[Updated January 30, 11:30am] Once again, our fair city is about to be flooded with films as the 25th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicks off on February 4 and runs through the following Sunday, February 14. Whether you love spotting Hollywood stars, need to hear insiders share the stories behind the latest blockbusters, want to learn about how to make it in the industry, or simply enjoy watching great, hard-to-find films on the big screen, there's a lot for everyone.
As fest veterans know, the screenings can change without much notice, and popular films manage to get additional screenings scheduled, so keep your ear to the ground and eyes to independent.com for continuing coverage.
Our All Films Listing by date is complete (January 31).
As the updating process continues on into the actual festival, we will maintain an updated dateline and show any changes within this article with "
strike-through" marks (until our various schedule grids are online).
2010 USA 84 minutes Director: Chris Malloy
To The Maxxx (World Premiere)
The gorgeous and historic new film from director Chris Malloy, of the famous Santa Barbara County Malloy brothers, focuses on Yvon Chouinard, part-time Santa Barbara resident, rock climbing legend, and founder of Ventura-based Patagonia. The film follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. Along the way he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life, and prepares himself for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado. Jeff’s life turns when he meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature and have come to Patagonia to use their influence to help protect it. The film is a road trip movie, a historic document, but mostly a meditation on what matters most in life — staying true to one’s own vision and values. —Russ Spencer
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8pm Arlington Theatre
- Friday, Feb. 12, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
2009 Canada 132 minutes Director: Ricardo Trogi
Focus On Quebec
In 1981, the Trogi family moves into a new home and adjusts to paying a mortgage for the first time. Eleven-year-old Ricardo is the new kid in a class where the other students are from wealthier backgrounds. Ricardo resorts to inventing a new family history, which he must vigilantly maintain to keep up appearances for his new friends. Finally, young Ricardo must choose between truth and lies.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 10:30am Metro 4 Theatre III
- Monday, Feb. 8, 10:30am Metro 4 Theatre III
- Friday, Feb. 12, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
2009 Mexico 57 minutes Director: Yolanda Cruz
Spanish/Latin American Cinema (
The secluded, mountainous town of Teococuilco is virtually a ghost town. In search of work, 2,500 of the town’s previous inhabitants have left for other parts of Mexico and the United States. These migrant workers endured torturous days of travel through a barren desert to cross the border and work for years without seeing their loved ones. To honor the mostly overlooked lives of these migrant workers, the renowned Mexican artist Alejandro Santiago spent several years and close to a million dollars to fashion individual clay figures representing the workers. Alejandro hired a team of workers to aid him in the creation of this massive project, and through the sculptures, they honor the migrants who have left Teococuilco. 2501 Migrants: A Journey is a documentary that relates the story of an underrepresented people who endure harsh circumstances in the hope of finding a better life on the other side of the border. — Ali Cutler
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 10am Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 7pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 Hong Kong 89 minutes Director: Pou-Soi Cheang
East X West (U.S. Premiere)
It is no hyperbole to say that Accident is one of the finest Hong Kong crime dramas since Infernal Affairs. In a brilliantly executed early sequence, a seemingly mundane traffic jam transforms into a meticulously planned set piece. Innocuous small events, lined up like dominoes, gradually fall into place to build up to a deadly conclusion.
A gang of professional assassins commit murder by making perfectly staged crimes look like unfortunate accidents. There is growing tension within the tight-knit group, which consists of four experts headed by a man known as Brain (Louis Koo). When their next assignment goes disastrously wrong, Brain begins to suspect that someone else has planned an “accident.” Increasingly paranoid, Brain begins to stalk a mysterious insurance agent named Fong (Richie Ren), whom he believes to be the mastermind, believing that in order to save himself, he must destroy Fong. Koo gives ones of his best performances as the intelligent yet emotionally distraught Brain in this gripping, smartly constructed and psychologically fascinating thriller.
- Monday, Feb. 8, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 9:30pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Ahead of Time
2009 USA 73 minutes Director: Bob Richman
Ahead of Time is a feature-length documentary film on the remarkable life of 97-year-old Ruth Gruber. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, Ruth became the youngest PhD in the world at age 20. As a student in Germany in 1931, she attended a Hitler rally observing first-hand the rising tide of Nazism. Ruth became a foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24. A feminist before feminism, Ruth was the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935. She traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt administration in 1941, where she was the first civilian on the Alaska Highway.
Ruth’s unique perspective of the events surrounding WWII is a result of her involvement in many of those historical moments. She was chosen by the Roosevelt administration to escort 1,000 Holocaust refugees from Naples to New York in a secret wartime mission in 1944. As a journalist, she accompanied leaders to the Middle East where they studied the problems of displaced persons and Palestine. Ruth covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and her photos of the ship Exodus 1947 were published in Life magazine and around the world. With her love of adventure, fearlessness, and powerful intellect, Ruth defied tradition and, in the process, emerged as the eyes and conscience of the world. Today, Ruth still has the moxie and sharp wit that propelled her career, and the film interweaves vérité footage with interviews and archival material.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 1pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:45am Metro 4 Theatre IV
Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess (Amarufi: Megami No Hôshû)
2009 Japan 125 minutes Director: Hiroshi Nishitani
East X West (U.S. Premiere)
As Christmas is nearing, a new employee of the Japanese Embassy in Rome, Mr. Kuroda (Yûji Oda), arrives to help with security at the G8 Summit. While he is posing as a diplomat, the mysterious Mr. Kuroda does not fit the profile, with a surprising lack of people skills. The summit is of special importance to the Japanese, as their foreign minister Kawagoe will be presenting a much-publicized aid collaboration with Italy.
When a young Japanese girl is kidnapped from a museum, the mysterious Mr. Kuroda becomes entangled in solving the case. Looking for a missing girl with a desperate mother was not a part of his plan, but it appears that it might not be a simple mafia disappearance. He and the girl's mother run through Rome from landmark to landmark at the kidnappers' request, but why does Koruda never meet them? As the couple travels from Rome to the Amalfi Coast, Kuroda begins to doubt the kidnappers’ motives. What started out as a personal tragedy might have enormous political consequences—but where do Kuroda’s priorities lie?
A special celebratory 50th anniversary production of Fuji TV, Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess features a performance by pop diva Sarah Brightman and is the first Japanese film to shoot entirely in Italy. Director Hiroshi Nishitani is the man behind several successful films, including Suspect X (2008). —Ada Jacobsen
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
Ashkan, The Charmed Ring and Other Stories (Ashkan, Angoshtar-E Motebarek Va Dastan-Haye Digar)
2009 Iran 92 minutes Director: Shahram Mokri
International Features (US Premiere)
At times, the world is filled with things we cannot understand.
A disappointed sculptor wishes to emigrate. Two blind men decide to rob a jewelry shop. A policeman loves a saleswoman and his subordinate colleague loves a movie star. Two killers are reformed and become nice guys. A young man wanting to commit suicide causes some problems. However, everyone's destiny is changed when a strange fish is freed and a charmed ring is moved.
Ashkan, a bizarre tale on its own, follows a unique style, intersecting individual lives, going back and forth in time while following a non-linear narrative. The film defies the traditional screenwriting approach. The characters here are abruptly introduced and have no background account beyond their contribution to the plot. The storytelling may feel erratic, but when you comprehend the connectedness, it leaves you absolutely amazed. It's like solving a jigsaw where your excitement rises the closer you get to the answer!
A subtle, underlying tone of humor comes out of real life events even in the most improbable of sequences like in a guy's attempt to commit suicide. Shahram Mokri is certainly giving us something fresh, challenging and smart! Leave your expectations at the door and see if you can see the jewel at the end!
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 8:15am Metro 4 Theatre III
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
The Athlete (Atletu)
2009 Ethiopia/Germany/USA 93 minutes Director: Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew
Independent Features No Premiere
Sometimes a legend is born years after his or her greatest public triumph. Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila, came out of nowhere to stun the sporting world when in 1960, as a last-minute replacement, he became the first black African to win a marathon gold medal at the Rome Olympics while running barefoot(!). Four years later, this time wearing shoes, he then repeated his world record feat in the Tokyo Games to become the first runner to accomplish this feat consecutively. He emerged as a national treasure whose popularity was second only to his country’s emperor, Haile Selassie.
This is where his story and Atletu begins.
In 1969, during his attempt to come back from injuries that prevented him from a third Olympics a year earlier, Bikila faces yet another life-changing experience. What follows is Bikila (Rasselas Lakew) facing the ultimate challenge, to live the rest of his life in a state that was once unthinkable to him. In Davey Frankel’s inspiring drama, real life archival footage is deftly interspersed into the film for dramatic effect to tell Bikila’s story—one that is not merely a tale of survival, but one of someone who thrives even when the cheering stops and the glare of the spotlight is no longer upon him.
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Friday, Feb. 12, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
Backyard (El Traspatio)
2009 Mexico 122 minutes, Director: Carlos Carrera
Spanish/Latin American Cinema
Backyard, by Carlos Carrera, is a fictional account of the atrocities that continue to occur in Ciudad Juárez. We follow police officer Blanca Bravo (an astonishing performance by Ana de la Reguera), who is sent to Ciudad Juárez from Mexico City to investigate a series of murders of young women. Most of the victims are low-paid labourers who have been drawn to Ciudad Juárez by the possibility of work at American-owned factories, or maquiladoras, that sprang up on the Mexican side of the border after the NAFTA agreement went into effect. Blanca discovers an incompetent and complicit police force and an indifferent local population, embodied by entrepreneur Mickey Santos (a chilling performance by Jimmy Smits).
Presented as a fiction, Carrera's film is all the more moving given that the events he recounts are based on true stories and touch upon the various theories that have been put forward as to the cause of the murders. Hypotheses range from a serial killer, to drug cartels, to the more abstract pains of globalization, and it is easy to see how any of these factors could be at work in this Mexican town, which is a backyard to El Paso, Texas. Through his film, Carrera is able to denounce culprits who have never been brought to justice. However, the most devastating truth he illuminates is that these murders continue to happen because they have become commonplace. Today, some men kill women in Ciudad Juárez simply because they can. —Diana Sanchez
- Friday, Feb. 5, 4:30pm Lobero Theatre
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 Australia 111 minutes Director: Robert Connolly
In the wake of the Vietnam War, the world turns a blind eye in October 1975 when Indonesia prepares to invade East Timor. As foreign media scatter, five idealistic young journalists decide to film the event, hoping to solicit aid for the East Timorese. Shortly after arriving in Bilibo, they disappear. Weeks later, Australian reporter Roger East (Anthony LaPaglia) travels to East Timor to solve the mystery of the Balibo Five. Pursued by ruthless Indonesian forces seeking to silence him, East travels deeper into the heart of the country and discovers that the invasion, with its accompanying atrocities, is far more horrific than anyone realized.
A tense and provocative thriller, Balibo tells the story of the incursion in three narrative threads: the five journalists in 1975, East's subsequent mission, and a present-day interview. With the aid of exceptional cinematography and masterful editing, these plotlines are deftly interwoven.
Following on the heels of recent inquests which sought to brand those responsible for the invasion as war criminals in violation of the Geneva Conventions, Balibo was filmed in East Timor and made use of indigenous, nonprofessional actors. This is a film that offers an authentic glimpse into past events and is sure to provoke controversy and debate.
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Friday, Feb. 12, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
Ballad (Ballad: Na Mo Naki Koi No Uta)
2009 Japan 132 minutes Director: Takashi Yamazaki
East X West (U.S. Premiere)
Shinichi runs away from his problems and the people he fears. When Shinichi prays to the great Kawakami oak tree for courage, he is plunged into ancient feudal Japan. He awakens in the province of Kasuga, in the midst of a battle. It is there he meets the great warrior samurai, called the Demon Ijiri. Ijiri is a worthy adversary in battle, but he proves to be a less successful lover. He has been in love with Princess Ren since his youth. She has fiercely loved him in return, rebuking offers of marriage in the hopes of marrying for love. When the powerful Lord Takatura asks for her hand in marriage, she dares not refuse him for the safety of her kingdom. When Shinichi’s family emerges from the future to search for him, they bring stirring news to the town elders. The Kasuga province had never been recorded in history, and their enduring battles with other clans were seemingly fruitless. In light of this news, Princess Ren is relinquished of her duty to marry the formidable Lord Takatura. Ijiri is overjoyed, as is the Princess Ren. Yet Lord Takatura is unaccustomed to rejection, and his rage results in a fearsome battle. Ballad is a stirring movie examining a young boy’s first encounter with true fear in his endless pursuit of courage. —Ali Cutler
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
The Beaches of Agnès (Les Plages D'agnès)
2008 France 110 minutes Director: Agnès Varda
A reflection on art, life, and the movies, The Beaches of Agnès is a self-portrait of the life of Agnès Varda, director of films such as the award-winning Vagabond (Sans Toit No Loi) (1985) and The Gleaners and I (Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse) (2000). Born in 1928, Varda talks in this film about everything from the feminist movement and the Black Panthers to the films of husband Jacques Demy and the postwar explosion of cultural expression in France. She weaves photographs, vintage footage, film clips, and present-day sequences into a memorable voyage through her life, telling the joy of creation and the pain of personal loss, death and aging. Playful, engaging and deeply moving, The Beaches of Agnès is a journey through an extraordinary artistic life.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 1pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 10am Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Behind the Lines: Fighting a Wildland Fire
2009 USA 49 minutes, Director: Jennifer Reinish
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
Filmed during the 2007-2008 California wildfire seasons, Behind the Lines gives audiences a look at what goes into fighting a large-scale wildfire. Through interviews with the men and women behind the lines and facing the fire, audiences will get a glimpse of the magnitude and effort put in by people from all over the United States to keep the fire from reaching our communities and our homes.
- Monday, Feb. 8, 9:30pm Victoria Hall
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 4pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Black Sheep (Oveja Negra )
2009 Mexico 85 minutes Director: Humberto Hinojosa Ozcariz
Spanish/Latin American Cinema (US Premiere)
Written and Directed by Humberto Hinojosa Ozcariz, Oveja Negra tells the story of two boys’ struggles to escape a life of mistreatment in a small Mexican village. At the age of eight, an orphan named Jose (Christian Vasquez) was brought by a local priest to work on a sheep ranch run by Don Leandro. The priest thought Jose would become friends with the rancher’s son Jeronimo, but Jeronimo is a spoiled child who loves nothing more than getting Jose into trouble. One day Jeronimo frames Jose and his equally unlucky friend Kambia by killing one of the black sheep they are responsible for herding, endangering their jobs. After Jose creatively finds a temporary replacement for the sheep, he decides he cannot take the mistreatment any longer. Despite Kumbia's hesitance, Jose plots to steal the sheep in order to sell them and to cross the border to the United States. At the same time, a young girl named Maria (Ximena Romo Mercado) becomes the center of a love triangle with Jose and Jeronimo. Jose must justify his actions to himself and his faith, as well as remain safe from the ranchers. —Robert Mankin
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 10:45am Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Friday, Feb. 12, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
2010 USA minutes Director: Perry Lang
Special Presentation (World Premiere)
Blue Belle, based on the true a story of a woman living two lives — one as a high school teacher during the week in Santa Barbara, and the other feeding an adolescent neurosis working weekends in Las Vegas.
Already trying to free herself from an addictive pattern started as a teenager, Blue is now being stalked by a student named Marcus, who finds her emails and decides to follow her to Vegas. Marcus, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, tracks his beloved teacher to her other life, dealing with his own problems as he plans to confronts her about why she’s made the choice to sell her body to strangers.
Part of a longer running narrative, the series, Blue Belle now being shown now in 21 three-minute episodes, written and directed by Perry Lang and starring Tessa Thompson, is about a woman’s struggle to bring together two incomplete halves of a very complicated life.
Produced by Judy Trotter and also starring Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, Desperate Housewives) Greg Smith (Everwood), with Michael Cassidy (Smallville). This continuing series, being premiered at SBIFF, was shot in a verite style and is intended for the Web — Blue Belle challenges audiences to imagine a new form of cinematic story telling.
Bran Nue Dae
2009 Australia 88 minutes Director: Rachel Perkins
There’s nothing I would rather be, than to be an Aborigine, and watch you take my precious land away.
A fun and quirky musical about an Aboriginal teenager in 1960s Australia, Bran Nue Dae is a lighthearted story of identity and reconciliation. Touching upon the Aborigines’ social situation, the film plays around with myths and prejudices—what does it really take to be an Aborigine? Hopelessly in love with aspiring singer Rosie (Australian Idol star Jessica Mauboy), the last thing Willie Johnson wants is to be a priest. Longing for life in his seaside hometown of Broome, he escapes his restrictive city boarding school. With a vindictive Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush) on his trail, he teams up with a long-lost drunken uncle and a couple of naive hippies to reach his mother in Broome. A crazy road trip lies ahead, complete with fights, songs and some incredible confessions.
