23rd SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2008 PROGRAM

PRESENTS A TRIBUTE TO JULIE CHRISTIE; SBIFF OPENS WITH ADAM BROOKS’ “DEFINITELY, MAYBE” WHILE GIUSEPPE TORNATORE’S “AN UNKNOWN WOMAN (SCONOSCIUTA, LA)” CLOSES; NORMAN JEWISON TO SERVE AS GUEST DIRECTOR

Santa Barbara, CA – The 23rd installment of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presents its film line-up for 2008, featuring 215 films including 20 World Premieres, 22 U.S. Premieres and a rich selection of films representing 49 countries. 

The Festival, which welcomes American Express as their Premiere Sponsor, takes place over 11 days beginning Thursday, January 24, through Sunday, February 3.
 
“The Festival has continuously grown in stature,” commented SBIFF Director Roger Durling, “and this year’s film slate certainly reflects that.  We’re very proud of what SBIFF has to offer everyone.”
 
It was also announced that SBIFF will present a “Tribute To Julie Christie” on Friday, January 25 at the Lobero Theater.  Christie will share a dialogue with Leonard Maltin about her recent experiences with her latest film, “Away From Her” and her body of work, along with movie clips and a montage.  Over the length of Christie’s career it has been said that she is “the most poetic of all actresses,” mimicking her life after the socially conscious characters she has portrayed on screen.

That is evident in “Away From Her,” a beautiful yet unconventional love story, written and directed by Sarah Polley for which Christie has already received Golden Globe and SAG nominations, as well as Best Actress honors from the National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle , among other notable critics associations.  She portrays Fiona, an Alzheimer’s patient who is put in a nursing home by her husband.  While in the facility she falls in love with another man who is also a patient. The husband’s love for Fiona causes him to perform an act of self-sacrifice in order to ensure her happiness.  A special screening of “Away >From Her” will be shown earlier that day. 
 
SBIFF 2008 will kick off with the World Premiere of Universal Pictures' upcoming romantic comedy from writer/director Adam Brooks, "Definitely, Maybe," starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz. Reynolds stars as Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad in the midst of a divorce when his 10-year-old daughter, Maya (Breslin), starts to question him about his life before marriage.

Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love. Will hopelessly attempts a gentler version of his story for his daughter and changes the names so Maya has to guess who is the woman her father finally married. Is her mother Will’s college sweetheart, the dependable girl next door Emily (Banks)? Is she his longtime best friend and confidante, the apolitical April (Fisher)? Or is she the free-spirited but ambitious journalist Summer (Weisz)? As Maya puts together the pieces of her dad’s romantic puzzle, she begins to understand that love is not so simple or easy. And as Will tells her his tale, Maya helps him to understand that it’s definitely never too late to go back...and maybe even possible to find a happy ending.

Director Brooks, Reynolds and Breslin will attend the opening night festivities, sponsored by American Express and Studio 7.  Following the screening the festivities will continue with a party at Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara, sponsored in part by UGG.
 
Closing Night will feature the U.S. Premiere of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Unknown Woman (Sconosciuta, La)” starring Xenia Rappoport, Michele Placido and Claudia Gerini.  “The Unknown Woman” is a haunting story of mystery and love about a Russian woman, Irena (Xenia Rappoport) who calculatedly insinuates herself into the lives of a young, affluent Italian family. Stopping at nothing to become the couple’s trusted maid and the beloved nanny to their fragile young daughter, Irena risks everything in her quest to uncover the truth about the family.

Like an intricately constructed jigsaw puzzle, “The Unknown Woman” reveals piece by piece the enigma of Irena’s past.  Shot principally in the charming city of Trieste, as well as in Rome and Umbria, the film swept the David di Donatello Awards (the Italian equivalent of the Oscars),  winning Best Picture as well as the awards for Director, Actress, Cinematography and Score, which was composed by five-time Oscar nominee and 2007 Honorary Oscar recipient Ennio Morricone. It marks Morricone’s eighth collaboration with Tornatore.   Tornatore will attend the Closing Night festivities, which are sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent and El Paseo Restaurant.
 
Continuing their new tradition of featuring a Guest Director and presenting a retrospective of their work, SBIFF is thrilled to announce Norman Jewison as the 2008 Guest Director.  The following films were selected to be screened: “In The Heat of the Night,” “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “Moonstruck.”  Jewison has been a vibrant force in the motion picture industry for four decades.

