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Lights, fans, stars, cameras and action expected for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Crowd control railing SBIFF
John Palminteri
Special crowd control railing has been brought out for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. (Photo: John Palminteri)
SBIFF banner Hotel Santa Barbara
John Palminteri
Special banners and flags are out for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In its 35th year The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has not lost a glitzy draw for fans and also the leading stars on the big screen.  That's why over 90,000 are expected for the event beginning today.

It also takes place right after the Oscar nominations and the Golden Globe Awards.

"I love the Santa Barbara Film Festival," said Diane Hall who is already scheduling her time to go to many films and presentations.
Some fans are gearing up to see the arrivals of film stars at tributes or before and after showings.

"It's kind of exciting. It's mini Hollywood," said  Sue Steele by the Fiesta 5 theatre.

Hall says she likes the choices ranging from quick shorts to the no cost  family films. "It doesn't matter how old I am I go to the family friendly ones, especially the free ones in the morning at 10 o'clock the animated ones I love that. I love movies."

There's also a student competition and her son not only is a past winner, but it launched a career.

"My son has won the 10-10-10 (student competition) for two years and the runner up in the third year,"  said Hall.
Now he's shooting and editing for a  living.    "He is making commercials down in L.A. for Oakley and Nike.  He is still in film."  She says her son went to the special  Multimedia Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School.

Around town the film festival signs are up in many areas and the windows of businesses.

At the Hotel Santa Barbara, and on street lights are festival flags.  The hotel  lobby is a gathering place to see the program blown up so you can decide what to see  and do,  on what day and at what time.
Or go free style.

"I  just kind of just wing it   sometimes.  I know people and they say come along and I just go with them," said Steele.
"I remember the first time I went I saw Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in a movie called Jamon Jamon and it was fantastic."

 For those who are movie makers,  this is the spot prior to the Oscars to connect with the industry people at a festival just two hours north of Los Angeles. 

"To make the connection to film makers is the point of festivals still and obviously to see people's work but also finding people to collaborate with and making new stuff in the future,"  said filmmaker David Linke.   He has a showing of the short film he worked on,  "Skywest and Crooked"  Friday.

For those on a budget,  the festival offers free movies daily at 2 p.m. in the Lobero Theatre which seats 600.  Those attending can come early, get a number for a spot in line,  walk around downtown, and come back for their position without having to stand for a long period of time to get a seat.  In some cases,  the directors and stars are there for a meet and greet.

Some movie fans are still getting into the groove for this year,  but seem excited.

"Who is on the list?" asked downtown worker Vanessa Ford.  When she was told actor Brad Pitt was one of them she said,  "Oh well that will great.  Brad Pitt will be great."  She was also excited to possibly see Adam Driver."Oh that will be a big one."

The special crowd control railing has been stacked at the Arlington Theatre for the extra security at the  arrivals and tribute nights.  Fans will still get good views and in some cases photos and autographs.

At the Paseo Nuevo Mall,  the center area  is being transformed into an open air reception site with a dance floor,  DJ  and food stations for the opening night party.   Hundreds are expected for the late night event. It begins after the U.S. Premeire of "A Bump Along the Way" at the Arlington, and the party will go until after midnight.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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