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34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival rolls out the red carpet for opening night

The 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival rolled out the red carpet for opening night.

The Arlington Theatre saved rows of seats for the cast and crew of the opening night documentary film “Diving Deep.”

Filmaker Mimi Degruy says it celebrates the life of her late husband Mike Degruy.

“His whole mission was that we are destroying the ocean before we even know what is there, so when we all come together to benefit the ocean, it benefits all of us, ” said Degruy.

Mike Degruy inspired Roger Durling to become the festival’s Executive Director.

“He is a big inspiration for the film festival , he was one of my best friends, and he started all the educational programs that we now have.” said Durling.

He said some of 700 volunteers have been working the festival longer than he has and he said he likes it when they boss him around.

Programing Director Michael Allbright watching all the submissios.

“There are 3,000 submissions each year.” said Allbright.

He said they choose about 200 for screening during the 11 day event.

Thousands of people travel to Santa Barbara to enjoy it.

SBIFF Managing Director Sean Pratt said, “We have about 40 percent of the attendees from out of town, including about 10-15 of that oversees.” He said they come at a time when there used to be a lull in tourism.

In addition to celebrities you’ll see journalists of all ages working along the red carpet.

They include tween and teen jounalists such as Ella Popovich from the Santa Barbara Middle School Teen Press.t

“It has always been really cool to me i’ve always wanted to try journalism,” said Popovich

The opening night screening was followed by a gala at the Paseo Nuevo with food, music and dancing.

For more information about upcoming events at the festival visit https://sbiff,org

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