SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 32nd Santa Barbara International Festival kicked off Thursday morning with the unveiling of the poster and announcement of the movie lineup. Also, some of the most honored stars in the industry will be on hand for special awards.
There will be 29 world premieres and 47 U.S. premieres. Films will be coming in from 50 countries.
The films will address timely issues for the United States and the rest of the world including themes like environmental activism, feminist issues, efforts to stop Isis and the global refugee crisis.
Executive Director Roger Durling says the city is an ideal location for the event. It has a theater district, a vibrant downtown corridor, restaurants, hotels and gathering places right where the films are being shown. Similar festival sites with these characteristics include Telluride, Colorado and the Sundance Festival in Park City,Utah. Being at the upper edge of the Los Angeles-Hollywood scene, Santa Barbara has a very unique draw.
Among the stars who will be appearing are Denzel Washington, Jeff Bridges, and Ryan Gosling. For a complete list of honors and films go to:http: //sbiff.org/
The press conference was held at Hotel Santa Barbara, now serving its 14th year as the film festival's official hub. The SBIFF takes place February 1 -11.
Scroll after this article to watch the entire Thursday press conference.
This year there will also be more educational seminars and programs. There will also be 4,200 seats available for school children as part of Mike's Field Trip to the Movies, a featured event for local kids who get to see a film and then meet with the movie makers to ask questions on the stage of the Arlington Theater.
The festival is also bringing in students from other states that are not exposed to film festivals, to encourage them to become part of the movie business. They will arrive from Missouri, Kentucky and Iowa and take part in many events, seminars and special screenings.
The festival has many ticket packages but there will also be a free movie every day at 2 p.m. in the Lobero Theatre.
This event is considered a very important off season economic boost for Santa Barbara. It brings in thousands of visitors and local residents to the downtown area where hotels, dining places, and other related arts facilities see an increase in business.
Right now is the highly anticipated Hollywood awards season. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival falls between the Golden Globe awards and the Academy Awards.
This years poster was designed by artist Barbara Boros. It features the landmark Riviera Theatre in the Santa Barbara foothills. It was recently acquired by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and it is going through a renovation. The new look to the facility will be revealed in April.