Friday, February 08, 2008

Film Fest Encore!

It won't have the parties. It probably won't have the celebrities. And it certainly won't have me trying to con some beautiful movie star into straightening my bow tie, but the "third weekend" of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which officially wrapped up last Sunday, will be able to offer something that the 10 day festival didn't. Free movies!

Now that we've off-loaded the celebrities, their handlers and their entourages the film fest can now treat us locals to free screenings of some of the best movies.

Although the third weekend is often billed as the "best of the film festival" some of the better films weren't available to be shown. The film fest people aren't always able to retain prints of the films for showing on the third weekend. Films may already have been sent off to other festivals for viewings for showings there, so, it is the best of what's available.

Here's the line-up for this weekend: All showings are at the Riviera Theater.

Friday, February 8

7:00 p.m One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story

Of the films I actually saw, this was one of my favorites. It was the winner in the Best Documentary category.

9:00 p.m. Fix

Olivia Wilde, one of the stars of Fix, with her publicist.

Saturday, February 9

1:00 p.m. Saving Luna

This was the Audience Choice Winner

4:00 p.m. When Clouds Clear (Despu├ęs de la Neblina)

Fund For Santa Barbara Social Justice Award Winner

Although I didn't see this film, the producers threw one hell of a press party last Friday.

7:00 p.m Bustin’ Down The Door

The surfing set sold out both showings of this movie.

9:00 p.m. Stranded, I've come from a plane that crashed on the mountains.

This movie had a positive buzz about it before the festival started.

Sunday, February 9

1:00 p.m. Aquarium

Winner of the Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film

For The Love Of God

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short Film

The unsettling story of one man’s fascination with God.


Feature documentary about the Santa Barbara Annual Big Dog Parade.

4:00 p.m. The Debt

Nominated for four Israeli film awards is an espionage thriller set in Israel in the mid 1990’s.

7:00 p.m. Blind Mountain

This film reveals the oppressive tactics used to control those in isolated villages and brings to life an unimaginable story.

Two of my favorite movies, The Counterfeiter and Still Waters are not being shown at the third weekend.

So how do the "favorites" that will be shown on the third weekend compare to the "favorites" as determined by film geeks who actually were at the festival?

Jim Balter, who volunteered for his second consecutive year at the festival chose these movies as his top rated ones:

"The Unknown Woman, Stranded, and In Bruges, but Artic Tale, Autism: The Musical, Away From Her, In the Company of Actors, The Sky Below, and Still Waters are right up there."

Jerry Siegel, who also volunteered at the film fest picked The Debt, Noodle and La Misma Luna ("Under the Same Moon") as his top three movies.

He goes on to say: "I didn't see Beautiful Bitch which everyone raved about and am not including those certain to be commercially released, like "The Counterfeiter", "In Bruges", "Stranded", which were excellent."

Andrea Garcia, who spent in the neighborhood of 70 hours of working at the film fest didn't get to see any movies during the 10 day run of the festival. But she did conduct an "Andi Poll" among patrons, filmmakers and festival staff and came up with this list: Stranded, Amal, The Debt and Bustin' Down the Door.

As you can see, all but Amal are being shown this coming weekend.

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If you're not into movies this weekend you might want to check out the third annual Women's Literary Festival which celebrates readers and women writers with a day of interactive presentations and book signings. It takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at the Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. For more info visit