Based on the popular 1991 play by the same name, Bran Nue Dae is a long-awaited film adaptation of the first Aboriginal musical. Many indigenous Australian actors are among the cast, including newly discovered Rocky McKenzie as Willie. Premiering at the Melbourne International Film Festival where it won the Audience Poll for best feature, the film is proving to be as successful as its namesake. —Ada Jacobsen
- Monday, Feb. 8, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Friday, Feb. 12, 10:30am Metro 4 Theatre III
2010 USA 75 minutes Director: Chandler Landon
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
WTZM weekend newscaster Jerry Blackwell is at a crossroads. He is irresponsible, lonely, alcoholic, behind on his rent, lousy with women, rude, and bad at his job. And he smokes cigarettes. Nothing seems to go right for Jerry, and he feels especially bad about himself when in the presence of the station’s handsome, erudite superstar anchorman Elliot. Elliot even creams Jerry on the golf course. For Jerry, the presence of Elliot only serves to illustrate his own shortcomings. Jerry comes up with a rather creative solution — he cons a homeless man into sticking up a liquor store and just happens to be on the scene to make the live news feed. Station brass is impressed by his performance at the liquor store, and begin to favor him over Elliot. But when Elliot discovers his ruse and begins to put the pressure on Jerry to come clean, Jerry resorts to desperate measures to protect his job, and his vanity. Written and directed by Santa Barbara’s own Chandler Landon and featuring an all-star local cast, including former KEYT anchor Gerry Fall in the lead role, Jeff Goodvin, John Palminteri (as the mayor of Santa Barbara … no stretch there), Judge Frank Ochoa, KEYT anchor Joe Gale, KEYT anchor Paula Lopez, and KEYT anchor CJ Ward. —Russ Spencer
- Friday, Feb. 5, 10pm Lobero Theatre
- Monday, Feb. 8, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
Burning in the Sun
2009 USA 82 minutes Director: Cambria Matlow, Morgan Robinson
Daniel Dembele is equal parts West African and European, and looking to make his mark on the world. Seizing the moment at a crossroads in his life, 26-year-old charmer Daniel decides to return to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels — the first of its kind in the sun-drenched nation. Daniel's goal is to electrify the households of rural communities, 99 percent of which exist without power. Founding a small business is something that is deeply embedded in American and European culture, a topic to which many can relate. But most have never seen this universal kind of effort take place in Africa, traditionally marked out by the media as the land of the starving, the war ravaged, and the hopeless. Daniel’s work shatters notions of the need for African dependence on outside aid and embraces the view that ultimately it is Africans who will develop Africa in their own way. Burning in the Sun tells the story of Daniel’s journey growing the shaky start-up into a viable company and of the business’ impact on Daniel’s first customers in the tiny village of Banko. Taking controversial stances on climate change, poverty, and African self-sufficiency, the film explores what it means to grow up as a man, and what it takes to prosper as a nation.
- Friday, Feb. 12, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 10:45am Metro 4 Theatre IV
Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime (Carlitos Y El Campo De Los Sueños)
2008 Spain 107 minutes Director: Jesús del Cerro
Apple Box (US Premiere)
Carlitos Bermudez has two desires in life: first, to find a kind couple who will adopt him from the Spanish orphanage where he lives, and second, to become a soccer player for Spain’s youth national team. With the help of his fellow orphans and his best friend, Chunks, he sets out on a mission to prove his soccer playing abilities to the world and to himself. His biggest obstacle is Holipito, the bitter caretaker of his orphanage, who takes it upon himself to keep Carlitos from his dreams. With the help of Diego, a former orphan and now the orphanage’s maintenance worker, Carlitos manages to evade the probing eyes of Holipito and to be accepted on the youth national team. Yet trouble pursues Carlitos—even on his soccer team, the selfish player Ricki harasses him for having too close a relationship with his coach. After Holipito strikes a secretive bargain with a couple who plan to put Carlitos to work rather than care for him as parents, Carlitos sneaks away from the orphanage to play in the youth national team tournament. Carlitos is a heartfelt story about one young boy’s fight for his right to play soccer, while keeping his very essence intact. —Ali Cutler
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 2:00pm Lobero Theatre
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 10am Metro 4 Theatre I
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 10am Arlington Theatre
Castaway on the Moon (Kimssi Pyoryugi)
2009 South Korea 116 minutes Director: Hae-jun Lee
East X West
Kim lives in Korea. He has been saving money for seven years to buy a house; he had a girlfriend and a stable job. When Kim lost his money, his girlfriend, and his job, he found himself standing on the side of a bridge overlooking the Han River. When Kim jumped off the bridge, he woke up in a place he never anticipated—a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the river. Kim’s inability to swim keeps him on this island. An emotion that very much resembles hope returns to him when he learns to live off the island, hunting and fishing from the river. On the distant banks of the city, a woman is watching. She never leaves her room and lives through the virtual world of her computer. When she begins to document Kim’s endeavor to grow wheat in the hopes of fashioning his own bean noodles, an unprecedented bond begins to develop between the unlikely pair. She dares to venture from the safe haven of her room to send Kim messages in wine bottles. Between his writing to her in the sand and her corked messages, the two find a source of sanity in each other. Will Kim become the master of his own life and cook bean noodles? Will he ever meet his elusive admirer? Castaway on the Moon is unexpectedly comical amidst despair, with a transcending message that keeps hope alive. —Ali Cutler
- Friday, Feb. 5, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
Charlie Haden: Rambling Boy
2009 UK 84 minutes Director: Reto Caduff
This film by Reto Caduff tells the incredible story of the legendary Charlie Haden. As one of the most highly regarded jazz bassists of all time, Haden worked to push the boundaries and conventions of the jazz genre. With an upbringing deeply rooted in music performance, Haden was influenced by his father who had a country and folk music radio show. The power of this musical influence was illustrated by Haden's vocal debut on the show at the age of two. Determined to make a career in music, Haden moved to Los Angeles in the late 1950s where he began to play professionally with jazz innovator Ornette Coleman. Coleman influenced Haden in developing a unique and novel approach to music. Haden ultimately worked with many prolific jazz musicians, including Keith Jarrett, Paul Motian, and Dewey Redman. Haden used music as a method of communication, and he mixed music with politics in an album focusing on the Spanish Civil War.
This film colorfully illustrates the life and career of Charlie Haden, featuring interviews with the artist himself, as well as close friends, family, and fellow musicians. Both Haden’s story and musical achievements are spotlighted, and the film contains several performance segments with archival footage. —Robert Mankin IV
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:00pm Lobero Theatre
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
2009 USA 99 minutes Director: Atom Egoyan
Catherine (Julianne Moore), a successful doctor, suspects her husband David (Liam Neeson), a handsome music professor, is cheating on her. To lay her suspicions and fears to rest, she hires an irresistible young woman, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to test David's fidelity. Chloe's torrid tales of her encounters with David lead Catherine on a journey of sexual and sensual rediscovery. But by opening the door to temptation, she puts her family in great danger.
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
City of Shadows
2010 Canada 81 minutes Director: Kim Nguyen
Focus on Quebec (U.S. Premiere)
La Cité is a lustrous epic set in the Aurès Mountains of North Africa during a tumultuous period in 1895. Dr. Maxime Vincent returns from the front, his humanity bloodied but unbowed to a chaotic desert city under lockdown. His French colonialist army has invaded, and the indigenous people are being subjected to systematic oppression, forced into the hardscrabble, lifeless outer regions to seek subsistence. Overwhelmed by disgust, Max yearns to flee as quickly as possible, but a deadly plague attacks the city, threatening a staggering loss of life, including the life of a young boy Max befriends. At the same time, his empathy for the indigenous people rankles Captain Julien Mandel, a ruthless career soldier in charge of the occupation. His conscience and compassion reignited, Max faces a moral struggle between leaving and staying.
Shot in a stark and stunning region of Tunisia, La Cité is imbued with gorgeous cinematography, a vivid visual style, and a world-weary performance by Jean-Marc Barr as Max. Ultimately, the film is a lyrical, historical allegory about fear, persecution, and the corrosive mental impact of war.
- Monday, Feb. 8, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 9:30pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 USA 95 minutes Director: Michael P. Nash
If global warming is our planet’s most pressing issue, large-scale population displacement is the human consequence. Massive continental migration is already under way, and diminished natural resources continue to threaten the lives of millions.
The quickly submerging islands of Tuvalu in the South Pacific, drought-affected regions of Sudan, storm-susceptible coastlines of Bangladesh, and rapidly expanding deserts in China are forcing millions to relocate beyond their borders. Who will accept these refugees, and how will they impact their adopted homeland?
Filmmaker Michael Nash spent two years traversing the globe, visiting these and other hot spots where rising sea levels are threatening millions of people’s survival. Strong visuals and potent testimony from the victims of climate change, politicians, scientists, relief organizations, and authors help sound the alarm for instituting new policies and working together to create solutions to cope with this imminent crisis. Climate Refugees fervently captures the human fallout of climate change.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2000 USA 126 minutes Director: Rod Lurie
The hard-ball gamesmanship and the casual character assassination of American politics set the stage for The Contender (2000), a thriller from writer and director Rod Lurie. When the vice president of the United States unexpectedly dies, all eyes in Washington are on President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) as he chooses a new VP. Senator Jack Hathaway (William Petersen), a respected career politician enjoying a new swell of popularity after a well-publicized attempt to save a drowning woman, is expected to be Evans' choice, but instead he picks Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen), a decision that raises eyebrows on both sides of the political fence. Veteran powerbroker Shelly Runyon (Gary Oldman) is vehemently opposed to Hanson's appointment, in part because the Democratic senator was once a Republican, and Runyon vows to do everything in his power to prevent her from being confirmed. Runyon and his staff start digging for dirt and they soon make a surprising discovery, alleging that in college she took part in a group sexual liaison. The Contender also stars Mike Binder as one of Hanson's advisors, Mariel Hemingway as an old friend with a surprising secret, Christian Slater as an ambitious congressman assisting Runyon, and Philip Baker Hall as Hanson's father. It was the second feature from former film critic Rod Lurie. —Mark Deming
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 7pm Lobero Theatre
Contrary Warrior: The Life and Times of Adam Fortunate Eagle
2009 USA 83 minutes Director: John Ferry
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
In Native American culture it is believed that the Great Spirit gives man seven gifts. For every gift there is an opposite. By recognizing the opposite, man is able to walk in balance in the Sacred Circle. Adam Fortunate Eagle Nordwall has attempted to keep his balance for 80 years. By the age of five, his father had died and his mother was unable to provide for her eight children, so Adam and his siblings were sent to an Indian boarding school where he spent his childhood. After graduating from Haskell Institute in Kansas, he moved to San Francisco, becoming a successful businessman and the “perfect” urban Indian—a poster child for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Prejudices towards Indians in the Bay Area motivated him to become an advocate for the rights of urban Indians, and eventually he became one of the principal architects of the American Indian takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969. Because of this the government declared him an “enemy of the state” and he lost his business and virtually everything he owned. Forced to go back to the reservation, he honed his skills as a ceremonial pipe maker, sculptor, and author, and he continued his calling as a ceremonial leader and statesman for his people. Contrary Warrier was produced and directed by Santa Barbara’s John Ferry, owner of Lillimar Pictures. —Russ Spencer
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
- Friday, Feb. 12, 7pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 USA 92 minutes Director: Louie Psihoyos
The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the five dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation Flipper. One fateful day, a heartbroken O'Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent, and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again. This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off the coast.
But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling—and the consequences are so dangerous to human health—they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it. Undeterred, O’Barry joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society to get to the truth of what is really going on in the cove and why it matters to everyone in the world. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure, and arresting imagery that adds up to an urgent plea for hope.
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8pm Lobero Theatre
2009 USA 58 minutes Director: Justin Rowe
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
Crazy Art tells the story of three artists with schizophrenia who are from Santa Barbara, California. The film follows their lifelong struggle with mental illness and examines their search for identity, acceptance, and recovery through their unique and thought-provoking art. Plagued by schizophrenia since childhood, each of them has taken a different path, but they each find solace in their art. Art provides them with the satisfaction of creation, the ability to "push the voices aside," and the chance to have an identity previously stolen by their illness. But art is not the panacea. All three artists continue their battle with schizophrenia. They still hear voices and "channel messages from a higher power." They need strong medication. They battle addictive tendencies and have manic and psychotic episodes. Their friends, families and admirers provide support. Together with the art they create, these crucial networks of relationships provide these artists with their only hope of recovery. Directed by Santa Barbara’s Justin Rowe, who is back with his second SBIFF feature-length documentary. —Russ Spencer
- Monday, Feb. 8, 10am Victoria Hall
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 5pm Lobero Theatre
2009 USA 111 minutes Director: Scott Cooper
Four-time Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges stars as the richly comic, semi-tragic romantic antihero Bad Blake in Crazy Heart (2009), the debut feature film from writer-director Scott Cooper. Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who has had too many marriages, too many years on the road, and one too many drinks too many times. Yet Bad can't help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean (two-time Golden Globe nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man's crazy heart.
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 4:30pm Lobero Theatre
Creatures of the Deep
2009 UK 50 minutes Director: Neil Lucas
Marine invertebrates, the descendants of one billion years of evolutionary history, are the most abundant creatures in the ocean. In the Sea of Cortez, packs of Humboldt squid make night-time raids from the deep to co-operatively hunt sardines. Beneath the permanent Antarctic sea ice of McMurdo Sound, sea urchins, red sea stars, and nemertean worms are filmed scavenging on a seal carcass. A fried egg jellyfish hunts amongst a swarm of Aurelia in the open ocean, spearing its prey with harpoon-like tentacles. In the shallows off South Australia, hundreds of thousands of spider crabs gather annually to molt. Large male cuttlefish use flashing stroboscopic colors and strength to win a mate, whereas smaller rivals rely on deceit: both tactics are successful. A Pacific giant octopus sacrifices her life to tend her single clutch of eggs for six months. Marine invertebrates have a lasting legacy on land too — their shells formed the chalk and limestone deposits of Eurasia and the Americas.
Crows Zero II
2009 Japan 133 minutes Director: Takashi Miike
East X West (U.S. Premiere)
Several months have passed since the end of the first episode. Genji (Shun Oguri) and his victorious G.P.S. alliance find themselves facing down a new challenge by the students of Hosen Academy, feared by everyone as "The Army of Killers." The two schools, in fact, have a history of bad blood between them. And the simmering embers of hatred are about to flare up again, burning away any last remnants of the truce they had so rigorously observed until now. Mobilizing around a new leader named Narumi Taiga (Nobuaki Kaneko), Hosen Academy prepares to reopen old wounds with an all-out assault on Suzuran High School.
As the conflict begins to engulf the Suzuran Crows, G.P.S. front man, Genji, seems distracted by his personal ambition to defeat an unbeatable loner in his midst named Rinda-man, all at the expense of team solidarity. As Suzuran falls into disarray and disunity, a "super rookie" freshman of Hosen Academy, Tatsuya Bito (Haruma Miura), appears before the Crows to present them with their greatest challenge ever.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 9:45pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Dawson Isla 10
2009 Chile 117 minutes Director: Miguel Littin
Spanish/Latin American Cinema
Chile’s official Academy Award entry for Best Foreign Language Film, Dawson Isla 10 bears vivid witness to a dark chapter in Chilean history. On September 11, 1973, a military coup unseated the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. Senior government officials were quickly spirited away to a remote island off the rugged southernmost coast of the country. Somewhat reluctantly, their local captors fashioned a makeshift prison camp within the rules of the Geneva Convention and under global scrutiny, including a watchful Ted Kennedy.
This somber but engrossing film recounts daily acts of heroism and defiance, as the prisoners face extreme isolation and a loss of dignity. Stripped of their identity, their lives were in limbo, with times that were at times harrowing and at times dull. The film explores the complex relationships that evolve between prisoners and guards, with both trying to effect a political conversion while growing closer, bonded by a strong national pride. The prisoners themselves were a sometimes cohesive, sometimes splintered band of close-quartered idealists. They held language classes, created a ramshackle radio to listen to Russian news, and debated escape.
Dawson Isla 10 is imbued with a dynamic, desaturated cinéma vérité style that incorporates compelling documentary news footage from the period. The camera surveys both the stark landscape and the empty faces of the prisoners, telling the story as much through emotion as action. Ultimately, the film is an act of truth, humanely documenting a unique time and place in the Cold War struggle between capitalism and communism, played out through militarism.
