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First Night at the Film Fest

Barney Reports on SBIFF Night One

BRIGHT LIGHTS, PROUD CITY: Searchlights probed the sky and State Street marquees dueled as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival opened Friday night.

Fans and paparazzi swarmed the closed-off street in front of the Arlington, VIPs poured out of a fundraiser at the new Greek restaurant, Petros Café, and culture vultures gathered at the nearby Granada, where the vaunted Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was in town.

Outside the Arlington, the long line moved fast, heading for the film fest’s opening night movie, Darling Companion, starring Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton. Kline graciously spent time chatting with a group of young students at the rail, as photographers snapped away. The red carpet was lined with paparazzi, including the L.A. breed not known for manners but armed with sharp elbows.

At the Granada, two celebrities in another field won standing applause, conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, for a resounding rendition of Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, by one of the great orchestras of the world.

Local VIPs plunked down cash to attend the Petros event, benefitting Casa Esperanza homeless shelter and The Community Kitchen, then rushed out in time for the movie.

It was a night for wide-eyed fans to crowd the street waiting for a close look at arriving movie folk, then head inside for the festivities.

After Friday’s showing of The Big Chill, director Lawrence Kasdan and one of the stars, Kevin Kline, will show up for an audience Q-and-A session. The showing’s at 4:40 p.m. at the Metro Theatre.

One of the most controversial love-it-or-hate it films ever made, A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick, will be screened in newly restored condition, at 1:20 p.m. at the Metro 4 Friday, and 10:20 a.m. Monday at the Metro.

Viola Davis, appearing in one of the hits of the season, The Help, will be honored Friday night at the Arlington amid rumors that a surprise guest, a name from history, will be presenting the Outstanding Performer of the Year award to Davis. The film will be shown at 10:40 a.m. Friday at the Metro.

CIVIL RIGHTS TONIGHT: In a major surprise to fans at the Santa Barbara international Film Festival, Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, will present the festival’s Outstanding Performer of the Year Award to Viola Davis, star of The Help, at the Arlington Theatre tonight. Davis has been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar

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