Santa Barbara Film Festival 2014

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Movies have the power not only to entertain us, but to challenge us and make us see things from a new angle. No matter what your preferences in movies are, you are sure to find something that will satisfy your hunger at the 29th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The festival takes place from Jan. 30 to Feb. 9 at local theatres in the downtown area, and will feature many genres of movies from 60 different countries around the world. Movies will begin playing at various theatres at 8 a.m. and carry on throughout the day and into the night. In addition to the films, there will be panels and seminars where directors and actors can speak to inquisitive audiences.

Many famous actors and directors from around the world will be in attendance as viewers and award recipients. This year Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Oprah Winfrey, Cate Blanchett, Forest Whitaker and Robert Redford will all be honored during the festival.

After beginning in 1986, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has grown into a respected and well-established melting pot for cultural enrichment and entertainment where filmmakers and movie-goers alike can benefit.

Though the festival itself has been going on for less than 30 years, Santa Barbara is a city that is rich with film making history. Between 1912 and 1917 Santa Barbara was home to Flying A Studios, one of the largest motion picture studios in the United States.

Santa Barbara was chosen for its scenic outdoor beauty (which was perfect for Westerns) in combination with its lightly urban setting. Indoor filming also grew into maturity in Santa Barbara through Flying A Studios. A giant warehouse on the first block of Mission Street was built and for the first time in history, sets could be wheeled in, built or taken apart all in the same place. Hundreds of settings could be filmed all in the same space.

At its prime, Flying A was putting out close to 250 movies per year (movies, which were generally short cowboy chase scenes, were only about 10-20 minutes long in those days) and was rivaled only by Hollywood as the movie capital of the country. Flying A Studios eventually shut down after the first World War and Hollywood became the world center for movie-making.

The festival, honoring the various directions that movie-making and movie-watching has followed in the hundred years that have passed since prime of Flying A Studios, will carry movies ranging from documentaries to fiction and animation. Many of these films will be making either their world or US debut at the festival.

Tickets are available at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival website (sbiff.org). Individual movie tickets can be purchased at the box office, or you can purchase mini packs online (four films for $55, or 10 films for $125).


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