I was sorry to see the complaints about the recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival and wanted to offer some suggestions for locals. This was our fourth year attending and we saw 14 incredible films on the five days we commuted from Buellton. Yes, people with the more expensive passes got in first. But in the end, we got in to every film we chose except for one, and then we just moved to a different line and saw another great film. We avoid the special red carpet events.
We know that even with our punch passes, we must get a numbered Q card, issued at the theater one hour before the movie time. We got there an hour and 15 minutes early, just to be safe. Once you get a numbered Q card for your chosen film, you have 35 to 40 minutes to browse stores, have a snack or just sit and people watch. About 20 minutes before showtime, you get into the appropriate line based on your numbered Q card. If you follow these guidelines, you won’t be disappointed.
I would suggest that the Festival give out an explanation of the Q-card system when people purchase punch passes. The system does work, but the Festival needs to be sure people understand how it works.