“Best Film Festival Ever” Says Director Roger Durling

On Wednesday morning, January 3, the Santa Barbara International
Film Festival
unveiled its slate for the 22nd annual affair,
this year running from Thursday, January 25 to Sunday, February 4.
sbiff%20Santa%20Barbara%20Hotel.jpg With dozens of dignitaries,
journalists, cameramen, and fest staffers and volunteers looking on
in the lobby of the Hotel Santa Barbara, the fest’s flamboyant
director Roger Durling confirmed that he was “extremely
confident” in this year’s offerings and that talk suggesting
previous years were better was “B.S. and wishful thinking.”

The oft shy, shaky voiced Durling promised in a strong,
unwavering boom, “This is the best film festival that this town has
ever seen.” As evidence, Durling cited The New
‘s decision to sponsor the festival, Variety
magazine’s decision to highlight the festival in a January issue,
and the Academy Awards’ decision to give a grant to the SBIFF this

Before delving into the films and special appearances, Durling
took time to explain what the festival had to offer the locals.
sbiff%20Roger%20Durling%20Sign%20Web.jpg It was a shot across the bow to those
who, in recent years, have complained that the festival is less for
Santa Barbarans, and more for visiting tourists. Durling confirmed
that the Third Weekend event will happen again
this year from February 9 to 11; that’s the weekend when Santa
Barbarans can see the fest’s highlights, all for free, with
donations going directly to The Unity Shoppe. Also continuing this year will
be the 10-10-10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking
and the “Field Trip to the
which brings thousands of Santa Barbara
schoolchildren to see the educational outdoor films that are part
of the Reel Nature series.

And as a new locals-friendly event, Durling announced the
“Apple Box,” which is a free family festival for
children and their parents. That will take place during the weekend
mornings of the festival from 9 to 10:30 a.m., with free screenings
of Happy Feet, Cars, and Monster House.
And just to make the nearby businesses happier, the Downtown
is partnering with the festival to get merchants
and restaurants to take part in a 10 percent discount passport for
fest attendees. Durling also confirmed the fest’s commitment to
screening Santa Barbara filmmakers, explaining that one such film
called Lost Souls, about the illicit act of art
trafficking, was even moved to the main schedule.

Then Durling got to the actual festival. In addition to the
already publicized appearances by Will Smith as the Modern
, Helen Mirren for Outstanding Performance
of the Year
in The Queen, and Forest
Whitaker for the American Riviera Award
due to his role as
Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, and the opening
night film Factory
—about Andy Warhol’s muse Edie
, who was born and overdosed in Santa Barbara—Durling
announced that the centerpiece film will be Michael
’s Amazing Grace and the closing night will be
Gray Matters with Heather Graham. sbiff%20Roger%20Durling%20Web.jpg And Durling was quite excited in
telling the press about the coming of Bill
, the director of the superhot musical film Dreamgirls who will be in town to accept the
Montecito Award. Durling said that the film’s star Jennifer Hudson
will also be in attendance.

For the full press release, complete with all the film
screenings, dates, and special events,
click here.


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