SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara's decision to schedule the International Film Festival in January and February each year has been a boost to the local economy, and big dollars are expected to flow again starting tomorrow.
The 29th festival opens at the landmark Arlington Theatre with the movie, Mission Blue followed by a party in the outside Paseo Nuevo Mall. For many residents who are film lovers, it's a "not to be missed" event.
Film Festival Director Roger Durling will greet the crowd and plans an enthusiastic kick off that brings many Oscar nominees to the city, along with 23 World Premieres, and 31 U.S. Premieres.
The festival runs January 30-February 9.
Daniel Yoshimi at the Brasil Arts Cafe a block from the Arlington says he will adjust his hours to be open for the film lovers coming to the area, not just for the evening tributes, but also the full lineup of daytime movies.
"So since they are going to be in this area and between a lot of theaters, I hope they come here and try our food," said Yoshimi. "For a small business, just starting, it's a relief to have that for sure."
He also plans to have a special "Fast and Furious" meal to honor the late actor Paul Walker who died last year and was a part time Santa Barbara resident.
Mayor Helene Schneider will be in a prime seat for opening night festivities and plans to go to several movies during the event along with the tribute to Robert Redford.
She also says, the multi-day event will be a spike in the city's budget for both January and February.
"I have heard from restaurant owners and retail shops, they love the film festival this time of year," said Schneider. "Then people sometimes have a couple of hours in between movies, they wander around, maybe they will go down to the Funk Zone, maybe take a day and go wine tasting, stretch out their vacation. The whole area really feels it."