The film is based on a memoir by one of the prisoners, Sergio Bitar, currently the Chilean Minister of Public Works. —Mahil Senathirajah
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
The Dead Will Guide Us: Teachings from Liberia's Civil War
2009 USA 58 minutes Director: Cynthia Travis
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
The Dead Will Guide Us: Teachings from Liberia's Civil War is the story of how the dead and nature—particularly elephants— have brought the human and natural communities together for peacemaking and reconciliation. In November 2004, the Santa Barbara-based Everyday Gandhis supported the first post-war traditional mourning feast in the town of Voinjama. More than 5,000 people peacefully attended. A cow and several chickens were sacrificed, providing food for the entire town. Members of the community came together to settle their differences and to send conflicts "across the river" with the dead to their final rest. By eating from the common bowl, people pledged to live in peace, followed by ceremonies of reconciliation to purify the water and the land. Elders shared stories of people living in peace before the war and of the deep connection people once had to one and another and to the land. Ex-combatants—particularly child soldiers— turned to peacemaking. This innovative approach to reconciliation is an example that can be used worldwide. Featuring Santa Barbara director Cynthia Travis and a host of Santa Barbara crewmembers. —Russ Spencer
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 6:30pm Victoria Hall
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:45am Metro 4 Theatre IV
The Desert of Forbidden Art
2009 Russian Federation/USA/Uzbekistan 80 minutes Director: Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope
Documentary Features (World Premiere)
After the Russian Revolution, the Soviet government condemned avant-garde art, and Igor Savitsky dedicated himself to saving and exhibiting it. Hidden away in the remote desert of Karalpakstan, he amassed an immense collection of forbidden works. Although Karakalpakstan was far from central Soviet rule, the government unwittingly funded the museum's acquisitions due to Savitsky's connections to local officials. THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART tells the remarkable story of Savitsky, the artists he admired and his struggles to create this unique museum. Dubbed “one of the most outstanding museums of the world” by The Guardian, the Karakalpak State Museum of Art is still a hidden treasure, and Savitsky’s successor continues to fight for the survival of the collection.
Director: Directed by Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope and narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley, The Desert of Forbidden Art will be premiering at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. —Ada Jacobsen
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
- Friday, Feb. 12, 1pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Disappointment Valley ... A Modern Day Western
2009 USA 95 minutes Director: James Kleinert
Real-Markable Stories (World Premiere)
Disappointment Valley ... A Modern Day Western examines the plight of America's wild horses and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the public lands in the American West. Traveler, a band stallion, is part of a herd in Disappointment Valley, Colorado. In a massive wild horse roundup, Traveler and others are taken to a holding facility, awaiting possible euthanasia or slaughter. Wild horse advocates work to have Traveler released and returned to his home.
Through interviews with Jim Baca (former director of the Bureau of Land Management under the Clinton administration), Michael Blake (author of Dances with Wolves and wild horse advocate), Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortensen, scientific experts, ranchers, historians, wild horse owners, animal rights activists, environmentalists, uranium prospectors and many other colorful characters, the filmmaker examines the origins and effects of the 2004 legislation that cleared the way for the slaughter and removal of wild horses. Disappointment Valley ... A Modern Day Western is a haunting and inspiring reminder to take action to protect America’s wild horses and burros and to preserve our public lands.
- Monday, Feb. 8, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 6:30pm Victoria Hall
A Distant Place (Un Lugar Lejano)
2010 Venezuela 101 minutes Director: José Ramón Novoa
Spanish/Latin American Cinema (US Premiere)
Julian, a famous photographer, has at 40 reached a crossroads in his life. He is tired and sad, dealing with the cancer that is slowly undermining his strength and taking away the last of his hope. But Julian has a dream, a vision that will change his life. He dreams a photograph he has never taken. Julian travels to A Distant Place to find the photo, a woman, and a strange accident. He finds his hope and his life will change forever.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 7pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Monday, Feb. 8, 4pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee
2009 USA 107 minutes Director: Michael Rissi
Santa Barbara Filmmakers
Santa Barbara filmmaker Michael Allen Rissi has adapted the chilling classic Edgar Allen Poe classic “Annabel Lee” for a 21st century audience. The story follows Jack Blythe, an artist who rents a summer house in a quiet beach town to find creative inspiration. He gets more than he bargained for when he meets a beautiful but hauntingly mysterious woman who offers to be his subject for a painting. When Jack discovers that his seductive stranger resembles a woman presumed dead for 18 years, he becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth. Soon, Jack is caught up in a terrifying struggle that will unravel an unsolvable mystery and reveal a horrific secret. One part mystery and one part gothic thriller. The film provides a cinematic thrill ride true to the spirit and macabre style of Poe himself. Shot on location in Santa Barbara, California, the film features memorable locations and evocative cinematography. —Russ Spencer
- Friday, Feb. 12, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
2009 Czech Republic, 98 minutes Director: Zdenek Tyc
Eastern Bloc (US Premiere)
The Horváth family is a Romani family with seven children, and the story begins with the tragic death of the father. His wife, Vera, is suddenly in a fight with the authorities, determined to keep her large family together at all costs, but she is hopelessly ill-prepared for the task. They are evicted from their home and her case—Vera versus the city—finds its way to a young, ambitious lawyer. She doesn't know the world of the Romani, nor is she particularly interested in it. Initially she takes the case as a springboard for her career. Despite her prejudices, incomprehension and sometimes Vera herself, she doesn't abandon the case. Luckily she is not the only one who sides with the family. There is a social worker whose attempts to help the Horváths are also motivated by his entirely private interest in the attractive lawyer. Offering slight but realistic hope, EL PASO is inspired by the true story of a Romani widow with nine children.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:30 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Monday, Feb. 8, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
The Elephant In The Living Room
135 103 minutes Director: Michael Webber
Documentary Features (World Premiere)
Some of the deadliest snakes in the world can be purchased as easily as household pets. Bears, cougars and lions can be found in a catalogue offering animals for sale and even animals for free. Creatures that were never intended to be in the care of humans can be encountered regularly in homes across the United States. Yet there are stories to show that wild animals can reciprocate love for their human providers. After years of immobilization after an automobile accident, for example, one man found hope through two lion cubs. The Elephant In The Living Room recounts the tale of these two lions, along with other animals belonging to the wild but kept in the hands of people. The Elephant In The Living Room is a touching documentary, exposing the issues of exotic animal custody in the United States. -- Ali Cutler
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 6:30pm Victoria Hall
Enemies Of The People
2009 UK / Cambodia 93 minutes Director: Rob Lemkin
ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE is an extraordinary glimpse inside Cambodia during the four-year reign of the Khmer Rouge. Between 1975 and 1979, approximately 25% of Cambodia’s population was eliminated. Shockingly, the genocide was ignored by most of the world, including by the US. This remarkable film breaks the silence.
Thet Sambath, a Cambodian investigative reporter, lost members of his family to the Killing Fields. On a quest to understand what happened and why, he speaks to those who participated in the massacres—from ordinary peasants to foot soldiers to Nuon Chea (“Brother Number 2""), who was second in command to Pol Pot. Sambeth carefully builds the trust of those he interviews so they will speak of what they did for the first time. In breaking their thirty-year silence, they reveal how people were chosen for death and how the deaths were executed.
Sambath says: “Some may say no good can come from talking to killers and dwelling on past horror, but I say these people have sacrificed a lot to tell the truth. In daring to confess they have done good, perhaps the only good thing left.” ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE was ten years in the making. -- Betsy R. Cramer
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 UK 97 minutes Director: Stuart Hazeldine
Independent Features (US Premiere)
Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question. He outlines three rules they must obey or be disqualified: don’t talk to him or the armed guard by the door, don’t spoil their papers and don’t leave the room. He starts the clock and leaves. The candidates turn over their question papers, only to find… they’re completely blank.
After the initial confusion has subsided, one frustrated candidate writes ‘I believe you should hire me because…’ and is promptly ejected for spoiling. The remaining candidates soon figure out they’re permitted to talk to each other, and they agree to cooperate in order to figure out the question: then they can compete to answer it.
At first they suspect the question may be hidden in their papers like a security marker in a credit card, and they figure out ways to change their environment to expose the hidden words. But light, liquids and other plans all come to naught. Soon enough, the candidates begin to uncover each other’s background, prejudices and hidden agendas.
Tensions rise as the clock steadily descends towards zero, and each candidate must decide how far they are willing to go to secure the ultimate job . . .
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Monday, Feb. 8, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
Father And Guns (De Pere En Flic)
2009 Canada 107 minutes Director: Émile Gaudreault
Focus On Quebec
To save the life of an undercover agent kidnapped by a gang of bikers, two cops infiltrate an outdoor adventure group-therapy camp for fathers and sons. Their mission is to get close to the bikers' lawyer (who is there with his suicidal son) and to get information from him. The two cops are also father and son. They can't stand each other, and their biggest challenge is to survive the therapy without killing each other. FATHER AND GUNS combines the strengths of a classic comedy cop thriller with a dysfunctional father-son relationship.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
2010 USA minutes Director: Derek Magyar
Special Events (World Premiere)
FLYING LESSONS is the intimate story of Sophie, a 25-year-old woman (Maggie Grace), and would-be dancer, who, after leading a self-destructive life in LA, is finally forced by failure and abandonment to return to her small hometown of Santa Ynez and to Carolyn, her estranged mother (Christine Lahti). Angry and isolated, she is forced to face the relationships she left behind and the associated memories. Sophie stumbles into a job taking care of Harry Pleasant (Hal Holbrook), an elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease who teaches her the value of the present as he struggles to hold on to the past that is slipping away from him. His absent-minded kindness and childlike trust brings her back in touch with her emotions and leaves her vulnerable. Sophie gradually begins to accept responsibility for her life and reconnects to the friend she thought had betrayed her, to the boyfriend Billy she loved (JonathanTucker), and to the mother she could not forgive for betraying her dead father. FLYING LESSONS is a story of emotional growth, love, forgiveness, memories, and—ultimately—freedom.
- Thursday, Feb. 4, 8:00pm Arlington Theatre
2009 USA 46 minutes Director: Chris Kitchen
To The Maxxx
Freedom Riders is a story of the progression of trail building for mountain biking in the USA over the last 10 years. Starting its story in Marin County, CA in the late 1970s, the movie uses archival footage to check out the pioneers of mountain biking: The Marin Klunkers. Including the likes of Gary Fisher and Tom Richie, the Klunkers would retrofit bikes to make them worthy of the mountains and would shape the beginning of the mountain biking industry. Twenty years later in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a small group of mountain bikers, in the spirit of the innovation of the Marin Klunkers before them, explore the possibilities for a new sport on Teton Pass -Freeride Mountain Biking. But unlike the hippy Klunkers, this time their innovation is illegal and is not without consequences. In other parts of the country, illegal trail builders are running up against the strong arm of the law and are facing hefty fines and sometimes even jail time. Five years later the once ragtag group of riders have formed their own non-profit trail advocacy group, called the Teton Freedom Riders, and are responsible for creating some of the most renowned freeride trails in the United States. -- Russ Spencer
The Gleaners & I
2000 France 82 minutes Director: Agnès Varda
Legendary filmmaker Agnes Varda takes digital camcorder in hand and roams about the French countryside in THE GLEANERS AND I (LES GLANEURS ET LA GLANEUSE) (2000). An age-old practice depicted in Millet's famous painting and performed traditionally by peasant women, gleaners scavenged the remains of a crop after the harvest. Varda finds their modern-day equivalents collecting rejected potatoes outside of Lyon, fallen apples in Provence, and refuse in the markets of Paris. She talks to a man sporting yellow rubber boots who has lived on trash for ten years, a gourmet chef who gleans for his restaurant, a homeless doctorate in biology who teaches free literacy courses to immigrants, a couple of artists who use trash in their work, and the grandson of early cinema innovator Étienne-Jules Marey. Along the way, Varda discusses heart-shaped potatoes, big trucks on the highway, the waste of consumerism, and the ravages of time. This film was screened at the 2000 Cannes and Toronto film festivals.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 10:00 AM Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
God Went Surfing With The Devil
2008 USA 93 minutes Director: Alexander Klein
To The Maxxx (World Premiere)
Since the year 2000, over 4,300 Palestinian and 1,000 Israeli lives have been claimed by the escalating conflict in Gaza. The situation grew markedly worse in 2006, when Israel responded to the election of Hamas by sealing off the borders, ending the free-flow of people and goods. In 2007, a small group of young men were surfing in Gaza, sharing battered surfboards they had attained prior to the siege. Word traveled north to Israel, and that same year, a group of Israelis and Americans delivered a dozen boards to their Palestinian counterparts. In the spring of 2008, they would attempt to deliver 23 more surfboards into Gaza. By this time the situation in Gaza had further deteriorated. The border was still sealed, with increased military activity on both sides. Rocket attacks and counter-strikes were a near daily occurrence. “God Went Surfing With the Devil” charts the attempt to bring these surfboards into Gaza, encountering strong opposition from both the Israeli Army and Hamas in the process. In addition, the film speaks to young Israelis, Arab-Israelis, and Palestinians affected by the violence, tracking their efforts to supersede the conflict through the joys of surfing. -- Russ Spencer
- Monday, Feb. 8, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 9:30pm Victoria Hall
2009 USA 48 minutes Director: Patrick Rouxel
Multi award winning. Her name is GREEN, she is alone in a world that doesn’t belong to her. She is a female orangutan, victim of deforestation and resource exploitation. This film is an emotional journey with GREEN’s final days. With no narration, it is a visual ride presenting the devastating impacts of logging and land clearing for palm oil plantations, the choking haze created by rainforest fires and the tragic end of rainforest biodiversity. We watch the effects of consumerism and are faced with our personal accountability in the loss of the world’s rainforest treasures.
- Monday, Feb. 8, 7:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
Green Waters (Aguas Verdes)
2009 Argentina 90 minutes Director: Mariano De Rosa
Spanish/Latin American Cinema (US Premiere)
AGUAS VERDES follows an Argentinean family of four on vacation to a beachside resort called Aguas Verdes. At the head of the family is 43-year-old Juan (Alejandro Fiore), a man with an authoritative and uptight demeanor. In contrast, Juan’s wife Florencia (Milagros Gallo) is easygoing and loving. Also along for the trip are their two children—their young and playful son Anibal and their teenage daughter Laura. On the way to Aguas Verdes, the family stops at a gas station where Laura becomes enamored with a young traveler named Roberto. Witnessing this, Juan assumes the role of the jealous and protective father, quickly moving the family along to what he hopes will be his worry-free getaway. Roberto unexpectedly turns up at the resort, and Juan's jealousy quickly intensifies as his wife takes a liking to Roberto as well. The amount of time Laura spends with Roberto proves to be too much for Juan, as he becomes obsessive about spying on his daughter. In a constantly agitated state, Juan is consumed by jealousy, projecting his fears onto every member of his family. -- Robert Mankin IV
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Friday, Feb. 12, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
Hana Surf Girls
2010 USA 83 minutes Director: Russ Spencer
To The Maxxx (World Premiere)
A unique documentary surf drama from Santa Babara director Russ Spencer takes audiences to Hana, a close-knit, isolated town on the east coast of Maui known as “The Last Hawaiian Place.” There we meet Monyca Byrne Wickey and Lipoa Kahaleuahi, two native girls who have grown up taking hula lessons, hiking to secret pools, surfing, and learning traditional Hawaiian values. Theirs has been an idyllic upbringing, but both face the same challenge: they’ve grown up in paradise, but what will be next? Lipoa, who has chosen to attend college on the mainland, returns for the summer to try to heal a rift in her family and bond again with her father, so that she may return to school in the fall with a sense of wholeness. After her high school graduation (in a class of only 24 other students) Monyca watches many of her classmates leaving to go to university, and the pressure is on for her to develop a professional surfing career. In the end, both girls strive to create an adult life in which they remain true to their Hana roots, but develop the strength to move on and become independent. Their quest is deeply informed by Hana’s strong power of the land, mana, and by their own inner strength and resilience. Gorgeous scenery, wonderful surf locations, emotional depth, and a stellar soundtrack make this a rare film experience. -- Russ Spencer
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:00pm Lobero Theatre
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
2009 USA 95 minutes Director: Joan Braderman
Santa Barbara Filmmakers
The Heretics uncovers the inside story of the Second Wave of the Women's Movement through the eyes of Joan Braderman, who arrives in NYC in 1971 to become a filmmaker. By chance, she joins a feminist art collective at the epicenter of the 1970's New York City art world. From 1977 to 1992, that group, the Heresies Collective, published: HERESIES; A Publication on Art and Politics. The Heretics focuses on one group as a microcosm of the larger movement. The hundreds of collective members are now scattered around the globe; accomplished artists, writers, architects, painters, filmmakers, designers, editors, curators, and teachers. Twenty-four of the collective members speak with the filmmaker about the extraordinary social, political and artistic impact that the movement had on the world. -- Russ Spencer
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:00 AM Victoria Hall
2009 Iraq 84 minutes Director: Hussein Hassan
International Features (US Premiere)
Just weeks before the Anfal campaign of 1988 two Kurdish lovers, Herman and Adar, come close to achieving their dreams of marriage but are forcibly separated due to unavoidable circumstances.. When the young man, Herman goes to his fiancé’s village to meet her he finds it demolished by Saddam’s Iraqi army and Adar is long gone. As he searches, we discover that she and her village escaped have fled to the Turkish border seeking refuge but here are faced only with more brutality and herded into camps with no basic needs. What ensues isthe break down of a family and a community torn by war and by tradition. When values and honor are threatened, we get a rare glimpse of cultural divides; of a political situation that threatens an ethnic group’s fight for independence, and the repressive beliefs about women’s chastity within a simple, heart wrenching story. These themes are woven into a powerful tale in HERMAN.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 11:00 AM Lobero Theatre
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 10:30 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
2009 Australia/USA 52 minutes Director: Stefan Moore
“Wherever we move around the planet we take the bee with us, [and] we create problems for it.” Scientist and bee-lover Denis Anderson.
