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Last January, Santa Barbarans reveled in the 11-day annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which for the past 35 years has been a staple of our California winter. Little did we know at the time it would be one of the only film festivals of 2020. Two months later, the world came to a standstill thanks to the coronavirus.
The pandemic has upended and undone countless industries, including the global film community. “There has never been a more critical time to celebrate cinema and its ability to get us through extremely challenging circumstances, whether on a personal level or on a global scale by keeping us entertained, informed and inspired,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling in a prepared statement.
To that end, the SBIFF will return in 2021, but with new dates. Rather than warming us through the dark winter nights, the festival will usher us into the delight of spring as it takes over downtown March 31-April 10.
Fortunately, the dates are the only change the festival has made — it will be back full force for its 36th annual event with more than 200 films featuring international and U.S. premiers, industry panels, celebrity tributes, and free community programs, among other events. See sbiff.org.
At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor. Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.