Montecito at the Movies: Byrne Busts Through at SBIFF
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 15, 2021

The list of endeavors Montecito filmmaker Niki Byrne took on before she was out of her mid-20s would put most of us older adults to shame with the breadth and variety of her adventures: soccer player, race car driver, advertising copywriter, helicopter pilot, vegetable chopper for a Top Chef winner, photographer, painter (her portrait of […]

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 […]

 

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‘Dist-Dance’: Love of Ecstatic Dance Motivates Director Michael Love
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 7, 2021

We also spoke with Michael Love, the veteran screenwriter (he authored the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated, Gaby: A True Story, in 1987) and director with dozens of credits to his name, including multiple short docs and a few features that have premiered at SBIFF over the years. His 2021 entry, Dist-Dance, chronicles the ecstatic […]

Viva la FIESTA FIVE! Movies Return to Downtown as Metro Theatres Reopen
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 1, 2021

In one of those quirky COVID coincidences, Metropolitan Theatres is reopening its doors just as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is about to get underway with a hybrid virtual/drive-in edition.  Nine days after the county moved back into the red tier, movie theaters will be allowed to open indoors at 25 percent capacity or […]

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 […]

Mission: Impossible Objects
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 10, 2021

Ed Lister, who is known in both Los Angeles and Santa Barbara as a skilled scenic artist with credits in the theater credits and mural making, has created a series of vibrant abstract silk screen prints, or serigraphs. They were made starting in the early 1970s while he was teaching printmaking at the Chelsea School […]

‘The Shot’ Premieres
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 12, 2021

You could say that Robin Gerber has had a backwards career. After working as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and then serving as a well-paid Congressional lobbyist for trade unions for 15 years, Gerber, experiencing self-described burnout, junked it all for a life as a writer for newspapers and magazines.  Then her mentor suggested she […]

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Arts in Lockdown Series Part 18: Producer and Director Steve Binder
By Joanne Calitri   |   January 28, 2021

As you are reading this, it’s the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birthday (January 8) and I’ve been talking to Steve Binder, an American producer and director born in Los Angeles. Steve, who just celebrated his 88th birthday last month, is currently working as a creative consultant on Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis, where Dacre Montgomery is […]

SBIFF Sessions on Zoom and YouTube
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 14, 2021

SBIFF’s first Film Talk of the year features Paul Walter Hauser, who got his start as a stand-up comedian before turning to acting where he has enjoyed a number of noteworthy roles. In addition to a litany of TV series guest shots and a few recurring roles, he proved a scene stealer at the movies […]

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Focus on Film: Subversives, Survivor, and Script-to-Screen
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 14, 2021

The Carsey-Wolf Center’s Pollock Theater’s pandemic-pivot programming, which barely paused for the holidays, has jumped right back into the virtual fray with the start of the new year. The “Subversives” series gets going over Zoom on Thursday, January 7, with a discussion of Lingua Franca, written and directed by and starring Isabel Sandoval. The 2019 […]

Talkin’ Tunes and Times Through TEDxSB
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 31, 2020

TEDxSantaBarbara founder and executive producer Mark Sylvester realized early on as COVID-19 crept into our consciousness that he’d probably have to cancel his annual convention that each fall brings together as many as 10 speakers with local spins on the TED trio of topics (technology, entertainment, and design). That’s when the disappointment set in.  “It […]

Honing in on ‘Home for the Holidays’
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 17, 2020

A cabaret for Christmas might seem like the mixing of metaphors, but the idea made a lot of sense for PCPA as a way to produce something during the pandemic. That was partly because a show that’s akin to a revue could be done from people’s homes during lockdown without damaging the storyline. But it […]

Focus on Film: Christmastime is Here
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 10, 2020

UCSB Arts & Lectures’ free outdoor fall film festival series of screenings at the West Wind Drive-In comes to a close with two Christmas classics, with a modern parable followed by a Jimmy Stewart tearjerker. In 2003’s Elf, Will Ferrell stars as an elf named Buddy who discovers that he’s actually a human whom Santa […]

Focus on Film: Frank Talk on a Gambit
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 3, 2020

If you haven’t yet checked out The Queen’s Gambit, deservedly one of the top-ranked shows on Netflix and one of the best original series in the streaming service’s catalog, now would be a good time to get started on the seven-episode series about a chess prodigy turned accomplished if tortured young woman. That’s because Scott […]

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