Despite its importance for commercial honey production and for pollination, the Apis mellifera (also known as the European honeybee) has not had an easy ride since a little parasitic mite by the name of Varroa destructor jumped on a train from Korea. Sixty years later, Australia is the only country that is yet to be infected with the monstrous bloodsucking fiend. Sucking the honeybees’ blood and destroying bee colonies by infecting them with a deadly virus, the Varroa destructor is every bee lover’s nightmare. Bee-loving scientists, beekeepers and other professionals unite around the world to keep the causalities to a minimum, but with limited success. The honeybees have suffered due to modern industrial agriculture and the habitat loss and pesticides that come with it. Will the Varroa destructor be their final downfall or are there further threats to consider? -- Ada Jacobsen
- Friday, Feb. 5, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
2009 Serbia / Albania 95 minutes Director: Goran Paskaljevic
Eastern Bloc (US Premiere)
HONEYMOONS is set in contemporary Albania, Serbia, Italy and Hungary. We follow the fortunes of two young couples, one Albanian and the other Serbian, who leave their respective home countries to break from their overbearing families and the past, seeking a better life in Western Europe. But migrating to Europe is not always what they dream it might be and problems ensue at the border. Trouble awaits the Albanian couple when they arrive in a southern Italian port and takes over when the Serbians cross the Hungarian border by train. Like many young people from the Balkans, they find themselves as second-rate citizens and being made to pay for the mistakes of previous generations. With no word of the relations between Albania and Serbia or of the current political context in the Balkans, the filmmaker strives to draw out commonalities between the two very similar societies, without sparing criticism of the EU. HONEYMOONS is the first film co-produced by Albania and Serbia.
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Friday, Feb. 12, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
How To Live Forever
2009 USA 92 minutes Director: Mark Wexler
Filmmaker Mark Wexler is not going down without a fight. Faced with the devastating loss of his mother and his own advancing age, Mark takes off on a curious, lively, sometimes troubling enquiry into just what it means to grow old and what it could mean to really live forever.
But whose advice should he take? Does a chain-smoking, beer-drinking centenarian marathoner have all the answers? What about an elder porn star? His search takes him to the places where people live longest, from Okinawa to Iceland. He journeys to Las Vegas to attend a funeral directors convention and the Ms. Senior America pageant. He contemplates a future in cold storage at a cryonics facility in Arizona. He receives exercise tips from Jack LaLanne, hormone replacement advice from Suzanne Somers, and promises of eternal life from biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey.
Yet the more he travels into the strange worlds of laughter yoga, calorie restriction, and old-fashioned religion, the less sure he becomes of his goal. Can it be that life's true meaning is found in the humble chili dog? A fun, provocative, and engaging new documentary, which challenges our notions of youth and aging with comic poignancy. Begun as a study in life-extension, How To Live Forever evolves into a thought-provoking examination of what truly gives life meaning.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
The Hungry Ghosts
2009 USA 105 minutes Director: Michael Imperioli
Independent Features (US Premiere)
THE HUNGRY GHOSTS portrays New Yorkers from a variety of backgrounds in a search for spiritual and emotional fulfillment. Frank (Steve Schirripa) is a radio talk show host with addiction problems who tries to create a deeper bond with his reluctant son, Matt. When he angrily leaves his father at a therapy session, Matt becomes lost in the entangled labyrinth of New York City. Frank, in his search for his son, meets Nadia, a beautiful woman who has left her destructive lover Gus and begun a spiritual pursuit. Meanwhile, Gus attempts to find Nadia in the hopes of returning to the life he had with her. THE HUNGRY GHOSTS deals with the intersection of several perishing lives stuck in a cycle they wish to escape.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
The Hurt Locker
2008 USA 131 minutes Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Based on the personal wartime experiences of journalist Mark Boal, director Kathryn Bigelow's action thriller THE HURT LOCKER (2008) presents the Iraq War from the perspective of those who witnessed the fighting firsthand—the soldiers. As an elite Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) squad navigates the streets of Iraq, they face the constant threat of death from incoming bombs and sharp-shooting snipers. The team is trained to dismantle IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and there is no room for error, with every second spent dismantling a bomb another second spent flirting with death. As these fearless bomb technicians take on the most dangerous job in Baghdad, it is only a matter of time before one of them gets sent to ""the hurt locker."" Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, and Ralph Fiennes star. THE HURT LOCKER is directed by Kathryn Bigelow. -- Jason Buchanan
- Monday, Feb. 8, 6:00pm Lobero Theatre
I Am Love (Io Sono L'amore)
2009 Italy 120 minutes Director: Luca Guadagnino
This dreamy, languorous film has a Viscontian sense of aristocratic values. Exquisitely shot, beautifully paced and conceived, I AM LOVE moves through the cultivated world of a wealthy and distinguished industrial family. It is a film of ritual and order, centered on a massive Milanese mansion whose airy rooms convey the power and stature of the Recchi family.
The birthday of its patriarch sets the stage for all that is to follow. Handsome grandson Edoardo introduces his new girlfriend to the family; his sister, Elisabetta, presents a painting she has made to her grandfather; a young man who beat the unbeatable Edoardo in a race earlier in the day makes a surprise appearance on the doorstep; and finally, the grandfather announces his succession plan to his family. All of these events mark the beginning of a narrative that sees the carefully controlled, hyper-refined sphere of the Recchis come under increasing strain. Slowly but inexorably, a series of apparently small, almost innocuous transgressions begins to unsettle the veneer of manners and etiquette. Edoardo's parents' relationship undergoes its first strains; the stranger that topped him in the race turns out to be a central character in the drama; and his sister's life follows its own striking and separate path. Finally, the family business that is the source of all their wealth and comfort falls under siege. Featuring a cast headed by Tilda Swinton speaking Italian and Russian, this is a film in which tradition and modernity collide. -- Piers Handling
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 4:30pm Lobero Theatre
I Killed My Mother (J'ai Tué Ma Mère)
2009 Canada 96 minutes Director: Xavier Dolan
Focus On Quebec
Sixteen-year-old Hubert (Xavier Dolan) has a love-hate relationship with his mother Chantale (Anne Dorval). An extremely intelligent and creative teenager, on occasion he makes her breakfast, calls her sweet names and tells her he loves her. But more often he rages against her: her parenting style, the groundless rules she invents, her mental inferiority, the way she dresses and eats. The dab of cream cheese on her mouth as she eats breakfast triggers the first of many scathing outbursts. And single mother Chantale can give it back. At moments her expressions of love for Hubert are heartbreaking, but she can turn on a dime and scream about his dawdling in the video store, or order him out of the car in the middle of nowhere when things get too heated.
Filmed from a close and static point of view, I KILLED MY MOTHER brings us into the claustrophobia of this emotionally charged relationship. At times horrific and hilarious, the fights and mood swings begin to reveal the layers of their profoundly connected history. We learn before Chantale does that Hubert is gay, a revelation that touches off yet another tempest of emotion. However, through a video diary he keeps, and in the reflective moments in the aftermath of their clashes, both Hubert and his mother tentatively bare the basic core of their love.
Both actors’ performances are outstanding, but Dolan is a revelation. He can make the frustration, pent-up energy, volatile anger and remorse of his character truly believable, but he also handles tenderness and humor with stunning agility. -- Jacqueline Spafford
- Monday, Feb. 8, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Friday, Feb. 12, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
I Saw The Sun (Günesi Gördüm)
2009 Turkey 120 minutes Director: Mahsun Kirmizigül
In the southeast region of Turkey, the Altun family lives in a small mountainside village plagued by a 25-year war, making their daily life a hellish struggle. As the war continues to intensify, the family is forced to migrate west to the city of Istanbul. While Haydar and Isa Altun decide to stay in Turkey with their young children, Davut Altun and his family migrate north to Norway, enlisting the help of smugglers. They eventually reach their destination and find work in a supermarket, but life as refugees proves relentless. Back in Istanbul, Haydar watches over the family as his wife undergoes an operation due to pregnancy complications. Their son makes friends with a group of transvestites, helping him to understand why he has felt different all of his life. While liberating, his newfound identity is seen as a disgrace to the rest of his family, leading him to flee from the abuse it produces. Directed by Mahsun Kirmizigül, this film beautifully illustrates the struggles experienced by war refugees. -- Robert Mankin IV
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
In The Land Of The Free...
2009 USA/United Kingdom 84 minutes Director: Vadim Jean
Documentary Features (World Premiere)
In THE LAND OF THE FREE tells the shocking and unbelievable story of Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King, three black men from rural Louisiana who were held in solitary confinement in the biggest prison in the U.S., an 18,000-acre former slave plantation known as Angola. Woodfox and Wallace, founding members of the first prison chapter of the Black Panther Party, worked along with King to speak out against the inhumane treatment and racial segregation in the prison. King was released in 2001 after almost thirty years of solitary confinement. Woodfox and Wallace, convicted in the highly contested stabbing death of white prison guard Brent Miller, remain in Angola where they have spent more than thirty-six years in solitary confinement. Made aware of their plight, Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, visited Wallace and Woodfox in prison in March 2008. This documentary tells the ongoing story of the case of these three extraordinary men.
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 10:30 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
Je Me Souviens
2009 Canada 90 minutes Director: André Forcier
Focus On Quebec (US Premiere)
1948. Abitibi. To Louis, an adorable dimpled boy, his father Robert Sincenne is a hero. But to the bosses of Sullidor Mining, the Catholic Church and the all powerful prime minister of Quebec, Robert is the enemy. A communist and free-thinker, Sincenne rivals fellow miner Richard Bombardier for the leadership of the mine. When Bombardier dies suddenly and tragically, the entire mining community believes it was his wife, Mathilde, who killed him. Strong-willed and determined to avenge the accusation, Mathilde seduces the town's union leaders and husbands of the women who started the rumor. As we rummage through the debris of revenge and time, a now grown Louis finds friendship with Nemesis, the daughter of Bombardier's widow—and possibly his half-sister.
Raw, ironic, satirical but also tender and endearing, I REMEMBER brings together an outstanding cast (Céline Bonnier, Gaston Lepage, Rémy Girard, Hélène Bourgeois-Leclerc, France Castel, Roy Dupuis) to revisit a piece of the history of Quebec.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 10:45 AM Metro 4 Theatre IV
2009 Romania / UK 82 minutes Director: Peter Strickland
Eastern Bloc (US Premiere)
In the beautiful, otherworldly Carpathian Mountains a woman is traveling with a small boy in a horse and cart, looking to punish those who once abused her. For years, Katalin (Hilda Péter) has been keeping a terrible secret. Hitchhiking with two men, she was brutally raped in the woods. Although she has kept silent about what happened, she has not forgotten, and her son Órban serves as a living reminder. When her village discovers her secret, Katalin’s husband rejects her. With nothing to lose, she is free to seek revenge on the perpetrators. As she puts human faces to horrible acts, she is forced to consider that morality might not be as black and white as she had imagined.
The story of how the film was made is itself incredible. An Englishman, director Peter Strickland, spent his own savings to make KATALIN VARGA, shooting the film in three weeks on location in Hungary without knowing the language. Premiering and receiving a Silver Bear for Sound Design at the Berlin International Film Festival, KATALIN VARGA will have its(US Premiere) at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. -- Ada Jacobsen
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 Kazakhstan 82 minutes Director: Ermek Tursunov
Looking like a cross between a goth goddess and a fairy-tale queen, Kelin (Gulsharat Zhubayeva) is about to be married. High in the Altai Mountains, her father bargains with two suitors who are each vying for her hand. Unfortunately, her true love, Mergyen (Kuandyk Kystykbaev), loses out to the richer bachelor, Baktashi (Erzhan Nurymbet). Before losing the competition, however, Mergyen takes a blood oath to eventually claim Kelin for his own. In this prehistoric time, women are a valuable commodity; Kelin is the most precious thing in their community, and the most beautiful.
Kelin is a tale of love, betrayal, battle and victory, set in a sprawling, icy landscape ruled by spirit gods and the forces of nature. Relying solely on imagery to relay his message, director Ermek Tursunov abandons language and substitutes texture. The only verbalizations are battle cries and wails, but once the damage is done, there is only silence. Kelin dominates each scene with an easy grace. She is the family asset, the jewel in their crown, and they're all willing to fight to keep her there. That is, unless she decides otherwise. -- Dimitri Eipides
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
2009 Iraq / Japan 81 minutes Director: Shawkat Amin Korki
International Features (US Premiere)
In a war-torn Iraqi Kurdistan, an abandoned soccer field outside Kirkuk has become the home of Kurdish refugees whose houses were confiscated by Saddam Hussein. Attempting to cheer up a younger brother who lost a leg to a landmine and to promote friendship among ethnicities, idealistic Aso decides to stage a soccer match with Kurds, Arabs, Turks and Assyrians. This is easier said than done in a daily reality shaped by years of conflict, but he has learned to make the best of it. Livestock and car wrecks must be removed, soccer jerseys must be purchased, a judge needs to be approved by all teams—and the ball must not be kicked into people’s food. Ever-present explosions and government plans for renovating the field further complicate Aso's plan.
KICK OFF will have its North American premiere at the Santa Barbara Santa Barbara International Film Festival. -- Ada Jacobsen
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 France/USA/South Korea 75 minutes Director: N.C. Heikin
North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated nations. For sixty years, North Koreans have been governed by a totalitarian regime that controls all information entering and leaving the country. A cult of personality surrounds its two recent leaders: first, Kim Il Sung, and now his son, Kim Jong Il. For Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday, a hybrid red begonia named kimjongilia was created, symbolizing wisdom, love, justice, and peace. The film draws its name from the rarefied flower and reveals the extraordinary stories told by survivors of North Korea’s vast prison camps, of devastating famine, and of every kind of repression. All of the interviews featured took place in South Korea, where the defectors now live. Their experiences are interspersed with archival footage of North Korean propaganda films and original scenes that illuminate the contours of daily life for a people whose every action is monitored and whose every thought could bring official retribution. Along with the survivors’ stories, Kimjongilia examines the mass illusion possible under totalitarianism and the human rights abuses required to maintain that illusion. Ultimately, the defectors are inspiring, for despite the extremes they have suffered, they still hold out hope for a better future.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 New Zealand 108 minutes Director: Clive Neeson
To The Maxxx (World Premiere)
New Zealand is renowned as the world capital of adventure sports. This arose from the remote and extreme wilderness of New Zealand from which evolved a culture of innovation and self sufficiency. Amidst the politics of the atomic age and cold war, young mavericks dropped out of mainstream society to pursue their own dream. This is the story of a fellowship of children from New Zealand, Australia and USA, how they crossed paths, invented new toys, adventures and technology and eventually pioneered the worlds secret paradises and our modern adventure sports. The characters include world acclaimed scientists and adventure pioneers. In their quest for paradise they explore and film places and cultures known to few. Through stunning original footage we relive their journey in the age of innocence, on roads less travelled and through worlds that no longer exist. We share first hand the discovery, innovation and excitement. And witness the staggering changes to our world over 45 years. Through it all emerges a surprising revelation and positive hope for the future. The film is the product of an extensive project to restore the best adventure sports footage ever filmed and incorporate it into an action film with social, environmental and scientific insight into what has past and what is to come. -- Russ Spencer
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:15pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
The Last Picture Show
1971 USA 118 minutes Director: Peter Bogdanovich
In tiny Anarene, Texas, in the lull between World War II and the Korean Conflict, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) are best friends. Enduring that awkward period of life between boyhood and manhood, the two pass their time with movies, basketball, and girls. Jacy (Cybill Shepherd) is Duane's steady, wanted by every boy in school, and she knows it. Her daddy is wealthy, and it is the general consensus that whoever wins Jacy's heart will be set for life. But Anarene is dying a quiet death as folks head for the big cities to make their livings and raise their kids. The boys are torn between seeking a future beyond the borders of town or making do with their inheritance of a run-down pool hall and a decrepit movie house. As high school graduation approaches, they learn some difficult lessons about love, loneliness, and jealousy. When people stop attending the second-run features at the movie house, the time comes for the last picture show. With the closure of the movie house, the boys feel that a stage of their lives is closing. They stand uneasily on the threshold of the rest of their lives. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW was adapted from the novel by Larry McMurtry.
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
The Last Solitude
2010 USA 180 minutes Director: Catherine Bennett, Robin Bisio
Special Presentation (World Premiere)
An ice film installation at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse archway
Saturday, February 13, 2010
6 p.m. to 10 p.m., ongoing
With live music by Jim Connolly
Co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission
THE LAST SOLITUDE is a series of film projections onto a 1800 lbs wall of ice and the majestic ceiling archway of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Shimmering, melting and fleeting, the installation tells of a time and place where the solace of nature is paramount. The dancer reigns in her coastal court of rocks, sea and sand.
