Santa Barbara International Film Festival Announces Capital Campaign

SANTA BARBARA, CA (September 23, 2016) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) announced today the beginning of their capital campaign, which includes the restoration of the historic Riviera Theater. This campaign was met with unanimous approval from SBIFF’s Board of Directors. To date, SBIFF has raised $2.7 million, and anticipate funds totaling $5 million by March of 2017.

The campaign will allow SBIFF to expand their current slate of education programs, preserve an important historic landmark, enhance the communal theater experience, and create a cultural hub for all things film. The renovations to the Riviera will begin in January of next year, with a re-opening targeted for March. Among the renovations is the construction of a balcony lounge, which will host receptions, filmmakers, and before-and-after gatherings for filmgoers, which will open in 2018. The theater will be renamed the Lynda & Bruce Riviera Theater after SBIFF Board President Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, two of the main donors behind the campaign.

“Our capital campaign and expansions to the Riviera Theatre mark an important new chapter in our festival’s history,” stated Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF. “These renovations and improvements will allow us to serve Santa Barbara in new and exciting ways, and will bring us closer together as a community.”

At the heart of SBIFF’s mission is education, and through its programs its staff is able to seek to engage, enrich, and inspire people through film. The Riviera as the new home will allow for expansion in the current programs and the ability to implement new ones, and to better serve the Santa Barbara community on a year-round basis. SBIFF’s current ongoing programs include Cinema Society (an exclusive membership program), the Rosebud Program for Film Students (a program for local college students), and the Wave Film Festival (the mini film festival which will be increased to three times per year).

The new theater allows service to more underserved youth and families through programs such as AppleBox Family Films and Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies. Other planned renovations include a smart classroom behind the main stage, world class sound and projecting systems, a loop system for the hearing impaired, and improved heating and air conditioning.

For more information, and to contribute to the campaign, please visit

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 30 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. This past June, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for program expansion and marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center to expand their mission of educational outreach.

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