Eleven days of cinematic splendor converge on SBIFF’s Closing Night with the presentation of the fest’s many awards — including The Santa Barbara Independent‘s Audience Choice Award, which thousands of filmgoers have been voting on after each screening — the big-screen presentation of the 10-10-10 student filmmaker winners, and the U.S. premiere of the film Wasteland.

An intelligent, engaging film that’s been compared to The Usual Suspects — but features more realistic characters — Wasteland is a tale of friendship and revenge involving four lads in England who decide to steal a cache of money from the ruthless local drug kingpin. “This isn’t a film about career criminals that usually populate the genre, pulling off one last job,” director Rowan Athale told The Santa Barbara Independent this week. “It is a film about four average nobodies that have to become consummate professional criminals in order to plan and execute an act of criminality of a kind that would never have crossed their minds if not for the circumstances they find themselves in.” Sharp dialogue, clever storytelling, and an unexpected twist make this film a great exclamation point to end the 2013 festival.

Closing Night is on Sunday, February 3, 7:30 p.m., at the Arlington Theatre.


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