He has personally been nominated for four Oscars; his films have received 46 nominations and 12 Academy Awards; he has been nominated for three Best Director awards and in 1999 he received the prestigious Irving Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards.

In addition to the titles mentioned above, he is responsible for such classic films as “The Thrill of It All” and “Send Me No Flowers,” “The Cincinnati Kid,” “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” “…And Justice For All,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “A Soldier’s Story,” and “The Hurricane,” to name just a few.

2008 Honorees

SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy-Award hopefuls, many of whom have gone on to win an Oscar.   Continuing the tradition, SBIFF will feature special Tribute presentations, created by long-time fest tribute producer Paul Fagen of P. Fagen Productions, as well as Dana Morrow of RoadShow Media. 

This year’s honorees are: 

Cate Blanchett will receive the esteemed Modern Master Award, sponsored by Lucky Brand Jeans and moderated by long-time friend o’ the fest, Leonard Maltin on Saturday, January 26.

Javier Bardem will receive The Montecito Award, sponsored by Strategic Incentives and moderated by SBIFF Director Roger Durling on Monday, January 28.

Ryan Gosling will receive the newly-created Independent Award, sponsored by Cott Beverages and moderated by Entertainment Weekly Bureau Chief Sean Smith on Tuesday, January 29.

SBIFF presents the Virtuosos 2008 Award to Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, James McAvoy, Ellen Page and Amy Ryan, in recognition of a new generation of stand-out film artists.  Sponsored by Macy’s, the evening will be moderated by Hollywood Reporter Editor Elizabeth Guider on Wednesday, January 30.

Tommy Lee Jones will receive the American Riviera Award, sponsored by The Bluffs along the Santa Barbara Coast and moderated by another long-time friend, Pete Hammond, on Friday, February 1.

Angelina Jolie will receive the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award, sponsored by Chopin Vodka and Innovative Skincare and moderated by Pete Hammond on Saturday, February 2.

“This group of honorees is the most awe-inspiring ensemble we've ever hosted,,,the cream of the crop of 2007's best performances.” says Durling.   “We're on Cloud Nine.”

CONVERSATIONS WITH…

SBIFF presents a Conversation With…Norman Jewison, which takes place Sunday, January 27, following the screening of “Moonstruck.”  On Saturday, February 2, the festival will screen “The Pixar Story,” followed by a Conversation With…Brad Bird, the Academy Award-winning helmer of “The Incredibles” and of this year's box office and critical success, “Ratatouille.” 

THE PANELS

The SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful and informative panels that feature a veritable who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders.  This year’s panelists will be announced soon.
 
The series kicks off at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, with the ever-popular “It Starts With the Script,” screenwriters panel moderated by Variety columnist Anne Thompson.   The panel takes place at the Lobero Theatre and is sponsored by Pacifica Graduate Institute and Andrew Butcher.
 
That afternoon at 2:00 p.m., also at the Lobero Theatre, will be the “Movers & Shakers” panel, bringing together top producers to discuss their craft, moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein.  The panel is sponsored by iO Film and Lisa Loiacono of Sotheby’s International Realty.
 
The insights continue during the Fest’s second weekend starting off with “Directors on Directing” on Saturday, February 2, at 11:00 a.m., moderated by producer and co-host of AMC’s “Sunday Morning Shootout” Peter Bart.  The panel takes place at the Lobero Theater and is sponsored by Variety Magazine.
 
The next panel is composed of some of the most creative women working in film today entitled “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz” on Saturday, February 2, 2:00 p.m., moderated by Madelyn Hammond, Chief Marketing Officer, Variety.  The panel takes place at the Lobero Theatre and is co-sponsored by the Sandy Stahl and supported in part by Girls Inc.
 
In addition, on Thursday, January 31, UCSB will present “Location Location Location: The Greening of Hollywood,” from 6-8 pm at the Marjorie Luke Theater.  This panel showcases resources and techniques for creating environmentally-friendly film and video productions.  Experts representing the film studios, the California Film Commission, the Environmental Media Association, and the California Integrated Waste Management Board will share tips on sustainable production practices, and engage in discussion with experienced and student filmmakers in the audience. The panel is sponsored by UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Film and Media Studies and the Environmental Media Initiative of the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television, and New Media, in conjunction with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. 

PODCASTS & BLOGS

Once again, SBIFF will provide video podcasts of the Festival activities, with the help of Mediatrust and their leading-edge technology.

