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2013: Local jewelry maker designs film festival awards

Some of cinema’s most famous actors and directors are honored at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and are given prestigious awards. For the past two years, the handmade designs have come from a local artist.

Daniel Gibbings was born and raised in South Africa and trained in jewelry design in England. He’s been in the United States for more than two decades making rings, necklaces and bracelets. Now he can add award-making to his resume.

For 25 years, Gibbings focused on jewelry and it never crossed his mind to make anything else. It took a little coaxing from his colleague to design the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Awards.

“Yeah no, I never, ever, ever, ever thought I’d be doing that,” said Gibbings with a laugh.

But an opportunity came about when the company president had what she called an epiphany during a past film festival event.

“Why can’t the award be just as beautiful and just as prestigious and as amazing as a caliber of this event is,” said Setenary Ozdemir-Osman.

After meeting with film festival organizers, Gibbings had the job and got to work.

He used to get his inspiration from South African tribal art and British museums, and for the Modern Master Award he used something local.

“We thought because of the Arlington is where it’s being presented, and the Arlington is a historical building, so we took the element of the Arlington and made it into an award,” Gibbings explained.

His creativity can be seen throughout his designs. All the awards are 18-karat gold plated.

“We see the awards just as an extension of our jewelry,” said Ozdemir-Osman.

One of the perks of being the designer: Gibbings gets to meet the stars and hear their feedback on his work.

“Ben Affleck, you know he’s like, ‘Wow, this is heavy, this is quite an award.’ And Daniel Day-Lewis, he’s such a great guy, he’s so calm and collected, really English,” said Gibbings with a laugh. “But yeah, he looks at it and admires it.”

All the awards are donated to the festival.

“We look forward to working with the film festival for many years to come,” said Ozdemir-Osman.

On Wednesday, Gibbings and Ozdemir-Osman delivered the American Riviera Award for Quentin Tarantino. This is the second American Riviera Award plaque Gibbings had to make. Leonardo DiCaprio was supposed to get the first one but a scheduling conflict prevented him from coming to the ceremony.

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