Josef Woodard has clocked more hours at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival than any other five reporters combined. The Indy is proud to have him on board to document the 37th festival with daily postings online and a mid-fest wrap up in print. Plus he’s got the lowdown on movies about his other passion, which is music. Look out for his work in this week’s issue!
You have been covering the SBIFF for a long time. How long exactly, and what’s special about this assignment for you? I’ve been a film fanatic since my impressionable, culture-obsessive adolescence, and I have been on the SBIFF beat since festival number one. Santa Barbara is very lucky to have such a premier and diversified film fest to call her own. The 2022 festival is particularly special, coming off of last year’s surreal and detached menu of mostly streamed flicks and the intriguing drive-in-by-the-beach concept. Cinema is meant to be consumed in the cinema.
Do you have a particular festival memory or two that resonates with you at this time? I remember hanging out at the Biltmore with Mike Leigh, one of my favorite directors, in 1988, the year he was here with High Hopes. Strangely, another unexpected memorable moment came last year, when during the dizzy Bill Murray tribute, he sang the praises of La Super Rica’s epic #16 especial. That then became the unofficial cuisine of SBIFF 2021. I nabbed some the next day and ate it in my car at the drive-in. At the beach. Welcome to Santa Barbara!
You will be contributing a film fest diary to this year’s coverage for the Indy. Any tips on how to be a festival diarist? Is there a trick or method to writing something every day? I have been writing daily diary/blog-like entries for the Independent for several years now, which seems to make the most sense in terms of really treating the festival for what it is — an evolving adventure, day by day, with highlights and quirky asides. I’m a hopeless note-scribbler, by nature and for a living, but everyone should take notes between and during films. But please, not on illuminated smartphones.