Designed to bring the art of filmmaking to the broadest possible audience, the video podcasts, hosted by KTYD’s Julie Ramos, will provide visitors with a look “behind the scenes” in a series of interviews with directors, producers, actors, and many others.

“The podcasts will deliver a level of exposure to Festival participants that can’t be attained at other festivals,” says Durling.  “Through the internet, a national and international audience will have the opportunity to view podcasts that include the industry’s most interesting talent for a period of time following the dates of our Santa Barbara event.”
 
You can also get daily updates, special information, Festival insights, and even a recommendation or two, on SBIFF Director Roger Durling’s blog, “The Film Geek Confidential.”  Log onto www.sbiff.org/blog2 or www.filmgeekconfidential.com daily.  Roger will be constantly blogging leading up to and throughout the festival.

LOCAL OFFERINGS

he SBIFF takes its commitment to the young people of our community to heart and with enthusiasm.  Artful cinema can educate as well as entertain.  Following are just a few of the programs the Festival will offer:
 
10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition and Sotheby’s International Realty 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition – The Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Business First Bank, is comprised of 10 students who were selected out of submissions from Santa Barbara area high school and college students who submitted a 10-page sample of their best fiction writing - screenplay, stage play, or short story - to their school’s representative.  The five best script samples were chosen from the high school level and five from the college level.   The finalists are then assigned a storyline and an industry professional to mentor them during the writing of their screenplay.  Finalists will meet with their mentor throughout the process, submitting their final draft in January 2008. 
 
The 10 student screenplays will then be matched with a category-appropriate Filmmaking finalist from the Sotheby’s International Realty 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition, which consists of 10 students selected from 22 submissions, who will then produce a 10-minute film during the 10 days of the 23rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival.  Sunday, February 3 at 1 pm at the Marjorie Luke, all “10-10-10” films will be screened and winners will be announced.  The winning films will then be screened at the Closing Night Awards ceremony.
 
APPLEBOX – A Free Family Festival for Children – The SBIFF will produce AppleBox, a family film festival for children during the mornings of the two weekends that bookend the festival – Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27 and on Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3 from 9:00 am until 10:30 am.  Children’s films, including the World Premiere of SB resident Mark Stouffer’s “Diamond Dog Caper,” will be shown continuously all morning for ages 2 – 12 at the Metro 4 Theatres. Co-presented with the Santa Barbara Children’s Museum and Sponsored by SBParent.com and Cold Stone Creamery, screenings will be specifically programmed for each age group.  The program will enable children to see wonderful movies that are not easily accessible, in a festive, entertaining and supportive environment. 
 
Field Trip to the Movies– SBIFF provides a fascinating and thought-provoking film, study guides, and transportation to “Field Trip to the Movies” as part of our Reel Nature series for over 3,000 5th and 6th graders in Santa Barbara County.  This educational program includes an opportunity for students to explore intriguing facts and new research about the natural world as they view a film, engage in discussion, and participate in an interactive film-creating experience with industry professionals.   The purpose of “Field Trip to the Movies” is to inspire and excite children’s curiosity with nature and the world around them, while at the same time introducing them to the possibilities of them being a filmmaker and naturalist.  “Field Trip to the Movies: is sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank.
 
SBIFF will host two special film exhibits:  CAF will feature Bruce Yonemoto’s Sounds Like The Sound of Music (2005), held in conjunction with the festival, and on view for the run of the Val-entine’s exhibition. A video re-creation, this work draws from two distinct and seemingly unrelat-ed Hollywood film classics, George Lucas’ Star Wars and Robert Wise’s 1965, The Sound of Music. Filmed in Cuzco, Peru, Yonemoto’s video examines the relationships to war and cultural imperial-ism when filtered through the Hollywood entertainment machine; And Blue Meadow, a film installation that will be displayed in the Patty Look Lewis art gallery on De La Guerra and State St. on Saturday, February 2, 5-8pm.  Robin Bizio has directed a couple art films (2-7min) that will be projected on loop in this gallery and will be accompanied by live music and other decorations.
 
3RD Weekend --The SBIFF will continue their tradition of presenting the “3RD Weekend,” which will feature the highlights of the 23rd Festival for Santa Barbara residents.  The winning films will be screened throughout the weekend of February 8-10 at the Riviera Theatre, sponsored in part by Horny Toad.  Screenings are free and tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis at the Riviera Theatre.  Screening times will be posted on the SBIFF website at www.sbiff.org in the days following Closing Night.

