Entertainment

Santa Barbara Film Festival to carry on despite mudslides and economic hit

SBIFF runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite the mudslides, evacuations, and the local economy taking a hit, the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival will be turning on their spotlights on January 31, 2018.

The festival will run until February 10 with SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling promising to highlight all of the organizations working to help those affected by the mudslides each day of the festival.

Durling released a letter explaining why the show must go on in the wake of a tragedy. The letter reads:

Dear Cinephiles,

Many people have been asking me if the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place. My answer is an emphatic “Yes.”

How do you do a film festival following the immense tragedy unfolding in Montecito and Southern California? Well – the honest answer is that it is needed now more than ever.

Movies have always provided a sense of community. It is an opportunity for people to gather – reflect – experience – feel – and process.

Throughout most of the 1930's, during the Great Depression, Americans flocked to theatres. They did not do this because movies can be easily categorized as a distraction. Yes, audiences welcomed the chance to laugh, forget their problems, and get out of the cold – but most importantly - by going to the movies, audiences felt less isolated as they experienced emotions together. They were together.

As we move ahead with the film festival – and remember those we have lost and thank our first responders - we also want to help those who remain in need. To that end, we will be highlighting each day of our event the organizations that are working tirelessly to help those affected and encouraging attendees and our sponsors to support these efforts. We will keep you updated on our website on all of these details.

The Santa Barbara community built this film festival in 1986 – and their love and pride – grew it into what it is today. Movies have always had an immeasurable power to heal. As Santa Barbara begins to recover, we welcome and encourage film lovers and visitors to gather around our strong, beautiful and resilient community.

I look forward to seeing you from January 31 to February 10.

Sincerely,

Roger Durling
Executive Director
Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Film festival organizers were forced to cancel their annual press conference in which they unveil the year's poster and festival program due to the closure of U.S. Highway 101 through Montecito and the delicate situation of the residents impacted by the devastating mudslides.

The film festival kicks off January 31 at the Arlington Theater with the world premiere of "The Public" followed by the Opening Night Gala sponsored by Amazon Studios. Approximately 58 countries will be represented at this year's festival, with 45 world premieres and 53 U.S. premieres.

The popular celebrity tributes will include Willem Dafoe, Gary Oldman, Gal Gadot, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, and many more.

For more information, visit http://sbiff.org


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