lola Blanche. In its brief running time, the film covers a myriad of topics that include nuanced views of interpersonal relationships, humanity’s deep […]

Oscar & SBIFF: Friends Forever
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 22, 2022

Let’s get this out of the way: there is no way that we have the space to cite even a single sentence from each of the Academy Award nominees who set foot on the stage at the Arlington Theatre during the 37th annual SBIFF – but here are a few pithy comments: Will Smith (commenting […]

Festival Finale
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 10, 2022

Just three days are left in Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) ‘22, but that’s still plenty of time to partake of a plethora of movies in virtually every genre as a significant percentage of the films are either premiering or having second screenings March 10-12, while others might enjoy a third showing to fill […]

Bisset en Rose
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 3, 2022

There’s something appealing about seeing an aging actress playing an aging actress discussing acting, movies, and life in a movie. Not in the least because it’s still exceedingly difficult for actresses “of a certain age” – even in our era of more awareness – to find meaty roles.  That’s partly why the veteran British star […]

SBIFF’s New Programmer Provides Critic-al Thinking
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 1, 2022

One year after the Santa Barbara International Film Festival went virtual with a bonus drive-in at the beach option, the city’s signature wintertime event is back as a full 11-day extravaganza. The festival is back to full-strength complete with Oscar-nominated movie stars doing on-stage interviews at the Arlington (with Penélope Cruz joining a line-up that […]

SBIFF’s Acting Accolades Announced
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 1, 2022

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has rounded out its list of tribute honorees for the 37th annual fest in early March, with the announcement that Benedict Cumberbatch, whose portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game earned him an Oscar nomination, will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award for his performance in current Oscar favorite […]

Dancing Through Manhattan With Nebula
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 2, 2021

Back in early 2020, Nebula Dance Lab had planned to produce a ballet version of Island of the Blue Dolphins to celebrate the local story’s 60th anniversary since the publication of the novel. But a decision to delve deeper in diversity issues revolving around Dolphin produced a pandemic pivot to adapt another tale of a […]

SBIFF is Here: Roll Out the Wheels
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 8, 2021

What does one say to welcome filmmakers, stars, and guests to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this year, the 36th, which holds the strange honor of being the first-ever hybrid event in SBIFF’s history? While movies, tributes, and filmmaker Q&As will all stream online from April 1-10, the only live interaction between people from […]

Getting Innovative: From Drive-ins to Zoom Q&As, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is Ready
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 1, 2021

Over its 36-year history, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has had to deal with challenges such as raising funds to keep the fest afloat in the early days; pivoting quickly following the departure of its new executive director after a single season at the helm; and erecting barricades to hold back the masses when […]

Entwined Wins Bill Paxton Award
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 12, 2020

When Dale Griffiths Stamos wrote and directed her latest short fiction film, Entwined, she had no idea that events less than a year later would bring extra focus to the 14-minute work. Entwined, which is about a Black man and a white woman in their sixties discussing the prejudicial injustices that drove them apart in […]

Navigating the NatureTrack Film Festival
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 13, 2020

The NatureTrack Film Festival began in 2018 as a way to raise funds and draw attention to the then-seven-year-old nonprofit NatureTrack Foundation, which brings schoolchildren out into nature for docent-led treks along trails in the Santa Ynez Valley. With nature now even more important during the pandemic as outdoor activity is far less conducive to […]

A Final Weekend of SBIFF
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 30, 2020

The red carpets have all been rolled back up, the klieg lights turned off, and filmmakers have gone on to the next festival along with their movies. But there’s still one final freebie for local film lovers before SBIFF calls it quits on its 35th festival. That would be the Third Weekend screenings, which although […]

By Zach Rosen   |   January 30, 2020

For decades Santa Barbara has had a bohemian tone to its art and culture. From the fantastical floats and costumes of the Solstice Parade to the old artists’ lofts of the Funk Zone, the area has long played with whimsical art and culture. And over the years, no organization has been at the core of […]

Lost and Found
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 16, 2020

It’s easy to see why Katharine O’Brien calls her Montecito upbringing “a Cinderella Story.” The future filmmaker was just nine years old when her mother, Carla, a Santa Barbara native who had moved back home after years on the East Coast following a divorce from Katharine’s father, met Stephen Hahn, the distinguished billionaire art dealer […]

SBIFF Welcomes Benjamin
By Richard Mineards   |   October 10, 2019

Santa Barbara International Film Festival has hired veteran Benjamin Goedert as its new development director. In his new role, Goedert will be responsible for generating funds to support the fest’s dynamic arts and educational programs through sponsorships, grants and donations. He moved to our tony town 11 years ago to attend City College where he […]

Fun After the Sun: Fifties Flicks al Fresco
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 11, 2019

What could be more fun than spending a Friday evening with your friends watching a free classic film outdoors in a gorgeous garden setting? That’s basically the premise behind UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture’s annual summer film series at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens downtown – a […]

Tap into Stage Percussion
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 2, 2019

Pianist Jeremy Denk isn’t the only MacArthur Fellow returning to town under the auspices of Arts & Lectures this week. Michelle Dorrance, the founder of the New York City-based dance company that bears her name, won the prestigious prize back in 2015. ETM: Double Down is the title for her latest evening-length work that merges […]

Santa Barbara Film Fest
By Lynda Millner   |   February 14, 2019

The show business adage is never follow children or a dog. Glenn Close was definitely up staged by a dog at her tribute during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). I’m sure she didn’t mind since it was her own dog, Pip, who sneaked out of the green room and came prancing out on […]

5Q’s: SBIFF Award Winner Splits the Difference
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 14, 2019

Babysplitters offers a decidedly fresh take on the age-old struggle of couples coming into agreement about having children. The film, which had its world premiere earlier this month at SBIFF, dives headlong into unforeseen and decidedly risky territory as two couple who are close friends choose to have a single baby and split custody and […]

Going ‘Ape’ over makeup
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 7, 2019

Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film has its world premiere on Friday and Saturday at SBIFF under the Santa Barbara Features sidebar only because its director, William Conlin, lives in town. Also the film’s co-star, co-writer, and co-producer Thomas R. Burman began working on the piece while he was taking Shelly Lowenkopf’s memoir writing […]