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Santa Barbara International Film Festival still on, Palm Springs cancels

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With COVID concerns playing out like a medical mystery movie, entertainment events around the country are adjusting. This week the Santa Barbara International Film Festival officials said they will still hold their March event.

The Palm Springs Film Festival starting this weekend has been called off.

The SBIFF is set for March 2-12 this year. It has been in late January in the past.

There will be strict protocols for the event (with possible changes) going forward.

They include:

All attendees, staff and volunteers will be required to provide Photo ID and proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 including a booster shot for those eligible and for whom the CDC recommends.

To pick up your Festival pass, you will be required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior.

Some Festival events will require another negative COVID-19 test taken prior to admission.

Masks will be required while inside as well as while in line for any and all Festival events and screenings.

Theatres will operate at a reduced capacity.

The SBIFF says it wants to "safely celebrate the magic of cinema. The festival is much more than an accumulation of movies, it's a family gathering, a show of community, and we are besides ourselves with anticipation to see you and experience it all...safely."

Honorees this year include:

Kristin Stewart - American Riviera Award

Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis - Outstanding Performers of the Year

Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Emilia Jones (CODA), Troy Kotsur (ODA), Simon Rex (Red Rocket), and Saniyya Sidney (King Richard) - Virtuosos Award Presented by UGG.

Officials with the Palm Springs Festival released a statement saying:

Based on the current rise of COVID cases, the Palm Springs International Film Society has announced that the Film Festival will not take place this year from January 7-17. This follows the cancellation of the January 6 Film Awards. After thoughtful consideration, the Film Society feels this is the most responsible decision to ensure the safety of our patrons, filmmakers, and staff. Those who have purchased festival tickets and passes will receive a refund.  For most, the refund will be returned to their original method of payment.

At this time Palm Springs ShortFest is scheduled to return June 21-27, 2022. The Film Festival and Film Awards will return to an in-person event in January 2023. The Film Awards will partner with Entertainment Tonight to celebrate this year’s honorees with details to follow. The festival will announce juried award winners from the official selection on January 15 via press release and social media.Like you, we love film and believe it has the power to change minds and lives, to bring us closer together. We are deeply saddened that we can't do that physically in Palm Springs but we know we'll have another chance.We strongly believe in the shared experience of watching films in theaters and will not be mounting a virtual alternative.

For more information go to: SBIFF

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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