SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will not be postponed next month due to the coronavirus crisis, instead it will have its most creative presentation ever.
Festival organizers will be using two Santa Barbara City College parking lots to present 80 films for free, in a drive-in style format.
Large LED screens that can be seen day or night will be set up.
It will be operated by PRG, a company involved in showcasing media and sports on big screens worldwide with the newest technology.
"We're doing something unprecedented. I don't think any other film festival has attempted what we are about to do," said Film Festival Executive Director Roger Durling.
The parking lot next to the SBCC Vaquero stadium and the adjacent parking area to the west will be the designated sites.
Durling says the festival is bringing the community out in a safe way. He also says he hopes the festival will be part of the community's recovery.
"I thought it was essential that we moved forward. I think that the film festival needs to bring a sense of optimism. I think it needs to bring a sense of hope, but it needed to come in a very safe way," he said during a walk through the parking areas.
The setting was particularly attractive to Durling with its location at the scenic Santa Barbara waterfront.
Durling says the normal lineup of 200 films has been reduced to 80. "It will be an array of foreign films and documentaries that otherwise you wouldn't get a chance to see."
The festival will also honor many of the industry's top stars in a virtual presentation with career highlights and a question and answer session with moderators including honored industry movie critic Leonard Maltin.
They will include Bill Murray who will receive the Maltin Lifetime Achievement Award.
Those sessions will be done remotely and available to an online audience as part of a festival component with a fee.
"You can buy a package for the 11 days or you can do individual movies and tributes. We are going to try to keep the prices down for that," said Durling.
Durling says the moderator will be in one place and the star will be at another location.
Some of the most popular seminar sessions including the movie producers and writers panel discussion will also be held remotely. Details are still being worked out on the lineups.
Other honorees will include Sacha Baron Cohen who will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year award, Amanda Seyfried who was chosen for the Montecito Award, and Delroy Lindo who is honored with the American Riviera Award.
The Festival runs from March 31 to April 10. This is just prior to the 93rd Academy Awards.
For a full list of events, tributes and more information, visit Santa Barbara International Film Festival online.