Entertainment Magazine: Film: California: Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Film Festival: 2011: Part 1

SBIFF 2011: Part 1

By Madelyn Ritrosky

Santa Barbara . . . .  Films.  Filmmakers.  February.  Fun.

Did I say filmmakers and their films?  Is it any surprise that we were there once again for the 26th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival
According to festival organizers, there were 30 world premieres and 33 US premieres among the 170 films that screened during the 10-day fest.  Some filmmakers were there to support their films, and meeting the filmmakers is always a highlight of the festival. 
This year was no exception. 

Matt Kleiner created a wonderfully hypnotic visual feast that, as he told us, attempts to balance appreciation of surfing with the power and beauty of nature. 

We agreed, for we were indeed hoping for more than a standard surfer documentary.  Focused on Australia, Way of the Ocean is the first in a planned series of films that will go around the globe to the world’s most breathtaking surfing areas.  

Russ Spencer’s short film The Book of Santa Barbara is also a harbinger of things to come, as the teaser for another film.

The title is a recently published book showcasing Santa Barbara through the lens of renowned photographer and resident Macduff Everton. 

The film showcases Everton and his striking images through the lens of documentary filmmaker and resident Russ Spencer, who hopes to showcase Everton and Santa Barbara in a feature length documentary.

Good for Nothing turns the spaghetti western on its head – the loaded masculine iconography of Westerns is certainly good for something here. 

It’s not only good entertainment; it’s a good exploration of gender issues then and now. 

The triumvirate of writer-director Mike Wallis, lead actress-producer Inge Rademeyer, and lead actor Cohen Holloway only added to our enjoyment of experiencing Good for Nothing

Read Madelyn Ritrosky's article on "A Fistful of Something Good: Good for Nothing."

Alyssa Price’s The Monstrosity was a treat among the eleven very different, very interesting films that made up the Santa Barbara Shorts Program.

About a girl on her first day of middle school, the film manages to steer clear of cutesy, mundane, and stereotypical.  It’s fun and funny.  We got to chat with writer-director Price as well as her executive producer and husband, Jesse Singer. 

We also chatted with writer-director Will Eubank and lead actor Gunner Wright after seeing their sci-fi extravaganza Angels & Airwaves Presents “Love.”  Think 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

Think mind-bending, your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine story trajectories for what ultimately happens to stranded astronaut Lee Miller, played superbly by Wright.  Think superb craftsmanship by Eubank – on a mind-bendingly low budget.

The documentary Skateistan is not about skateboarding as an extreme sport but rather as an extremely powerful means of bridging cultural differences. 

Skateistan is the name of Afghanistan’s only co-educational skateboarding school, beginning informally in 2007 and opening its all-inclusive, educational skate park in 2009 after overcoming numerous obstacles. 

We met executive producer Ken Meyer and director Kai Sehr.  Find out more at the school’s website.  http://skateistan.org/   

The Centerpiece Film, That’s What I Am, took us on an enjoyable ride back to the ‘60s for life lessons about coming of age. 

Ed Harris headlines the film, and Jared was thrilled to interview the star of The Abyss and National Treasure: Book of Secrets.  Also attending the premiere were writer-director Mike Pavone and several adult and youth cast members, including Amy Madigan (Harris’s wife). 

The Last Lions, with a February theatrical release, is a documentary that increases awareness of the critical conditions for lions in Africa by telling the story of a lioness and her cubs.  The continuing illegal trade in lion parts and the continued assault on these majestic animals must stop before it’s too late.  We thanked filmmakers Beverly Joubert and Dereck Joubert for making this movie.  National Geographic is helping lions in Botswana with donations for every viewing of the film’s trailer on YouTube. 

So check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ7SvK7w1xA


Photo by Beverly Joubert.

With two cubs left, Ma di Tau holds them close. She is a good mother in an impossible situation struggling to hunt alone with two cubs to feed.

Continue Reading SBIFF 2011: Part 2.

2011 SBFF | Santa Barbara International Film Festival INDEX

Film Entertainment Magazine | Santa Barbara Entertainment Magazine

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