Filmed entirely on local beaches, THE LAST SOLITUDE is a paean and tribute to the beauty of our coast and to dance as an embodiment of our shared cellular time on earth.
All that deserted space was singing/ and I, lost and a- Wednesday,/ looking towards the silence,/ opened my mouth and said:/ 'Mother of foam,/ expansive solitude,/ here I will begin my own rejoicing,/ my own particular poetry' Pablo Neruda (trans. Alastair Reid)
Last Train Home
2009 Canada / China / UK 85 minutes Director: Lixin Fan
Last Train Home, an emotionally engaging and visually beautiful debut film from Chinese-Canadian director Lixin Fan, draws us into the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in this desperate annual migration. Sixteen years ago, the Zhangs abandoned their young children to find work in the city, consoled by the hope that their wages would lift their children into a better life. But in a bitter irony, the Zhangs’ hopes for the future are undone by their very absence. Qin, the child they left behind, has grown into adolescence crippled by a sense of abandonment. In an act of teenage rebellion, she drops out of school. She too will become a migrant worker. The decision is a heartbreaking blow for the parents. In classic cinema verité style, Last Train Home follows the Zhangs’ attempts to change their daughter’s course and repair their ruptured family. Intimate and candid, the film paints a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China. We identify with the Zhangs as they navigate through the stark and difficult choices of a society caught between old ways and new realities. Can they get ahead and still undo some of the damage that has been done to their family?
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Learning From Light - The Vision Of I.M.Pei
2009 USA 84 minutes Director: Bo Landin, Sterling Van Wagenen
The creative process is the focus of this fascinating documentary that celebrates the vision of famed architect I. M. Pei. It tells the story of his design of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. The museum, an encyclopedic collection of priceless art, took eight years to build and opened in November 2008. At the outset, Pei knew little about Islamic architecture and began, as he does all of his work, in deep study. LEARNING FROM LIGHT tells of his immersion in Islamic culture and history and of his travel throughout the Islamic world.
Pei’s work and honors are extraordinary but what is revealed in this film is his humility. “Architecture is basically very simple: it is form and light and movement . . . and more important than all of that is the place in which you build.” Building the museum took more than 1,600 workers who brought skills from around the world. LEARNING FROM LIGHT traces the construction of the museum, from the creation of the man-made island on which it stands to the installation of the art. At its completion, what the museum calls to mind is a surprise even to its creator. It is a remarkable story – and film. -- Betsy R. Cramer
- Friday, Feb. 5, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
The Legacy (La Donation)
2009 Canada 96 minutes Director: Bernard Émond
Focus On Quebec (US Premiere)
Dr. Yves Rainville (Jacques Godin) has been serving the community of Normétal in the Abitibi region of Quebec for forty years, seeing it go from a thriving mining town to a nearly empty dot on the map. Increasingly ill himself, Yves advertises for a temporary replacement, hoping to find his successor. Dr. Jeanne Dion (Élise Guilbault) answers his ad and makes the trip from the city looking for a more personal medical practice than her current position in a busy emergency room.
THE LEGACY is a deeply emotional and stirring film from Quebec auteur Bernard Émond. Émond's graceful script enhances his distinctively subtle visual approach and is aided by a quiet but moving score from Robert Marcel Lepage. Powering the movie are the stunning and knowing performances by Godin and Guilbault, two of Quebec's finest actors, who are perfectly at home in Émond's filmic landscape.
Inspired partially by Émond's own love for the picturesque region, as well as legendary filmmaker Gilles Groulx's documentary on the town (simply titled NORMÉTAL), THE LEGACY is a remembrance of a more pristine past, when small towns thrived on money from natural resources, and doctors made house calls. Émond urges that connections be remade between people and place, and more urgently between each other, in order for us to recognize once again the beauty and shared bond of existence. -- Jesse Wente
- Friday, Feb. 12, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
The Legend of Pale Male
2009 USA 85 minutes Director: Frederic Lilien
This is the true story of how one young hawk lays claim to Central Park and sets in motion a chain of events that will unite New York City behind his cause. He inspires a young man to become a filmmaker and together, they set out on a 18 year journey through life, death, birth, hope, and redemption. Known as Pale Male, the hawk becomes a magnificent obsession and a metaphor for triumph against all odds. His nest, perched on a posh 5th Avenue co-op, becomes an international tourist destination - a place of pilgrimage. Then, without warning, the building dismantles the nest. New Yorkers discover just how deep their connection to nature really is and how much they are willing to fight for it.
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Friday, Feb. 12, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
The Legend of Stuart Mossman
2009 USA 98 minutes Director: Barry K. Brown
Special Presentation (World Premiere)
A musical celebration of the life of famed Luthier, Stuart Mossman, starring David Carradine in his last film, and Keith and Bobby Carradine, all trained musicians, reminiscing, playing Mossman guitars and singing.
Featuring Dan Crary, Beppe Gambetta, Byron Berlin and other world-famous musicians.
The steel string acoustic guitar is the most popular musical instrument on the planet. In the fifties/seventies Mossman revolutionized its design and manufacture. He died young and his work is the foundation for today’s generation of Luthiers who build guitars from fine tone woods.
Stuart appears with David Carradine and Hoyt Axton in "Cloud Dancer," and with the Carradine brothers in "The Long Riders."
We meet Stuart's family and many who worked with him. Even those critical of a man who lived a life of dreams contributed vivid memories.
For Scott Baxendale the resurgence of the hand made guitar resembles Cremona at the time of Stradivari. Mossman guitars will be playing for hundreds of years, after factory made instruments have disappeared.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Letters To Father Jaakob (Postia Pappi Jaakobille)
2009 Finland 74 minutes Director: Klaus Härö
Leila Sten has spent a large part of her life in a Finnish prison. Her weighted frame and cold demeanor suggest that she has seen her fair share of burden. When her life sentence is pardoned, Leila is left homeless. She goes to live with an old priest, who promises to provide for her in return for her help. Father Jacob finds solace in the letters he receives daily from burdened souls requesting his prayers, and since he is blind, Leila’s task is to read these letters to him. When the letters stop, Jacob questions the role that God has chosen for him, and Leila finds herself facing a dilemma. LETTERS TO FATHER JACOB follows the tale of two dark lives in search of inner peace. -- Ali Cutler
- Friday, Feb. 5, 2:00pm Lobero Theatre
- Monday, Feb. 8, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
Losing Balance (Draussen Am See)
2009 Germany 105 minutes Director: Felix Fuchssteiner
International Features (US Premiere)
LOSING BALANCE (DRAUSSEN AM SEE) is an audacious and emotionally wrenching domestic melodrama from a director with a provocative sensibility. Jessika, a precocious teenage girl with loving parents and a good-natured older sister, is the center of a slightly eccentric family. In the wonderfully warm scenes at the start of the film, the family delights in each other's company, laughing and traveling together. A series of small events disrupts their delicately balanced ecosystem. Jessika’s father loses his job and becomes bored and despondent, while Jessika’s mother reenters the workforce and becomes empowered. These events act as catalysts for the slow, painful disintegration of the family, with each member committing shocking acts of alienation and self-destruction. Desperately wanting her family but at the same time desiring her adolescent independence, Jessika struggles to find the best way to restore a balance.
DRAUSSEN AM SEE is inventively directed, combining obliquely composed narrative scenes with unexpected plot turns. Led by an endearing Elisa Schlott as Jessika, the ensemble cast delivers complex performances, expertly balancing the light and dark in their characters. -- Mahil Senathirajah
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
2009 Austria / France / Germany 96 minutes Director: Jessica Hausner
Pilgrims of all descriptions travel to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes—the sick, the lonely, and the unlucky, all looking for some meaning in life. As they perform the rituals required of them, the pilgrims wish for a miracle for themselves, for a loved one, or as a sign of God’s existence. Wheelchair-bound Christine (Sylvie Testud) has been on other church-organized trips. She sees them as a good way to travel and meet people, but beyond this she has few expectations. After all, pilgrimages are always a bit touristy. LOURDES is a darkly comic drama, where a surface of piety, compassion and religious discussion hides the hypocrisy, jealousy and despair of the participants. When physical miracles cannot be promised, what hope is there of a better soul? And how will people react if a full-fledged miracle comes their way? -- Ada Jacobsen
- Monday, Feb. 8, 7:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
The Lovely Bones
2009 USA 135 minutes Director: Peter Jackson
Directed by Oscar winner Peter Jackson and based on the critically acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, THE LOVELY BONES (2009) tells the story of a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family—and her killer—from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and Oscar winners Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon star, along with Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli and Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
Maasai At The Crossroads
2009 USA 40 minutes, Directors: Joe Dietsch and Kristin Jordan.
Santa Barbara Filmmakers
Maasai At Crossroads chronicles the struggles of the Maasai tribe as they attempt to modernize while maintaining their traditional culture. The film focuses on the nonprofit organization, Africa Schools of Kenya (ASK), which is helping to bring a better educational system to the tribe. ASK is an educational organization designed to increase awareness of critical global issues such as healthy living, environmental sustainability, animal and wildlife conservation, and cultural diversity. The external factors forcing the Maasai to modernize are the current drought and the encroaching influence of civilization. The documentary asks what elements of a culture are important; what should be preserved and what can be left behind; if the children can return to the traditional Maasai way of life after being exposed to the modern world; what elements of the Maasai culture define them as a people; and how the Maasai can integrate modernization to help themselves become stewards of their land. Produced by Teri Gabrielsen, Founder of Africa Schools of Kenya. -- Russ Spencer
- Sunday, February 7, 6:30 PM Victoria Hall
- Tuesday, February 9, 10:45 AM Metro 4 Theatre IV
Michael Jackson: The Untold Story Of Neverland
2009 USA 50 minutes Director: Larry Nimmer
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
'Michael Jackson: The Untold Story Of Neverland’ takes a controversial position on the pop legend’s life, looking behind the child molestation accusations. Santa Barbara filmmaker Larry Nimmer worked as a documentary producer for the Jackson defense team during the 2005 trial, hired by the defense to present to the jury a wholesome, child-friendly view of Jackson and Neverland. During that time, he had unprecedented access to the Neverland Ranch estate. This documentary features portions of the footage he presented in court as well as unseen trial footage of his accusers, the circus-like raid by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, and interviews with Jury foreman Paul Rodriguez, attorney Tom Mesereau, and others. Nimmer's documentary also explores media bias and allegations from a 1993 settlement that resulted in a reported $20 million payment to another young accuser. As Nimmer examines the facts in the case and the nature of the media coverage, viewers are helped to make up their own minds about Jackson's guilt or innocence. The documentary ends with scenes from the Jackson memorials following his sudden death in 2009. -- Russ Spencer
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 9:30pm Victoria Hall
- Friday, Feb. 12, 10:45 AM Metro 4 Theatre IV
2009 USA 105 minutes Director: George Gallo
Special Events (US Premiere)
Witness a story so outrageous, you won’t believe it’s true.
Jack Harris has a faithful and loving wife, two beautiful children, and a successful career fixing problem companies. When an associate calls him about an opportunity to help turn around a business that has fallen into trouble, he decides to take the job. Little does he know, it is a decision that will change his life in ways he never expected.
Jack meets with Wayne Beering and Buck Dolby, two genius but troubled men who have invented a way to sell adult entertainment over the Internet. The plan was brilliant but the execution wasn’t; they were making money hand-over-fist and losing it just as fast.
Seeing the potential, Jack agrees to partner with Buck and Wayne, devising a way to bill the entertainment through a third party, taking the guilt out of the ultimate guilty pleasure. Before he knows it, he finds himself caught between the Russian mob, a 23-year-old porn star, the FBI and losing his family in the process of becoming rich.
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 7:30pm Arlington Theatre
Mission To Toyland
2009 USA 45 minutes Director: Erik Hatch
To The Maxxx (World Premiere)
Yet another highly enteraining instant classic from the reigning king of Santa Barbara street skate films, Erik Hatch. A multi-talented filmaker who also writes his own music and takes great still photos, takes us with a crew of his friends on a funfilled, 36-hour roadtrip skateboard mission to an amazing private skate park/hangout spot known to the skate community as Toyland, stopping at many truly unbelievable secret skateboard spots, skateboard parks, slalom courses, and other along ridable surfaces the way. The film includes footage of many Santa Barbara and California skaters, including Adam Bertolet, Mike Abarta, Meetch Green, George Nagai, Tony Tieu, Mike Santarossa, Sean Bolis, James Rivers, Robbie O, Georga Nagai, Hidehiko Fujiawara, James Rivers, Jonny Miller, and Mike Kresky. -- Russ Spencer
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 7:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
The Monk And The Mermaid, The Song Of Charles Lloyd
2009 France 60 minutes Director: Fara C.
Real-Markable Stories (US Premiere)
During the summer of 2008 and spring 2009, Fara C and filmmaker Giuseppi DeVecchi followed Charles Lloyd and his wife, Dorothy Darr, from the blue waters of the Mediterranean to the medieval village of Vaison-la-Romaine, to Nantes and Paris. Through Lloyd’s performances and discourse on music and life, we discover an eloquent, insightful man whose music allows us to journey with him through time and space.
Fara C, a French journalist and writer, first met Lloyd in the early 1980s when Lloyd was performing with French pianist Michel Petrucciani. Her interest in Lloyd’s music and his philosophical views grew over the decades as she interviewed him several times for various French publications. Her remarkable first film, THE MONK AND THE MERMAID, is a creative gem. The title, taken from one of Lloyd’s compositions, pays homage to the strong love both he and Darr have for the sea.
Adding to the richness and authenticity of this documentary are interviews with Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock, as well with Lloyd’s musicians Zakir Hussain, Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers, and Eric Harland. THE MONK AND THE MERMAID is a beautiful testament to Fara C’s gift as a writer and to Giuseppe De Vecchi’s artful and very personal filming. The editing masterfully underscores the powerful music and ideas of Charles Lloyd.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
2009 South Korea 128 minutes Director: Joon-ho Bong
East X West
MOTHER cares deeply for her only son, Do-Joon. Do-Joon has been the target of ridicule because of his slowness of thought. He cannot remember his own actions, and in turn he is exploited by the people around him. The town goes into a frenzy when the pretty student Moon Ah-Jung is found dead on the railing of a roof. On the night of Ah-Jung’s murder, Do-Joon was seen drunkenly leaving a bar. Accused of murder, he is arrested by long-time acquaintance and police officer, Je-Mun. Mother, knowing her child to be incapable of such murderous intentions, begins a quest to prove her son’s innocence. Do-Joon’s comrade, Jin-tae, is her first suspect. She discovers a golf club with bloodstains in his closet, but when she delivers this evidence to the police, they find the bloodstains to be the lipstick of his girlfriend. Dismayed but unwilling to leave her innocent son, Mother pursues Ah-Jung’s companion and unearths secrets about Ah-Jung's life. MOTHER is a deeply disturbing and intricately woven tale of a mother’s quest to save that which is most beloved to her. Bordering on pandemonium, this tale reveals a host of secrets that the normally untrained eye would miss. -- Ali Cutler
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:30pm Lobero Theatre
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
Mount St. Elias
2009 Austria/USA 100 minutes Director: Gerald Salmina
To The Maxxx
A dramatic and awe-inspiring feature documentary following three of the world s greatest ski mountaineers to the Mount St Elias in their attempt to realize the longest ski descent of the world. Set against the backdrop of Alaska’s dangerous beauty, Mount St Elias is about a visionary borderline experience where unparalleled physical and mental pressure pushes them to the absolute limit. They find themselves in situations in which heroism cannot easily be distinguished from folly. Situations which can only be mastered if rationality is abandoned and in which courage as well as trust in their own abilities are used as guidelines. Two Austrian ski alpinists Axel Naglich and Peter Ressmann as well as the American freeski pro Jon Jonhston are facing this breathtaking challenge. A team with individual abilities, but also a team of leaders, knowing they literally cannot survive without teamwork and cooperation. At it’s essence the film show why these skiers seek out a blend of lethal danger and delirious happiness. -- Russ Spencer
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
A Murder Of Crows
2009 Canada/France 52 minutes Director: Susan Fleming
Real-Markable Stories (US Premiere)
Crows! This visually stunning, HD-filmed documentary shows how extraordinary these common urban residents are. Belonging to the genus Corvus, these birds are seen everywhere, so ordinary as to be often unnoticed by us, but they are there, interacting with each other and watching us.
They are certainly clever, but do crows have a culture or knowledge that is passed from generation to generation? That was one of the questions posed by filmmaker Susan Fleming. The answer surprises even those of us who know how smart these birds are.
They are tricksters, the coyotes of the bird world. They are adaptable schemers and scavengers, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Their IQs would rank with those of our nearest relatives, the primates. And they are wary, especially of anything or anyone new. These qualities make telling their stories extraordinarily difficult.
