Santa Barbara International Film Festival Opens January 31

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The 33rd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival is back and better than ever! Opening on Jan. 31 and running through Feb. 10, SBIFF highlights the best of independent films from the United States and 58 countries. Centered in the Riviera Theatre, films and other events are held all across downtown Santa Barbara. There are multiple panels, awards ceremonies, and showings of the films themselves that draw over 100,000 people as well as celebrities such as Saoirse Ronan and Gal Gadot.

Passes can range from 300 to 5,000 dollars and can sell out quickly, so what options are available for Westmont students?

“10-10-10 Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition” is a program for young, aspiring filmmakers to work with a mentor to create a short film over the course of a few months. 10-10-10 stands for 10 writers, 10 directors, 10 films, and at the end of the creative process, the films are judged and a high school winner and college winner are announced. The event is free to the general public, and begins at 2 pm on Feb. 10.

SBIFF presents a series of educational seminars from notable industry insiders and film-festival-attending filmmakers completely free to the public at the Festival Pavilion. Some of last year’s seminars included “Social Justice Documentary Filmmaking,” “Making Short Films,” and “Santa Barbara Filmmakers.” This is a great opportunity for film students, or anyone interested in the business to learn about the process or inspiration for films. Panels are held on weekday mornings of the festival.

Youth CineMedia is a local non-profit that teaches filmmaking to diverse students from urban and rural communities. YCM films focus on environmental, cultural, and social justice issues. Fourteen films will be shown free to the public on the final day of the film festival, Feb. 10.

If you have a bit to spend, there are a few events that are relatively cheap. There are multiple awards ceremonies which cost around $20 that honor actors, writers, and directors. Some ceremonies include the Virtuoso Award, which goes to up-and-coming actors in the business; the Outstanding Director’s Award, and the American Rivera Award. If you’re daring, individual (rush) film tickets are available for purchase 5 minutes before the start of the show, space permitting. A rush ticket line is available at each venue. This can be a good way to see a film, if there is room left!

When asked whether or not the SBIFF would be held after all of the natural disaster tragedies, Roger Durling answered with an emphatic “yes.” He said “Movies have always provided a sense of community. It is an opportunity for people to gather – reflect – experience – feel – and process.”

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