FILM CATEGORIES AND SIDEBARS

The SBIFF continues its commitment to exciting, culturally enlightening, and entertaining programming and sidebars.  In addition to presenting Independent Features, International Features, Documentary Features and Special Presentation films, programmed by Candace Schermerhorn, the SBIFF will also offer films from the following sidebars:

EASTERN BLOC featuring films from Eastern Europe;

REEL NATURE, the nature films series programmed by renowned nature cinematographer and Santa Barbara resident Mike DeGruy

EAST X WEST, a collection of the best cinema from Asia,  programmed by Emmy-nominated actor and director Tim Matheson

TO THE MAXXX, sponsored by Horny Toad, is programmed by Santa Barbara filmmaker Russ Spencer and features extreme sports films and documentaries including the World Premiere of Jeremy Gosch’s “Bustin’ Down The Door,” with Shaun Tomson, Peter Townend, Mark Richards, Wayne Bartholomew, Ian Cairns, narrated by Edward Norton and featuring one of Santa Barbara’s main pastimes…surfing!

LATINO CINEMEDIA, sponsored by Tinta Latina Magazine and Univision, offers a collection of films from Spain and Latin America, continuing SBIFF’s commitment to Spanish and Latin American films, programmed by UCSB professor Cristina Venegas;

SANTA BARBARA FILMMAKERS, sponsored by CASA Magazine, programmed by Russ Spencer and which includes 7 World Premiere films.

SBIFF is proud to welcome the esteemed 2008 Jury:  Dave Stein, Jury Chair; Academy Award-nominated co-writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (“Children of Men); Academy Award-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (“House of Sand & Fog”); producer Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”); actor Anthony Zerbe (“The Matrix”); Mark Fishkin, Director, Mill Valley Film Festival; Academy Award-nominated short filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt; producer Clark Peterson (“Monster”); and writer/director/actress Domenica Cameron-Scorsese.
 
Select films will vie for the following awards

THE AWARDS

The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema – for the Best Independent film
American Independents Section
Juried by industry professionals
Award: camera package worth approx. $60,000
 
The Heineken Red Star Award – recognizing and celebrating the achievement of the most progressive and gifted independent film director
Independent and Documentary Features
Juried by industry professionals
Award:  $25,000 promotional package
 
 
The Best Foreign Film Award – for the best Foreign Film
International Competition Section
Juried by industry professionals
 
Nueva Vision Award – for the best Spanish-language film
Spanish and Latin American Film Competition
Juried by industry professionals
 
Best Documentary – for the best documentary film
Juried by industry professionals
 
The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award Sponsored by The Fund for Santa Barbara – for documentary film that addresses social justice issues                               
Juried by a committee selected by The Fund for Santa Barbara
Award: $2,500 cash
 
Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film
Under 30 minutes
Juried by industry professionals
 
Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation
Juried by industry professionals
 
Sotheby’s International Realty Student Filmmaking Competition – for best of the 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition
Juried by industry professionals
Award:   One high school prize and one college prize will be awarded.  The winning films will be screened at the Closing Night Award Ceremony.
 
10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Business First Bank – for best screenplay
 uried by industry professionals
Award:  One high school prize and one college prize will be awarded. 
 
Audience Choice Award, sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent
 
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, with American Express as a Premiere Sponsor of the 2008 Festival, is set to run January 24 through February 3.  The SBIFF is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching local culture and raising consciousness of film as an art form.  The SBIFF presents quality American and world independent films, Latin American and Asian sidebars as well as documentary cinema within the beautiful setting of downtown Santa Barbara, a premier tourist destination.

The SBIFF is also committed to education through its Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Field Trip to the Movies, and educational seminars.  With a projected audience of over 60,000 viewing more than 200 films over its eleven-day run, the SBIFF attracts an affluent local and national consumer base, while maintaining strong ties with the entertainment industry in nearby Los Angeles.  For more information, please visit www.sbfilmfestival.org.
 
Tickets for events are on sale NOW.  Purchase through www.sbfilmfestival.org  or call/visit the Lobero Box Office, 805.963.0761 and the Arlington Theater Box office, 805.963.4408.  Festival Platinum & Cinema Passes are currently on sale exclusively at the Lobero Box Office.  Box Office fees will apply for all Film Festival Passes, Mini-Paks, and event tickets.

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