Canadian filmmaker Susan Fleming spent 385 days filming in New Caledonia, Austria’s Konrad Lorenz Institute, Tokyo, and Seattle, where she followed one particular crow family. She writes, “We became crow paparazzi and we started to get some amazing footage. I threw out all the rules I knew about nature filmmaking. Forget trying to seamlessly blend into an animal's world; crows live in our world. And the way to not seem strange to them is to do what you normally would do.” And so the filmmaker did. This well-made documentary introduces us to Corvus culture. Crows have long known us; now, we know a little more about them. -- Betsy R. Cramer
- Friday, Feb. 5, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
1987 USA 94 minutes Director: Kathryn Bigelow
NEAR DARK (1987) is Kathryn Bigelow's tale of vampires in the American Southwest. There the creatures of the night are not elegant, cloaked aristocrats but rather a gun-toting band who dress and act like members of a motorcycle gang. Caleb (Adrian Pasdar), a restless young man from a small farm town, meets an alluring drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright). She reveals herself to be a vampire, who turns Caleb into one of her kind rather than kill him. But the rest of her ""family"" is slow to accept the newcomer. The ancient leader, Jesse (Lance Henriksen), and his psychotic henchman Severen (Bill Paxton) lay down the law; Caleb has to carry his own weight or die. He manages to win the gang's approval when he rescues them from certain death in a daytime gunfight during a spectacular motel shoot-out in which every bullet hole lets in a deadly ray of sunlight. When the vampires threaten Caleb's real family, he's forced to choose between life and death. The film avoids the complex vampire mythology of such films as INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. Instead, it emphasizes the intense, seductive bond that forms between Caleb and the violent but tightly knit gang. Bigelow later utilized this powerful dramatic device in her 1991 film POINT BREAK. -- Jonathan E. Laxamana
- Monday, Feb. 8, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
The Nothing Men
2009 Australia 84 minutes Director: Mark Fitzpatrick
Independent Features (US Premiere)
Panic and intrigue grip the lives of a group of hardened factory workers with the arrival of a man they fear is a head-office spy sent to rob them of their redundancy payouts.
The ruthless baiting between top dog Jack and his men only intensifies when the pacifist of the group, Wesley, befriends the seemingly normal outsider, David.
But when Wesley discovers David is hiding a much darker secret, the seeds are planted for an explosive finale that strikes like an emotional sledgehammer and seal the fate of The Nothing Men. -- Robert Mankin IV
- Friday, Feb. 5, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
On The Pipe Five
2009 USA 50 minutes Director: Jay Schweitzer
To The Maxxx
Santa Barbara director Jay Schweitzer, the leading motocross filmmaker in the world, captures the true essence of motocross and freestyle in this epic journey across the globe for the next installment of this On The Pipe series. He oversaw the moving of 40 tons of Director: t to build a brand new training facility in Reno, NV at the LIVFAST headquarters for the most ridiculous helicopter shots ever. He also traveled to Spain and France with Andre Villa, Dustin Miller and others for a look at Europe’s best riders and locations. He captured the battle for the longest jump on a motorcycle with Robbie Maddison, Ryan Capes and Bird as they strive to jump over 400 feet.
He then took his crew to Florida to film the private tracks and training facilities there, as ridden by top racers Josh Grant, Ivan Tedesco, Davi Millsaps, and Tim Ferry. Then came England for the 2008 MX Nations, Taft, California locals riding gigantic natural terrain hits in the hills, and finally, . some of the most insane helicopter shots ever in Glamas, CA with the dune kings Ronnie Renner and Josh Grant. Other riders in the film Robbie Maddison, Mike Mason, Ronnie Renner, Dustin Miller, Josh Grant, James Stewart, Adam Jones, Bilko, and Andre Villa. -- Russ Spencer
- Friday, Feb. 5, 9:30pm Victoria Hall
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 10:15pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
Out Of Place
2009 USA 71 minutes Director: Scott Ditzenberger and Darrin McDonald
To The Maxxx
Out of Place is a visually striking documentary that explores the underground surfing community in Cleveland, Ohio. Vince Labbe and his close friends endure harsh weather and dangerous conditions amidst a city recovering from a legacy of lost industry, lost jobs, and a river polluted enough to catch on fire, to surf the elusive waves of Lake Erie. begins with Vince Labbe checking for waves along the shore of Lake Erie. The lake is flat per usual. Vince works the graveyard shift at the municipal water treatment plant, so when there are waves he will never miss a day of surfing. The best seasons for surfing are fall and winter, when temperatures are often below freezing. Long flat spells in spring and summer can mean months without waves. Vince lives at home with his mother and grandmother. In the basement he shapes surfboards. His friends are fellow lake surfers. Many moved to Cleveland for work or family. The culture is celebrated among warehouses, skating, punk bands and late night parties. Many of Vince’s friends move back to California, Florida and elsewhere. But Vince, as tempted as he is to chase the surf dream in other locales, eventually realizes how special his home really is. -- Russ Spencer
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
1991 Japan / USA 120 minutes Director: Kathryn Bigelow
In POINT BREAK (1991), Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is a Special Agent for the FBI. Utah is partnered with Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), an experienced agent who is more than committed to his work. The two are asked to investigate the number of robberies committed by a group called the Ex-Presidents, each wearing masks of Presidents Reagan, Nixon, Carter and Johnson during their robberies. Pappas has a theory that the Ex-Presidents are a group of surfers and has Utah go undercover as a surfer. The problem is that Utah does not know how to surf. With the help of Tyler (Lori Petty), Utah begins to gain the respect of local surfer Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and his group. Utah forms a close bond with Bodhi, but the relationship is strained when Utah suspects that Bodhi and his group are the Ex-Presidents. -- Jeremy Thomson
- Monday, Feb. 8, 10:00pm Lobero Theatre
2009 Canada 77 minutes Director: Denis Villeneuve
Focus On Quebec
On December 6, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lépine carried a shotgun into a classroom at L'École Polytechnique in Montreal. He ordered out the male students and opened fire on the remaining nine female students before going on a shooting spree around the school, finally turning the gun on himself. In total he killed fourteen women and injured ten women and four men. His motive, found in the vitriolic suicide note he left behind, was his anger at ""feminists."" This shocking incident is the source material for POLYTECHNIQUE, filmed by Denis Villeneuve in a manner that is anything but sensationalist. Shooting in black and white, his style is inventive but simple, and the detachment in his approach serves to make the on-screen events all the more atrocious. His use of sound— and in particular silence—adds an eerily dreamlike quality to the nightmarish events.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 9:30pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Monday, Feb. 8, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theater II
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
1975 USA 92 minutes Director: Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas produced, directed, and starred in POSSE (1975), a cynical western about Howard Nightingale (Kirk Douglas), a United States marshal who uses the pursuit of an outlaw to further his political career. Nightingale organizes a posse to track down Jack Strawhorn (Bruce Dern), a notorious bank robber, but Strawhorn turns the tables on Nightingale, kidnapping him and holding him hostage. Strawhorn then demands that the posse pay $40,000 for Nightingale's safe return. In order to raise the money to free Nightingale, the posse must become bank robbers themselves. Meanwhile, Nightingale tries to insinuate himself with Strawhorn and cut a deal for his freedom.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:30pm Lobero Theatre
2009 South Korea 111 minutes Director: Park Dae-Min
East X West
It’s 1910 and Korea is occupied by the colonial forces of Japan. Jin-ho, a small-time private investigator who makes his living photographing adulterous couples in the act, has figured out a way to up his payscale. Once he’s confirmed the suspicions of jealous spouses, he turns around and sells the incriminating photos to sleazy tabloids. Jin-ho dreams of relocating to the United States and will soon have enough money to do so. But every dream is followed by a wake-up call and in this case, it comes in the form of Kwang-su, a young doctor with a serious problem. After discovering the body of a man who was quite clearly murdered in a wooded area, Kwang-su had the bright idea of bringing the cadaver home in order to practice his surgical skills. Thing is, the corpse hidden in his apartment is that of the son a high-ranking government official, and the police are actively seeking it, so the doctor must unmask the real killer before suspicion falls on him. To that end, he needs the help of a bold and clever detective, and Jin-ho is the dream candidate for the task. Given how much Kwang-su is prepared to pay, Jin-ho quickly drops his other contracts and agrees to seek out the killer. The two men, however, have little idea of just where this investigation will take them…
A debut feature from writer and director Park Dae-min, PRIVATE EYE is a distinctively Korean look at the classic detective story. The extensive task of recreating a turn of the century Korea was aptly accomplished by the good people who previously impressed us with THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 7:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 9:45pm Metro 4 Theatre II
Provinces Of Night
2009 USA 105 minutes Director: Shane Dax Taylor
Independent Features (World Premiere)
The Bloodworth family leads shattered lives in the heart of Tennessee. Three sons—Brady, Boyd and Warren (Val Kilmer)—were left at a young age by their father, E.F. (Kris Kristofferson), with just their mother to raise them. Forty years later, Brady acts as caretaker for his forlorn mother, and he has developed many violent eccentricities. Warren shamelessly throws away money, largely towards drink to fuel his alcohol dependency. Boyd's wife has left him and was seen with another man in Nashville. Yet the Bloodworths are not completely lost; Boyd’s boyishly handsome son, Fleming, is virtuous and proves to be unlike the rest of the family. When E.F. returns, Fleming begins a relationship with the beautiful Southern belle Raven (Hilary Duff), who wishes to escape the grasp of her drug-dependent and wanton mother. Boyd goes to Nashville in pursuit of the wife who left him. Brady is hell-bent on making his father’s life miserable without allowing his mother to discover that E.F. has returned. And Fleming witnesses his family’s lives crumbling before him. PROVINCES OF NIGHT is a deep, entangled forest of immorality, secrets that are taken to the grave and Southern blues that appeal to the soul. -- Ali Cutler
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 Ireland 90 minutes Director: André F. Nebe
Apple Box (US Premiere)
Eleven year old Mary lives with her estranged parents on a struggling farm in rural County Antrim, Northern Ireland. With her exasperated mother and proud, stubborn father constantly at each other's throats over lack of funds and the future of the farm, life at home is far from ideal. But Mary has other plans. Ever since she can remember, she has dreamed of becoming a racing driver, so when a rich local farmer sets up a go-cart race down in the valley, she can't resist the chance to enter. But with opposition from home, general scorn from the community and the fact that she is a girl trying to make it in a boy's world, the road to success is never going to be easy. Mary does not give in so easily though. With perseverance, determination and a little help from her loyal friend, Tom, she sets about building a go-cart until, eventually, her spirit and dedication win over the most unlikely hearts.
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 10:00 AM Arlington Theatre
Red Riding: 1974
2009 UK 102 minutes Director: Julian Jarrold
Yorkshire has the bleak atmosphere of economic uncertainty. Director Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited) shot the first film in 16mm for a “grainy” quality to reflect the gritty texture of the setting. In 1974, a young girl, Claire Kemplay, has disappeared. Instead of attending his father’s funeral, young crime reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) attends a press conference in which Claire’s mother appeals for help. Eddie has had an undistinguished life and attempts to prove himself as a journalist. He examines links between Claire and other girls who have disappeared.
Trying to interview the parents of one of the missing girls, Eddie angers his editor by failing to get the big story: Claire’s body is discovered on the property of a construction site owned by a wealthy businessman. Shocking details about Claire’s death emerge: she was tortured and raped and swan wings were stitched to her back.
Some characters appear throughout the series. Sixteen-year-old Leonard Cole (Gerard Kearns), who finds Claire’s corpse, will be part of the case in 1983. The local vicar who is with Leonard during his 1974 interview will have increased prominence in future episodes. BJ, the damaged young man who is an informant in 1974, will reappear in 1980. In 1983, BJ will provide crucial information on the identity of “the Wolf” who is pivotal to the Yorkshire crimes.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
Red Riding: 1980
2009 UK 93 minutes Director: James Marsh
For 1980, director James Marsh (Man On Wire) filmed widescreen to facilitate dialog scenes with multiple characters. This second part of the trilogy is effectively organized in the style of a police procedural. At this point in the saga, The Yorkshire Ripper’s killings of young women have lasted six years and the local police haven’t been able to determine the Ripper’s identity. Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine) of the Manchester Police is assigned by the Home Office to head a probe of the Yorkshire Police.
Peter is married. His professional life is further complicated by his personal relationship with Helen Marshall (Maxine Peake), a detective who accompanied him from Manchester. Peter finds evidence that may be tied to the events of 1974 but his inquiry is hindered by other policemen and he finds himself increasingly threatened by them.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Red Riding: 1983
2009 UK 100 minutes Director: Anand Tucker
The third director, Anand Tucker (And When Did You Last See Your Father?), shot his chapter in widescreen using the new Red Camera for “a very cinematic feel, within the constraints of the budget.” In 1983, Yorkshire is described as an area of “controlled vice.” Another schoolgirl has disappeared, and her case is compared to Claire Kemplay from 1974.
John Piggott (Mark Addy) is a lawyer without an office, described as “a bit of a loser.” When Piggott returns to his mother’s house after her death, a neighbor appeals to him to help her son Michael who had been arrested and told to plead guilty for the murder of Claire Kemplay.
Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey) sees a medium for clues on the latest disappearance and finds links between characters from 1974. With the torture of suspects and the sordid details of a decaying society unflinchingly detailed, Jobson discovers that corruption is deeper than he had believed. Piggott’s and Jobson’s searches converge for a moving conclusion to a unique and rewarding multi-part film experience. -- Ed Scheid
- Friday, Feb. 5, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
Reptiles And Amphibians
2009 UK 50 minutes Director: Rupert Barrington
In the opening sequence, an aerial camera zooms in on a solitary Komodo dragon from afar. This, states narrator David Attenborough, is the last place on Earth still ruled by reptiles. In Venezuela, a pebble toad evades a tarantula by free-falling down a steep rock face. The basilisk, nicknamed the Jesus Christ lizard, can literally run on water and the Brazilian pygmy gecko is so light it does not break the surface. Niue Island sea kraits lay their eggs in a chamber only accessible via an underwater tunnel. Komodo dragons prey on water buffalo in the dry season. They stalk a buffalo for three weeks as it slowly succumbs to a toxic bite, then strip the carcass in four hours. This film reveals the life of reptiles and amphibians like no one has seen them before.
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 6:30pm Victoria Hall
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 Poland 100 minutes Director: Borys Lankosz
THE REVERSE is a stylish black-and-white film with a unique blend of film noir, farce, murder, and a touch of the grotesque. Set in 1952 against the backdrop of the building of Warsaw's Palace of Culture, Stalin's gift to the Polish people, the story revolves around Sabina, an editor in a communist publishing house poetry department; her overprotective mother who locked her children in the basement to prevent them from taking part in the uprising; and her grandmother who rates Sabina’s hopeless cast of suitors. The lives of the three women are changed when Sabina falls in love with Bronislaw who soon reveals himself to be a regime security officer. Sabina, normally a fearful and cautious woman, reveals another side when she teams with her mother to create a bizarre and twisted scheme to save the family from oppression. The story is elegantly told from a woman's point of view and features an accomplished cast of East European stars. THE REVERSE is an astonishing film with surprises, thrills, and unexpected hilarity.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Friday, Feb. 12, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
Saviors In The Night (Unter Bauern)
2009 Germany 95 minutes Director: Ludi Boeken
By 1943, the last of the German Jews were being sent to death camps. Despite the fact that Menne Spiegel (Armin Rohde) won an Iron Cross fighting for Germany in World War I, he learns that he and his family will be deported to the East. In order to save his family, he turns to an old comrade and neighboring farmer, Heinrich Aschoff. Heinrich agrees to hide Menne's wife, Marga (Veronica Ferres), and daughter Karin who change their names. On the farm, only Heinrich and his wife are aware of the Spiegels' real identity as SS soldiers appear at every corner, posing a constant threat. While Heinrich’s daughter Annie initially distrusts Marga, the two eventually develop a deep and loving friendship. When Marga is recognized by a village landlady, Annie is torn between losing a friend and committing treason. While his family is on the farm, Menne faces even harder conditions, moving from farm to farm, and living in darkness for nearly two years. Finally in 1945, the Allies finally reach Westphalia, liberating the family and enabling them to reunite. Despite the victory, high tension remains as the Allies are unable to differentiate between the Nazis and German civilians. SAVIORS IN THE NIGHT tells the remarkable true story of a family’s fight to survive. -- Robert Mankin IV
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 10:30 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
The Secret Of Kells
2009 Ireland 75 minutes Director: Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey
“The people must have books so they may have hope.”
9th century AD. Little Brendan has spent all his life within the imposing walls of the Abbey of Kells. While his uncle Abbot Cellach once made illuminated manuscripts of faith, he has become consumed with the approaching threat of the vicious Vikings from the North. Escaping from them is Brother Aiden, a sage and a master illuminator. While the Abbot's sole concern is the physical defense of Kells, Brother Aiden's work is in the world of imagination. He is creating the most sacred, magical book in all of Ireland.
