Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Close Encounter of the Most Awkward Kind

Wednesday's press conference to announce this year's line-up of films at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, was scheduled to start promptly at 9:30 am. The drama started about 10 minutes before then.

As I entered the lobby of the Hotel Santa Barbara, who is standing there but News-Press associate editor Scott Steepleton. As I approach I can see that there's going to be no getting around him (in more ways than one). So, I greet him by saying "Hi Scott." He says "Hi" back but refuses to shake the hand I have extended to him.

I guess he didn't read Wendy's New Year's Day message about looking to the future with hope and kindness.

Steepleton was accompanied by Dave Mason, a reporter for the paper's Life section. Seeing the two of them there together immediately caused me to wonder, "how many News-Press reporters does it take to cover an announcement about movies?"

After all, that's one more reporter than the paper sends to cover the Santa Barbara City Council and two more than they assign to cover the meetings of Goleta's Council.

Then it occurred to me; there's free coffee and muffins at this press conference! In case there was ever any doubt, the best way to reach a News-Press associate editor is through his stomach.

Once the conference starts, the Film Fest's Roger Durling announces that this year's trailers that precede the showing of each film throughout the fest will feature local Santa Barbara film-goers talking about movies that they love.

Included in the first trailer, that will shown on opening night, are Mayor Marty Blum and city council member, Helene Schneider.

I'm tempted to interrupt Roger and ask him if he's reading from a short version of the News-Press enemies list by mistake.

The real highlight of the press conference is the unveiling of this year's film fest poster, designed once again by artist Barbara Boros. (That's Barbara on the left.)

Stunning! Don't you think? The poster's not bad either.

This year's festival features no less than 10 films by Santa Barbara filmmakers. I'll get around to mentioning them all as the festival draws closer but for now the film I want to single out is "Hold It Like A Baby," a film by Michael and Tina Love.

It's described as a "dark, ensemble comedy" that was shot in and around Santa Barbara.

It's also a film in which I have a small part, playing the role of a TV news reporter.

If the way to reach a News-Press associate editor is through his stomach, the way to reach a blogger is through a casting agent.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs from January 22 through February 1.