Meet Our Veteran SBIFF Correspondent

Josef Woodard Has Covered Every Iteration of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: Peggy Grossman

Our primary SBIFF correspondent Josef Woodard isn’t new to the film fest — in fact, he’s covered every single one since the annual event began in 1986. Since it kicked off on March 31, Woodard has been filing daily reports on, and presents a midfest wrap you may read here. He tells us more below.

How has SBIFF changed?  The festival has always had strong suits and much to offer, going back to the days of founding director Phyllis de Picciotto’s lead. It has really upped its game and bumped up in stature in the festival orbit during Roger Durling’s tenure at the helm. This year, needless to say, is a wild-card anomaly, but this chance to really dive in — at the drive-in and mostly on the home front — is a welcome break from the pandemic void, and a happy hint of an eventual return to regular programming, in life and the arts.

What are your thoughts on this year’s pandemic pivots?  This is a super-challenging time, in terms of reimagining what can be possible when so many of the old systems shut down — especially in the arts, which, ironically, amounts to a necessary healing and connecting force in this time. Film/TV has had an easier go of it, as a screen medium in the age of streaming and home entertainment gadgetry. Still, film fans desperately miss the roar and stink of the crowd in an actual theater, with actual strangers sharing an experience.


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