The arrival of Brother Aiden reveals a new and marvelous reality to Brendan. In the company of the cat Panga he ventures into the mysterious world outside the Abbey's walls, connecting with Aisling, a powerful spirit creature of the woods. Still, the Vikings are not the only dark threat he’ll need to face—both courage and imagination are needed if the book is to be saved. -- Ada Jacobsen
- Friday, Feb. 5, 4:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 USA 86 minutes Director: Alexis Spraic
DHL Founder and billionaire Larry Hillblom seemed to have vanished into thin air when he failed to return from a routine flight in his vintage Seabee. After his disappearance a dark side of Larry emerged. Even before he was officially declared dead, bar girls throughout Asia came forward claiming to have children by Larry and seeking a piece of his vast fortune.
SHADOW BILLIONAIRE unravels the secretive and scandalous life of this enigmatic and reclusive tycoon. The battle over his estate took on epic proportions, pitting impoverished teenage prostitutes against Larry’s former business associates and several of the largest law firms in the world. In the end it is a David and Goliath story, as a surprising hero emerges to untangle the web and discover the startling truth.
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
2009 USA 58 minutes Director: Walter Georis
To The Maxxx
This documentary film pays tribute to the men and women of the surf world that were there in the 1960s, working in the trenches, creating and un-knowingly shaping the future of surfing as we know it today.This handful of influential innovators had no idea at the time how their work would change the lives of millions of people through their innovative thinking and commitment to their craft. The film includes interviews and portraits of such legendary shapers as Santa Barbara’s own Reynolds Yater, as well as Hobie Alter, Tom Morey, Skip Frye, and surfers Wingut, Steve Pezman, Henry Ford, Robert August, Mimi Monroe, Greg Noll, Bruce Brown, and many others. -- Russ Spencer
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 6:30pm Victoria Hall
- Friday, Feb. 12, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
A Single Man
2009 USA 99 minutes Director: Tom Ford
A SINGLE MAN is based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood. Set in Los Angeles in 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, it is the story of a British college professor (Colin Firth) who is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long time partner, Jim. (Matthew Goode). George dwells on the past and cannot see his future as we follow him through a single day, where a series of events and encounters ultimately leads him to decide if there is a meaning to life after Jim. George is consoled by his closest friend Charley (Julianne Moore), a 48 year old beauty who is wrestling with her own questions about the future. A young student of George’s, Kenny (Nicolas Hoult), who is coming to terms with his true nature, stalks George as he feels in him a kindred spirit.
Fade to Black, in association with Depth of Field presents A SINGLE MAN starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, and Nicolas Hoult. Based on the 1964 novel of the same title by Christopher Isherwood. Written, directed and produced by Tom Ford. The screenplay was co-written by David Scearce, while Chris Weitz, Andrew Miano and Robert Salerno produced the film with Ford.
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
Skatopia: 88 Acres Of Anarchy
2009 USA 92 minutes Director: Laurie House
To The Maxxx
Skatopia is an Appalachian farm where hardcore skating, punk rock and hillbilly culture collide in one anarchistic, unique community. Mad-Max style demolition derbies and spontaneous car burning accompany all-night skate sessions. Pain is a badge of honor. Tony Hawk calls Skatopia a “rite of passage” for hardcore skaters. Skatopia’s owner, Brewce Martin, dreamed of a place where he could live and breathe skating… a place where people forget their “outside” lives by plunging into high-energy craziness. A continual work-in-progress, this rural farm is a mecca for skaters who want to live outside society’s rules. “Dictator Brewce” presides over the mayhem like a modern-day Jim Jones. But despite Skatopia’s infamy, he scrambles non-stop to keep the farm solvent. Now 40, he’s bent on creating a monument to freedom that will outlast him. As filming begins in 2006, Brewce hatches a slew of plans to get out of debt and build crazy new skate terrain. His infectious optimism persists even as misfortunes pile on. But with an unexpected stay in jail, it looks as if the year’s great potential is lost. He returns to Skatopia bent on salvaging his income, his relationships and rest of the skating season. The movie celebrates the freedom from everyday life that Skatopia offers, but it also takes a hard look at the flip side of Brewce’s energy and charisma. No story-book hero, Brewce can switch from inspiring visionary to bullying cult-leader in seconds. -- Russ Spencer
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:15pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30pm Victoria Hall
Slovenian Girl (Slovenka)
2009 Slovenia 90 minutes Director: Damjan Kozole
When a German politician has a heart attack in his hotel room, the prostitute who calls for help becomes the object of everyone’s attention. Having the police, press and other unsavory characters looking for the call girl “Slovenka” (meaning Slovenian Girl) is the last thing Alexandra needs. An ambitious English student and skillful liar, she started working as a prostitute on the side, earning money to buy an apartment and get the life she wanted. Coping with her loving but clueless father, high mortgage payments and exams she has no time to study for, she can’t afford any more problems. As she fights to keep everything from unraveling, her independence turns into loneliness and she becomes aware of a darker side to human nature—not to mention the unwanted consequences her actions might bring. Soon she is living on the edge. Are her dreams really worth the risks and sacrifices? -- Ada Jacobsen
- Friday, Feb. 5, 8:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Monday, Feb. 8, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
South Of The Border
2009 USA 102 minutes Director: Oliver Stone
Special Presentation (US Premiere)
Featuring interviews with seven national leaders who all express great affection for their neighbors to the north if not for historical U.S. foreign policy, SOUTH OF THE BORDER suggests a clear way forward for a continent that has largely shaken off the grip of imperialism and what Stone calls predatory capitalism as opposed to benign capitalism.
Following a brief history of the events in Venezuela that led to the presidency of Hugo Chavez, Stone shows how the media in that country altered film of violent demonstrations to show his supporters firing on their opposition and how those images were fed to the rest of the world. He details similar exaggerations in other countries and quotes facts and figures from each region.
His cameras follow Chavez, who was born in poverty, to the place of his childhood and on trips to a cattle farm and a plant that produces flour with help from Iran. On the way there, Chavez tells the director, "This is where we're building the Iranian atomic bomb." There is similar black humor from other leaders with Rafael Correa of Ecuador saying of the U.S. media, ""I'd be more worried if they spoke well of me.""
Stone is clearly impressed with the leaders he meets, and there are many relaxed scenes, including one in which he gets a great kick out of Bolivian leader Evo Morales showing him the best coca leaves to chew, a benign cure for the nauseous effects of the altitude in La Paz. (From the Hollywood Reporter-Ray Bennett)
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 4:30pm Lobero Theatre
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 4:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
1984 USA 115 minutes Director: John Carpenter
Having crashed to Earth, an extraterrestrial space traveler in STARMAN (1984) must assume a human identity lest he be captured by the authorities. The alien (Jeff Bridges) chooses the likeness of the recently deceased husband of Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen). At first dumbstruck, Jenny becomes both hostile toward and frightened of her guest. He gradually wins her confidence, learning a few vital English phrases so that he can explain his presence. The ""starman"" has come to Earth with a message of peace, in response to a similar message sent out on the Voyager spacecraft. He asks for Jenny's help in transporting him to the Nevada desert, where his fellow aliens are to pick him up and take him to his home planet. Soon he and Jenny form a united front against a mean-spirited National Security Council agent (Richard Jaeckel), who intends to seize the starman and turn him over for scientific scrutiny (and possible extermination). While en route to Nevada, Jenny grows closer to the gentle-natured starman, and by the time he is poised to leave, she is carrying his child. Although this left an opening for a sequel, one was never produced; however, a weekly television version surfaced in 1986. STARMAN stars Jeff Bridges. -- Hal Erickson
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
2009 Canada 108 minutes Director: Ken Scott
Focus On Quebec
Filmed in Argentina, STICKY FINGERS is about a gang of small-time crooks interrupted by police during the biggest boost of their lives. In desperation, they turn over two million in cash to one of the men and send him off to stash it. The money ends up in Spain, where the man who knows the fortune's location won't release it unless the criminals, now out of jail, reform. They're supposed to hike more than 500 miles along the 1000-year-old pilgrimage route leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain near the French border, and during the process, redeem themselves. If they can prove they are now better men, the booty is theirs.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 9:30pm Metro 4 Theatre I
1995 USA 145 minutes Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Set in Los Angeles two days before the end of 1999, STRANGE DAYS (1995) introduces us to Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), an ex-cop turned sleazy hustler who hawks the newest underground thrill on the black market: a ""squid,"" a headpiece that allows the transmission of digital recordings of other people's thoughts, feelings, and memories into the viewer's brain. As Lenny describes it, ""this is real life, pure and uncut, straight from the cerebral cortex."" Lenny sells ""clips"" (the software) as well as ""squids"" (the hardware) for this new and illegal entertainment system, and while sex and violence are the most popular themes, Lenny refuses to deal in ""blackjack""—slang for snuff clips. Lenny is nursing a broken heart after his girlfriend, punk singer Faith Justin (Juliette Lewis), left him, and he spends a lot of time with clips he recorded when they were together. Faith is now involved with Philo Grant (Michael Wincott), a music business tycoon who once managed Jeriko One (Glenn Plummer), a hip-hop musician and political activist whose murder has sent Los Angeles into a state of chaos. When a clip emerges that shows that Jeriko was killed by police officers, Lenny finds his life in danger, and he tries to escape possible death on both sides of the law with the help of his friend Mace Mason (Angela Bassett). -- Mark Deming
- Monday, Feb. 8, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
The Sun Came Out
2010 New Zealand 90 minutes Director: Simon Mark-Brown
Special Presentation (World Premiere)
Seven years ago Neil Finn (Crowded House) gathered together musicians from across the globe in New Zealand including Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Phil Selway and Ed O’Brien from Radiohead and others to play some gigs.
Now seven years later, Neil is doing it again and has added the magnificent Wilco and KT Tunstall to the bill. But this time as well as three concerts, they must record an album of new songs in three weeks with proceeds going to the charity Oxfam.
The Sun Came Out is an inspiring, very intimate look at some of the best musicians in the world gathering in a place of spectacular beauty to record all new songs with a strict time limit, no real plan but enough goodwill to do it all for charity. Come on the ride and witness the artists, the humor, the love and especially… the music.
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
- Friday, Feb. 12, 10:00pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
Ten Stories Tall
2010 USA 97 minutes Director: David Garrett
Independent Features (World Premiere)
Have you ever loved somebody so much that you felt as though you were ten stories tall?
Love. Death. Family. These are subjects that are too large to be explored without the help of some intimate, personal stories. In this case it’s all happening in the little city that is New York. Anna has died, and her family and best friend Grace (Tovah Feldshuh) are left to pick up the pieces. In the aftermath of a revealing funeral, all are returning to their somewhat normal lives. Grace’s daughter Josephine (Jennifer Regan) tries to support her mother while figuring out what she wants to do with her own life. In addition, she tries to defend her mother’s behavior towards her and her sister. Anna's son Charlie (Josh Hamilton) has lost his mother, but when he receives some chilling news, his sister and girlfriend contemplate the idea of losing another loved one. Some find it more difficult to let go, while others are more concerned with accepting what lies ahead. -- Ada Jacobsen
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 10:30 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Monday, Feb. 8, 2:00pm Lobero Theatre
That Evening Sun
2009 USA 110 minutes Director: Scott Teems
Abner Meecham, an aging Tennessee farmer discarded to a nursing facility by his lawyer son, flees the old folks' home and catches a ride back to his country farm to live out his days in peace. Upon his return, he discovers that his son has leased the farm to Abner's old enemy and his white trash family. Abner moves into the old tenant shack on the property and declares that he won't leave until the farm is returned to his possession. But Lonzo Choat, the new tenant, has no intention of moving out or giving in to the old man's demands.
This sets up a ruthless grudge match between Abner and Choat, each man right in his own eyes, each too stubborn to give an inch. Angered by his son's betrayal and haunted by recurring dreams of his long-dead wife, Abner sets out on his own path toward reclaiming his life. Lines are drawn, threats are made, and the simmering tension under the Southern sun erupts, inevitably, into savagery.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
A Thousand Year Song Of Baobab (Baobabu No Kioku)
2009 Japan 102 minutes Director: Seiichi Motohashi
Documentary Features (US Premiere)
director Seiichi Motohashi went to the village of Touba Toul, 30 km west of Dakar, where he recorded the changing of the seasons and the planting of millet and peanuts, the two main crops. His focus, is the abundant baobab tree and the central role it plays in local people's lives, providing sustenance, medicine, fuel and a living connection to the world of gods and ghosts; and a young hero, Modou, a 12-year-old boy, who, while dreaming of public school, plays soccer with his friends, tends to his father's cows and goes to the village Koran school. (He is too busy working to attend the public school where lessons are taught in French, a key to advancement in Senegalese society.) This existence may be one long drought away from destitution, but Modou and his family, friends and neighbors live it with the sort of day-to-day peace, harmony and joy that — to outsiders used to media images of African starvation and violence — may seem either incredible or inspiring. But, as ""Baobab no Kioku"" reminds us with its final, devastating images, this way of life is probably doomed. More and more Senegalese see the baobab not as a source of natural riches and spirituality, but as an impediment to the latest strip mine or real-estate scheme. -- Mark Schilling
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 10:00 AM Santa Barbara Museum of Art - Saturday, Feb. 13, 10:00 AM Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 10:00am, Metro 4 Theater 1
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 1:00pm, Metro 4 Theatre 1
Three Big Ideas: Principles For Post-Recession Success
2010 USA 57 minutes Director: Sam Tyler
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
Santa Barbara filmmaker Sam Tyler has spent the past 30 years exploring the reasons some companies thrive, and others do not. In Three Big Ideas, the combines classic footage, with new material, to illustrated underlying principles for success. The goal is to help organizations today manager their way through, and beyond, the recession. Tyler focuses on what he calls the “Three Big Ideas” for business. These are taken from three best-selling books whose ideas form the cornerstone of Tyler’s presentation: ‘In Search of Excellence, Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies; The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t. Using real life examples and compelling interviews from CEOs and employees of Tennant, Coca-Cola, Apple, Southwest Airlines, and more. -- Russ Spencer
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot
1974 USA 115 minutes Director: Michael Cimino
As much an eccentric character study as a road movie, THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (1974) follows the adventures of a quartet of misfits in their life of crime. Retired thief Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) and sweet drifter Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) meet when Thunderbolt jumps into Lightfoot's stolen car to escape a gunman. The pair embarks on an oddball journey to get Thunderbolt's loot from an old robbery before his former associates, Eddie Goody (Geoffrey Lewis) and the sadistic Red (George Kennedy) get to it first. All four are too late; the one-room schoolhouse hiding place has apparently vanished. So instead, they get jobs while they plot to rob a place Thunderbolt and Red had hit before. Although the plan goes awry, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot discover that they may still have succeeded—or so they think. As the easy-going mediator between the two, Eastwood's Thunderbolt was a move away from his usual roles in the Director: ty Harry and spaghetti western films. This was Michael Cimino's directorial debut, and for his role as Lightfoot, Jeff Bridges received his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. -- Lucia Bozzola
- Sunday, Feb. 14, 10:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre I
2009 Tajikistan 83 minutes Director: Nosir Saidov
Eastern Bloc (US Premiere)
Nestled on a handsome mountainside in Tajikistan is the picturesque town of Safedobi. Here life is simple: Nilufar works with her uncle Kirill Ivanovich at the top of the village in a weather center. They do a meteorologist’s work, predicting the weather and observing the planetary movements. Nilufar’s hand in marriage has been promised to Aziz. Once Nilufar is married, Kirill will be left alone in his weather center after training her for two years. Kirill arranges with Aziz's father to have Nilufar live in the weather center with Aziz after they marry, but these arrangements are thwarted when a political border zone is created between Nilurar's and Aziz's villages. The two are separated by a barbed wire fence they cannot cross without severe penalties. A further complication is that Nilufar’s mother is pregnant, and the hospital lies on the other side of the fence. TRUE NOON is an authentically cultural film, depicting life in Tajikistan— both in images of a quintessential family life and in the genuine chaos that exists in a country well acquainted with political turmoil. -- Ali Cutler
- Friday, Feb. 5, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Friday, Feb. 12, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 Iran 88 minutes Director: Abdolreza Kahani
International Features (US Premiere)
In the rich tradition of Iranian humanist filmmaking, TWENTY delicately explores everyday hardships and uncommon kindnesses in an economically struggling district of modern Tehran. A once thriving reception hall has been reduced to catering to the funeral business and the somber rituals of death. The owner, Soleimani, is a sour, lonely and unloved old man who treats his workers with contempt, inflicting small cruelties whenever possible. Embittered and seeing a psychologist, he decides he will close the business in twenty days, sending his staff, already fighting just to get by, into a state of fear and uncertainty.
Like a close-knit family, the staff members endure their daily suffering together. These good-hearted people include an ostracized young widow trying to survive with her daughter; a chef with a paralyzed arm who has a demanding wife; and two young men, working but homeless, who must sleep in the company’s truck.
Despite Soleimani’s indifference to their plight, the people on his staff have retained their hope and humanity. As the threat of closure nears, they work together to save the hall and at the same time attend to each others’ emotional needs.
