On Thursday morning, Santa Barbara International Film Festival staff and media congregated in the lobby of the Hotel Santa Barbara for the festival’s annual press conference and poster reveal, which included a brief but action-packed series of announcements from festival director Roger Durling and longtime SBIFF poster designer Barbara Boris.
Durling, who celebrates his 12th year with the festival in 2015, began the proceedings with a heartfelt acknowledgment and moment of silence for the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attack on Paris newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Following the mournful start, Durling expressed his excitement for the fest’s big 3-0, which will include 23 world premieres and 55 U.S. premieres during its 13-day run. In addition to SBIFF’s regularly scheduled programming, Durling also pointed to a number of “big surprises” for 2015. Such additions include the introduction of the Artisan Awards, to honor “below the line artists” such as composer Trent Reznor (Gone Girl), editor Sandra Adair (Boyhood), and cinematographer Dion Beebe (Into the Woods). Durling also noted that this year’s beloved Directors Panel will be moved to the Arlington Theater and structured more like a tribute. “It’s going to be like a Directors Panel on steroids,” Durling joked.
In addition, the festival is growing its education outreach programs this year to include a student-in-residence program for 10 aspiring filmmakers from around the nation, in addition to area students from SBCC and Antioch University. The fest will also bring back Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, which will bring 5,000 North County students from Title I schools to the Arlington to screen and talk with the makers of The Lego Movie.
Perhaps most notably, this year’s festival will also offer completely free film screenings. The Lobero Theatre will host these first-come, first-served events, which will take place once a day throughout the festival’s newly extended run. “I’m thrilled to able to do something like this for this wonderful community,” Durling gushed.
The 30th annual SBIFF kicks off on Tuesday, January 27, and runs through Saturday, February 7, at venues throughout downtown Santa Barbara. For a full list of this year’s films, events, and news, visit sbiff.org/2015-announcement.