The Skinny on the Panels

Looking at the matter of close encounters with the film medium
and industry at the Film Festival, celebrity tributes are fine and
good, and help give the festival publicity-generating glitz. But
things usually get deeper at the festival’s panel discussions,
which have become more stocked with big-name artists in recent
years. Panel discussions with embedded professionals in the
industry are what can truly make the festival front seem like
Hollywood North. Panelists dispense shop talk, philosophize, and
generally keep egos at bay while swapping quips and compliments
with others: it’s the panel discussion way, a collaborative
project, like film itself.

As usual, the biggie on this year’s panel scene is It Starts
with the Script, moving its location to the Marjorie Luke Theatre
(Sat., Feb. 11, 11 a.m.). On the panel will be wordsmiths from some
of last year’s finest films, including Larry McMurtry (Brokeback
Mountain), Josh Olsen (A History of Violence), Grant Heslov (Good
Night, and Good Luck), and James Mangold (Walk the Line). Another
traditionally prominent panel is Directors on Directing (Sun., Feb.
5, 11 a.m., at the Lobero). This year, the table includes the
respected likes of Paul Haggis (Crash), Duncan Tucker
(Transamerica), Bennett Miller (Capote), and Hany Abu-Assad
(Paradise Now, which has its official Santa Barbara debut at the

Producers have their say on the recurring panel called Movers
and Shakers (Feb. 11, 2 p.m., at Victoria Hall), moderated by the
L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein. Among the panelists will be
Sarah Greene (The New World), Michael Ohoven (Capote), Diana Ossana
(Brokeback Mountain), and J.C. Spink (A History of Violence).

The Scoring the Film panel (Sun., Feb. 12, 1 p.m., Victoria
Hall) gives credit due to the often overlooked aspect of music in
film. Representing the phenom of rockers-turned-film scorers are
Stewart Copeland (here with his Police doc Everybody Stares) and
ex-Heart throb Nancy Wilson (who lent good music to one of the
year’s stinkiest films, Elizabethtown). Also on hand will be the
busy Mark Isham (Crash), Mychael Danna (Capote), and Heitor Pereira
(Ask the Dust).

Creative Forces: Women in the Biz (Sat., Feb 4, 11 a.m., Lobero)
sports a list of panelists so far including Allison Abbate and
Pamela Pettler (from The Corpse Bride), Kimberlee Acquaro
(director, God Sleeps in Rwanda), and Christa Munro (art director
for the impressive-looking Good Night, and Good Luck). Clearly,
this year there’s plenty to talk about in the film world, with
multiple different interests and dialects


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