Party On, SBIFF

A red carpet premiere, followed by an afterparty with freely flowing booze, food, and cupcakes, welcomed me to my first Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

While the Dude (Jeff Bridges) said he didn't know what he'd be drinking not White Russians, his wife chimed in Rod Lurie, the writer, director and producer of Nothing But the Truth, was only too eager to field any questions from the press as he roamed the red carpet. When I shot out a question asking whether the film had changed his perception of journalists or editors, I found out, to my embarrassment, that he has been both a journalist and an editor. He gratified my ignorance by saying,

"It's the most noble profession when it's done properly."

On another note, he also revealed that Obama thinks the Dude played the best movie president ever.

Lurie's journalistic experience was made even more apparent through his insights in the film, which tells the "fictional" story of Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale), a reporter who refuses to reveal her source regarding a story she wrote involving a CIA leak. She stands up for her rights, principles, and integrity even when held in contempt of court for not tattling when ordered to do so. Note: Independent photographer Paul Wellman faced similar contempt charges a year ago for refusing to turn over his photos to police investigating a criminal case.

Immediately following the extremely well-received film at the Arlington, the audience hoofed it over to Paseo Nuevo to get their party on.

After two beers, a shot of Chopin vodka (PLUG), and a plastic glass of merlot, I proceeded to investigate the lack of bodies on the dance floor (as any good journalist would). Although I was certain that the party was adequately liquored-up with free drinks, I found, to my disappointment, that it was not much of a dancing crowd. All hope was not lost, however, as one elderly gentleman was having so much fun that he entertained onlookers by stuffing dollar bills into his pants.

I then debated the merits of journalistic ethics with a man who offered me $300 for my press pass, whom I subsequently informed that I am not an whore.

After another round of snacks, beverage, and schmoozing, the rain started sprinkling to signal the end of the party. Despite an invitation to the Cliff Room, I was all partied out and proceeded home.

It all made for an awesome experience, and reaffirmed my knowledge that Santa Barbara knows how to throw one hell of a party.

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