Opening Night Blather

Reports from Opening Night, January 25

Welcome to The Indy‘s first report from the hard
streets of the 22nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film
Festival
. As you know, last night was Opening
Night
, which means a couple thousands folks got to see
Factory Girl at the Arlington and then
mosey on down to Paseo Nuevo, where the mall had been transformed
into a debaucherous wonderland. What follows is a take on the night
from Shannon Kelley Gould, some photos by
J’Amy Brown, and some more thoughts — including a
critique of the film fest trailer — by Matt
Kettmann
. Expect lots more to come.

Finding Her Pace on the Opening Night of an 11-day Party

By Shannon
Kelley Gould
“Pace yourself, Shannon!” This
advice came to me around midnight last night at SBIFF’s opening
bash in a decked out Paseo Nuevo from fest director Roger
Durling
. Though maybe he was simply concerned that my
carriage would turn into a pumpkin, my dress (okay, pants) into
rags, and my entourage into mice, after looking at the clock, I
determined he was right. So I darted out of the duly transformed,
“La Dolce Vita”-themed Paseo Nuevo (partying at
the mall — could it possibly get any better than that?), snagged
myself a cab, and landed at home in time for a quick game of
keep-away with my dog, and with enough wits about me to set my
alarm. If you’d seen last night’s premiere of
Factory Girl
, the tragic tale of local lost soul Edie Sedgwick,
you’d understand why I took the Durls’ advice to
heart. While the adorable Sienna Miller was
fantastic as Sedgwick, Guy Pearce classic as Andy
Warhol, and Hayden Christensen spot-on as Bob
Dylan — or, excuse me, Folk Singer — the flick was dark, a
dizzying glimpse at a wild ride that spirals quickly downward, into
a sadly cliched abyss. So not exactly the kind of movie that puts
one in party mode, but then, that’s kind of beside the point on the
Film Festival’s opening night. It’s the annual start of 11 days of
movies, movie stars, and parties that get stretched out before
Santa Barbara, just waiting to be enjoyed. And I for one have no
intention of missing a single bit of it. Sedgwick lived fast and
died young, but I’m happy to peep fast, look young, and pace
myself.
Red Carpet Photos by
J’Amy Brown

Most Important Annual Film Fest Critique and More

By Matt
Kettmann

I was lucky enough to have seen a screener of Factory
Girl
in the run-up to the festival, in preparation for a
one-on-one interview with Sienna Miller that I
ended up passing to D.J. Palladino. (He did a
great job on that story, so
check it out here
.) That meant I had no reason to see the film
last night, but I did want to see the introductory comments by
Roger Durling, who’s become quite the Santa
Barbara icon these days. Uncommonly comfortable and “fearless” on
the Arlington’s stage, Durling gave thanks to late fest boardmember
Robert Hatch, who provided much support for
Durling in the four years that he’s been doing the festival.
Durling then brought out the film’s director George
Hickenlooper
and its stars Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce,
among others. After some words from Hickenlooper and the ever
beautiful Miller, the lights went black. Then came what anyone
who’s been to the festival before eagerly anticipates: the
film fest trailer
, that minute-or-so clip that plays
before every film in the fest. It’s a critical piece, for when it’s
overbearing or poorly done, it makes you crazy halfway through the
fest. (And even if it’s good, you go a little crazy from seeing it
so damn much.) This year’s trailer marked a departure from the
digital extravaganzas of years past, instead featuring a sultry
redhead on satin-like sheets, rolling herself from fetal position
to down-dog and on up. All the while, she’s being entwirled in film
reel. It could be read as a metaphor of cinephiles lusting
after film
, or it could just be seen as a hot lady
who’s almost naked
. I prefer a reading of the trailer
that’s somewhere in between. Altogether, it seems shorter than
years past, and that’s probably the best thing. But it also seemed
that perhaps the credits and sponsorships went on a little longer
than normal. Though that was okay too, because The Indy‘s
large logo happens to sit atop the News-Press‘ smaller
logo on the same trailer page, so at least we got that going for
us. I headed out of the Arlington as the trailer ended, passing a
contemplative Durling on the way out. As he peered across the
thousands in attendance at what is most definitely his party,
Durling seemed awash in thoughtful emotion. Or maybe, like me, he
was just thinking about the party. A couple hours and a small
dinner at Opal later, I was walking around Paseo Nuevo to the
Chapala side, where the entrance was to this years party. Once
inside, I quickly ran into familiar faces, and was happy to learn
that they had grapefruit juice, my favorite thing to water up the
free Imperia vodka. After lots of schmoozing — including some
chatting with Roger Durling, Brett Leigh Dicks, Susan
Gantz, Irene Macias, Matt Wallace, Chris Meagher, Mike
Takeuchi
, and others — I found The Indy crowd
behind one of the bars. For the next hour or so, we held court
there, winding the party down and dodging the dollies full of
bottles that the bar crew was moving on out for the next party.
Tonight’s all about
Helen Mirren
, and the party in Montecito should be quite a
bash. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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