Confidently directed with an observational eye, TWENTY is graced by powerful performances from a gifted ensemble cast whose faces reveal more than their words. TWENTY is a poignant slice of perishable life set in the pervasive, everyday struggle between anger and compassion.
In 2009 TWENTY won the Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. -- Mahil Senathirajah
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Monday, Feb. 8, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 USA 62 minutes Director: Lydia Nibley
TWO SPIRITS tells a nuanced story of what it means to be poor, transgendered, and Navajo. It examines the lives of Fred Martinez, his friends, family, the police, and those in the larger community who were most affected by his murder.
The documentary explores Fred’s short and compelling life, his terrible death, and his enduring legacy—one that has led to renewed resolve by many people of the several cultures of the Four Corners region not only to accept diversity, but to honor it, and to help ensure that people are free to express the totality of who they are. TWO SPIRITS demonstrates that we have much to gain from making our communities safe for people like Fred Martinez and poses the question asked by his grieving mother, “Why are people killed for being who they are?”
The narrative is grounded in the events foreshadowing the murder, the horrible reality of what happened on a night when one boy bludgeoned another with a large rock, then bragged to friends that he had ""bug-smashed a fag,"" and the police work that brought the killer to justice. But the larger ambition of TWO SPIRITS is to reach beyond an account of violence and hatred to explore issues of gender, sexuality, and spirituality in compelling ways.
The Fred Martinez Project and the documentary film TWO SPIRITS received the 2008 Monette-Horwitz Distinguished Achievement Award for outstanding activism, research, and scholarship to combat homophobia. Say Yes Quickly Productions principals Lydia Nibley and Russell Martin are respectively director and producer of the film.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Monday, Feb. 8, 3:30pm Victoria Hall
The University Of Nuclear Bombs
2010 USA 55 minutes Director: Joshua King, Mohamed Elsawi
Real-Markable Stories (World Premiere)
THE UNIVERSITY OF NUCLEAR BOMBS maintains that every nuclear weapon the US has ever had was designed by the University of California. Since the 1940s, UC has managed the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, homes to US nuclear weapon research, development and testing. Billions of federal dollars have flowed into UC-managed research.
Filmmakers Mohamed Elsawi and Joshua King present their case through extensive interviews with former Los Alamos scientists, university professors, Livermore residents and watchdog activists working to raise consciousness about this research and the frequent carelessness with which it has been conducted. Those interviewed include Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Helen Caldicott, and David Krieger.
Increasingly, as awareness spreads, there is public pressure to make UC nuclear-free. Young activists have organized rallies and attended meetings of the Board of Regents to protest the university's role in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
With archival footage and contemporary interviews, THE UNIVERSITY OF NUCLEAR BOMBS is a provocative film that will bring light to this timely issue and encourage debate. -- Betsy R. Cramer
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Monday, Feb. 8, 1:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 USA 96 minutes Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
From the revolutionary minds of Pixar Animation Studios and the acclaimed director of MONSTERS, INC. comes a hilarious uplifting adventure where the sky is no longer the limit. Carl Fredicksen, a retired balloon salesman, is part rascal, part dreamer who is ready for his last chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, Russell, an overeager 8-year old Wildnerness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard, is in the wrong place at the wrong time -- Carl's front porch! The world's most unlikely duo reach new heights and meets fantastic friends like Dug, a dog with a special collar that allows him to speak, and Kevin, the rare 13-foot tall flightless bird. Stuck together in the wilds of the jungle, Carl realizes that sometimes life's biggest adventures aren't the ones you set out for.
UP flies high with a pristine picture, theater-quality sound and hours of never-before-seen bonus features available only on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. It's an adventure that will send your spirits soaring!
From the revolutionary minds of Pixar Animation Studios and the acclaimed director of MONSTERS, INC. comes a hilarious uplifting adventure where the sky is no longer the limit.
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 10:00 AM Arlington Theatre
2009 Italy 128 minutes Director: Marco Bellocchio
Mussolini's early life provides the grist for a major examination of the dictator in Marco Bellocchio's tough-edged but brilliantly directed film. With decades of cinematic experience behind him, as well as a filmography that includes some of the most important post-war Italian films ever made, Bellocchio is well prepared for this challenge. Vincere stands as a model for anyone setting out to capture the flavour and essence of a famed historical figure.
Choosing to focus on Mussolini as a young man, before he became Il Duce, allows Bellocchio to grapple with some little-known details about the dictator's life, indeed the great secret of his past: early on, he had a wife and a son, both written out of the historical record and denied recognition. She was the fiery, erotic Ida Dalser, a woman Mussolini met in 1907 when he was a young socialist provocateur. Seven years later, they became lovers, and her overwhelming passion for the young journalist helped him start his own newspaper, Il Popolo d'Italia. She sold her possessions to provide the financing for the paper, thereby launching the career of the aspiring politician. In 1915, she bore him a son, also named Benito, and the couple married. But within a very short time, she discovered to her shock that her husband had married another woman, Rachele Guidi. Henceforth, Ida was kept at a distance, eventually held under house arrest and finally thrown into an insane asylum, where she petitioned Mussolini and the pope, demanding that her marriage be recognized.
Bellocchio superbly dramatizes this story while skilfully weaving astounding archival footage into his narrative, moving from the intimate, hot-blooded relationship between Ida and Mussolini to the stirring newsreels of the period as their relationship disintegrates. The film has been a revelation for Italians, not only confronting them with the image of the Duce – seen strutting in full-screen bravado – but also provoking comparisons, vigorously denied by Bellocchio, between Mussolini and Italy's current prime minister, Berlusconi. Even if inadvertent, this juxtaposition gives one pause for thought, but Bellocchio is far from a sensationalist grabbing the moment. This is serious, intelligent filmmaking of the highest order.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 4:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
Visions Of A Universal Humanity
2010 USA 75 minutes Director: Patricia Gaul
Santa Barbara Filmmakers (World Premiere)
VISIONS OF A UNIVERSAL HUMANITY is the second movie in the award-winning HUMANITY ASCENDING Documentary Series produced by the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. In VISIONS, futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard brings together some of the finest minds of our time, including world renowned physicist Freeman Dyson, biologist Bruce Lipton, scholar Jean Houston and others who present cutting edge perspectives on humankind's potential to create a positive future for the Earth. Based on current scientific, social and spiritual realities and credible future probabilities, the optimism of VISIONS presents an alternative viewpoint to the doom and gloom Armageddon scenarios currently circulating. VISIONS is a movie that takes us beyond now, beyond 2012, into a future of infinite possibilities.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7:00pm Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 10:00 AM Victoria Hall
Vital Signs (Les Signes Vitaux)
2009 Canada 88 minutes Director: Shannon Walsh
Focus On Quebec
Wavering on the border of romance and drama, Vital Signs offers a new perspective on life, mortality, and the mysterious desire to help others in need. It is a film that is both eerie and heartwarming.
Marie-Hélène Bellavance plays Simone, a young, independent biology student at Harvard who has returned home to deal with the aftermath of her grandmother’s unexpected death. Simone volunteers at the center where her grandmother had lived and forms some of the most intimate, but short-lived, relationships she has ever experienced. That Simone is able to help the center’s patients, who rely on her for nearly all their needs, gives her a sense of authority and purpose that she has not experienced before. This overwhelming sense of gratification quickly takes a subconscious toll on Simone, as she grows too close to the patients and ignores the rules of therapy.
Bellavance gives the film’s strongest performance, bringing sincerity and warmth to Simone’s character. Nearly silent scenes and a recurring minimalist soundtrack add to the film’s appeal.
- Thursday, Feb. 11, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Friday, Feb. 12, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Saturday, Feb. 13, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
Waiting For Forever
2010 USA 94 minutes Director: James Keach
Independent Features (World Premiere)
Who decides what is normal? A unique story of love, friendship and a view of the world from different perspectives, WAITING FOR FOREVER explores the connections people make in the face of life's changes. Best friends while they were growing up, Emma (Rachel Bilson) and Will (Tom Sturridge) lost touch a long time ago—as far as she knows. To Will, Emma never stopped being the most important person in his life. Believing them to be forever linked, he goes wherever she goes. Will doesn’t have a home, a car, or a “real” job. He survives on his talent as a juggler and entertainer—talents honed through years of showing off for Emma. When her father gets sick, Emma returns to their hometown, trying to leave behind her complicated love life and failing career as a TV actress. As its characters face love, death and their own preconceptions, WAITING FOR FOREVER questions the realities of life.
From the producers of WALK THE LINE and GROUNDHOG DAY, WAITING FOR FOREVER features an ensemble cast including Nikki Blonsky, Richard Jenkins and Blythe Danner. A brand new venture from director James Keach, the film will have its (World Premiere) at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. -- Ada Jacobsen
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 10:30 AM Metro 4 Theatre III
- Friday, Feb. 12, 7:30pm Metro 4 Theatre III
When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun
2010 USA 112 minutes Director: Director: k Simon
Documentary Features (World Premiere)
Forty years after the beginning of the Chinese invasion, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama compromised in the late 80's on the idea of a free Tibet and offered China the option of a genuine autonomy instead. This adjustment in approach was the beginning of a conflict that is tearing apart Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. The Dalai Lama is without question the leader of all Tibetans. However, they also desire freedom and independence more than anything else. Seven years in the making, When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun shows an unprecedented inside perspective on the Tibetan community in exile, its young generation and their struggle to free their homeland Tibet. This film reveals an internal conflict that has been dividing Tibetans and hindering their movement for decades. Also for the first time, this film introduces the only officially recognized descendant of the Great Religious Kings of Tibet. Continuing a 1400 year old lineage, 18 year old Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Wangchuk was crowned by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in June 2004 in Dharamsala, India. With exclusive footage from the coronation, intimate interviews and access to the family's archive material, When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun explores the struggle of a young Tibetan King alongside the peers of his generation. It reveals for the first time how they try to reflect on their history while they redefine their identities in this new world of shifting politics and changing religious devotion.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 10:45 AM Metro 4 Theatre IV
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 12:30pm Victoria Hall
- Monday, Feb. 8, 1:45pm Metro 4 Theatre IV
When You're Strange
2009 USA 90 minutes Director: Tom DiCillo
The Doors are probably my favorite band. Maybe that’s because they emerged at such a troubled point in American history and so captured the zeitgeist of that era, the late 1960s and early '70s. And yet I don’t mythologize them. But Tom DiCillo’s feature documentary is such an inspired portrait of not only the band and its iconic singer, Jim Morrison, and also that time period and its contradictions, its optimism and fury, its co-optation and transformation, that it instantly carried me back to those days. When You're Strange is far from a nostalgic journey and much more than a biopic. Using only original footage shot between 1966 and 1971, DiCillo's film attempts to disentangle truth from myth, depict the artist and the alcoholic/addict that was Morrison, and showcase the other members of the band: Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore, who together channeled the group's magic. It manages to preserve the mystique but never ceases to unearth new revelations and augment our understanding of who the Doors were and what they became. As well as an astute chronicle of the times, this is a deeply personal film for DiCillo. In the final analysis, When You're Strange is a rare tribute to music, individuality, and a generation and resonates with an authenticity that speaks to anyone who wants to understand that era and what it means today.
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7:00pm Lobero Theatre
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 9:30pm Victoria Hall
The Wild Hunt
2009 Canada 96 minutes Director: Alexandre Franchi
Focus On Quebec
Erik Magnusson lives at home with his ill father, while his older brother Bjorn leads a life of dreams in the Viking reenactment encampment. Erik scorns Bjorn for avoiding the real world, living as a Viking with others who dwell in the imaginary. Yet when Erik’s girlfriend feels trapped by her life and leaves to become Princess Evelynn, Erik must enter the false world he so detests. He learns that Princess Evelynn is the prisoner of the ominous King Mortagh. When Erik joins the battle to regain her love, he learns that these ancient war games are in fact no game at all. The game, once a way of escaping, becomes very real. THE WILD HUNT has the mask of a humorous film, but swiftly reveals a more sinister depiction of medieval times. This ballad recounts a tale of fantasy as it enters the kingdom of reality. -- Ali Cutler
- Friday, Feb. 5, 9:45pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 9:45pm Metro 4 Theatre II
The Wind Journeys (Los Viajes Del Viento)
2009 Colombia 117 minutes Director: Ciro Guerra
Spanish/Latin American Cinema (US Premiere)
THE WIND JOURNEYS is a deceptively simple story: two men on a journey, each with common quests but finding unexpected truths. Recently wido- Wednesday, Ignacio (Marciano Martinez) is an accomplished accordionist and singer who is on a mission to get rid of the instrument he believes is cursed. Fermín (Yull Núñez) is a young man of few prospects, who doggedly follows Ignacio hoping to become an accordion master (or juglar) himself. The two men barely speak to each other, with Ignacio plodding along in grim determination atop his donkey, and Fermín naively tagging along, refusing to be affected by Ignacio’s disdain.
Through this elegantly simple structure, director Ciro Guerra leads the viewer on a slow and meditative expedition through the beautiful, unspoiled countryside and vibrant villages of northern Colombia, circa 1968. Golden fields and crisp, cloud-draped mountaintops grace the screen, the camera holding this stunning scenery just long enough to lull the viewer. But suddenly the story is punctuated by eruptions of life and drama. During one of these episodes, Ignacio, needing money for his journey, reluctantly agrees to participate in a battle of lyrical wit and accordion-playing prowess. What seems like pure fun, however, quickly escalates to a dangerous and pitched battle and accusations of sorcery. At another point he is forced to provide musical accompaniment at a vicious street fight. Fermín quietly observes and assists, and he learns that his talents may lie in another form of musical expression.
THE WIND JOURNEYS is an unsentimental tale of a reluctant friendship amid loss and discovery, all with a majestic and mystical backdrop. -- Jacqueline Spafford
- Monday, Feb. 8, 7:15pm Metro 4 Theatre II
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
Woman Without Piano (La Mujer Sin Piano)
2009 Spain 94 minutes Director: Javier Rebollo
Spanish/Latin American Cinema
Rosa (Broken Embrace's Carmen Machi) is a Madrid housewife who runs a hair removal business from home. As her taxi-driver husband Francisco (Pep Ricart) leaves for work, we watch as she attends to clients and domestic chores. Only beneath the veneer of quiet efficiency there lies a sense of disquiet, that only begins to emerge as her husband goes to bed, Rosa embarks on a night odyssey, and we are invited to follow and observe as the adventure unfolds. From Javier Rebollo, winner of the FIPRESCI award at the 2006 LFF with Lola, his debut feature, comes a new film similarly concerned with a central protagonist on the edge in a cityscape where the impersonal and the bureaucratic predominate. From an economical script (co-written with Lola Mayo), Rebollo builds up a narrative in which much remains suggested and implied. Carmen Machi, one of Spain's most popular TV actresses, here shows a veritable change of register in capturing the anxieties and concerns beneath Rosa's veneer of calm competence. The result is a disquieting film from one of Spain's most distinctive young filmmakers, who recently received the Best director Award at this year's San Sebastian Film Festival. -- Maria Delgado
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
The World Is Big And Salvation Lurks Around The Corner (Svetat E Golyam I Spasenie Debne Otvsyakade)
2008 Bulgaria 105 minutes Director: Stephan Komandarev
On the way from Germany to Bulgaria to visit his grandparents, Alexander Georgiev (Carlo Ljubek) survives a massive car crash. After waking up in the hospital not knowing who or where he is, Alexander is diagnosed with a form of amnesia. Upon hearing of the accident, Alexander’s grandfather Bai Dan (Miki Manojlovic) rushes to the hospital, informing Alexander of his identity and the fact his parents were killed in the crash. In an attempt to recover Alexander's lost memories, Bai Dan takes his grandson on a spiritual journey across Europe to Bulgaria riding a tandem bicycle. As the reigning king of backgam- Monday, Bai Dan teaches the game to Alexander, connecting its rules and strategies to larger life lessons such as chance, love, and loss. On the road, the two stop at a refugee camp, unlocking a large part of Alexander’s past. Flashbacks tell the story of how Alexander and his parents immigrated to Germany by way of Italy in the early 1980s as a result of political pressure in Bulgaria. At the end of his journey with his grandfather, Alexander finally reaches Bulgaria and faces his grandfather in a game of backgammon. The film carefully weaves the past and the present, uniting Alexander and the viewer in an attempt to assemble history. -- Robert Mankin IV
- Friday, Feb. 5, 8:00 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
- Sunday, Feb. 7, 10:15 AM Metro 4 Theatre II
2009 Poland 110 minutes Director: Pawel Borowski
Eastern Bloc (US Premiere)
The day begins in a huge, unspecified metropolis. A cell phone rings in a manager’s office, on a high floor of an international corporation’s building. A businessman answers. A sloppy, fat guy calls to confirm a “job.”. The wheel of fate collides with synergy . Zero is a story about love and hate, cheating and being cheated, violence and sex, and surprising secrets all within a strange twenty-four hours.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:00pm Metro 4 Theatre I
- Monday, Feb. 8, 9:30pm Metro 4 Theatre I"