SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After a breach of the security rails Thursday night, the forced staff and security to pulll a reporter off actor Leonardo DiCaprio, there have been some minor changes at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
Friday night while there was a much more tame crowd than the frenzied group for DiCaprio, there were extra layers of metal rails visible on State St. where the stars arrive for their red carpet walk. Often they do a short loop to the edge of the railing to greet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures.
When DiCaprio arrived, right after Director Martin Scorsese, he was showered with screams, and requests for photos.
As he headed to the red carpet, a member of the press rushed through a gap in the railing, got on his knees, and grabbed the star around the waist, locking his hands tightly around DiCaprio.
He was later identified as Vitalii Sediuk who claims to be a Ukrainian reporter. He has also been described as a prankster who has done other stunts to actors Will Smith and Bradley Cooper.
A festival staff member was the first to jump in, but it took several people including security to pull off . He was physically thrown out of the reception area, in an event captured by several members o the press, including KEYT NewsChannel 3.
Film Festival Publicity Director Carol Marshall, said they have never had the issues that came up when Sediuk jumped out of the press area. She also says fans will still have the access to stars as they have always had at the popular festival, now in its 29th year.
She said fans love the excitement of the arrivals, and the honorees enjoy the unique style Santa Barbara offers them, compared to events in Hollywood, New York, and other -larger sites.
When asked if Sediuk will be seen in the media area again at this or future Santa Barbara Festivals, Marshall said, "No.. He will not."
The festival features over 200 films, several special tributes, and world premieres.
700 volunteers work the 11 day event to coordinate the lines, and the guests coming to each theater.
Some of those lined up for movies in downtown as part of the festival, gave praise to the staff, for the way they were able to move people in and out of the theaters, and cue others up for future film showings. The system involves numbered cue cards, and staff members with megaphones to help guests find their spots, and make it to the correct theaters - sometimes in tight conditions - with pedestrians and security rails sharing the same sidewalk space.