For the first time this year, two art film installations are being shown in conjunction with the film festival: Bruce Yonemoto’s Sounds Like the Sound of Music and Robin Bisio and Catherine Bennett’s dance Blue Meadow. Sounds Like the Sound of Music is a re-creation film that combines George Lucas’s Star Wars and Robert Wise’s 1965 Sound of Music. It takes place in Cuzco, Per°, and is based around the relationship between war and cultural imperialism. It’s being shown throughout the festival at the Contemporary Arts Forum, upstairs in Paseo Nuevo. Blue Meadow, starring dancers Cybil Gilbertson and Dorrie Tames Powell, is a multimedia film that features a high mountain meadow. It will be screened for free at the Patty Look Lewis Gallery (25 E. De la Guerra St.) on Saturday, February 2, from 5-8 p.m.
Social Justice Awards
“On the planet now, today, we need fast change,” experimental builder Michael Reynolds states in Garbage Warrior, the documentary about his quest to build off-the-grid houses from discarded tires and other trash. His story is just one of 13 films being considered for the ninth annual Social Justice Award for Documentary Film. Sponsored by the Fund for Santa Barbara, it is the only cash prize in the festival ($2,500). Reynolds’s words reflect the nature of the recognition: awarding films with a range of topics advocating for social justice and, ultimately, creating positive change.
In the spirit of camaraderie (after all, this is about justice), the Fund for Santa Barbara and Frameworks/Caruso-Woods hosted a reception last Sunday on a rainy afternoon where filmmakers talked up their films and inspirations. The Man of Two Havanas director Vivien Lesnik Weisman chatted with journalist and Cuba expert Ann Bardach, who encouraged Weisman to make the film about her father, former Castro confidant Max Lesnik. Director Anne Slick discussed the difficulty of convincing Ecuadorans to pose for portraits in the story of the Jun-n mining struggle, When Clouds Clear. With the wide-ranging and compelling list of films-all worth a viewing, or two-it must be a challenge for the six jurors to select the winner who will be fted at the festival’s closing ceremony. To see the full list of nominees, visit fundforsantabarbara.org.
Closing Night Selection
The reviews were mixed for SBIFF 2008’s opening night film Definitely, Maybe, but a more celebratory response is expected for the closing night fare. That’s when we’ll get to see The Unknown Woman, or La Sconosciuta, an Italian film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore that’s already screened in more than 16 countries and four film festivals. But this will be the first time it’s shown on American soil. The film follows the main character Irena, a Ukrainian woman who lives in the Italian city of Velarchi. Irena’s past is one of humiliation and horrific violence, but her future has her in pursuit of some mysterious aim. As time goes on, she manages to settle herself as a house servant to a wealthy couple and their daughter, until someone from her past brings new horrors and violence into her life. It screens on Sunday, February 3, at 8 p.m., at the Arlington Theatre, after the closing night awards ceremony is completed.