Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Rough and Tumble Red Carpet

When I arrived to take my place on the red carpet press line outside the Arlington Theater Saturday night it seemed like a relatively calm scene.

Certainly fewer photographers and reporters than the night before when Kate Winslet was honored.

That relative calm came to an end when Penelope Cruz arrived. Suddenly a swarm of press people seemed to appear from nowhere and surround those of us who were stationed at the back of the line. The scramble was on.

Despite all of the jostling, my wait in the press pit yielded a genuine reward; this photo I snapped of Penelope as she made her way down the red carpet.

After Penelope moved past us and into the theater a shouting match erupted between two photographers who apparently had bumped one another trying to get a shot of her. Steve Libowitz, arts editor of the Daily Sound intervened and told the quibbling photogs to cool it.

It is believed be the first time that Libowitz actually stopped an argument rather than continued one.

Inside the Arlington Roger Durling handled the interview of Cruz as she was honored for Performance of the Year.

The post award party was held at QAD's bluff-top headquarters on Ortega Hill Road in Summerland.

Unlike the press pit at the red carpet, the large crowd at the party had plenty of room to move around the sprawling grounds of QAD and take in the sweeping vista of the coastline and the smell of the ocean air.

At the party I had a chance to chat with Hollywood columnist and film critic, Jefferey Wells, who told me he considered the Santa Barbara Film Fest to be the best of the "second tier" festivals, the "first tier" festivals being Cannes, Toronto and Sundance.

Jefferey Wells and Allison MacPherson at the post tribute party.

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Maybe they should wear name tags? Adam Lundquist, of the KJEE morning show, was standing next to me in the press line Saturday night and doing an interview with one of the stars of Dim Sum Funeral. Thinking he was interviewing the very un-camera shy Bai Ling, he asked Julia Nickson whether she was "bi-lingual," requiring Nickson to point out that she wasn't Bai Ling.

This is Bai Ling

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My film fest picks for Monday.

Dim Sum Funeral (8 am Metro 4). I saw this film at the Sunday afternoon showing. Both Allison and I liked it. The audience reaction and the comments during the Q & A with the director, screenwriter and actors seemed to indicate the same.

Havana Surf (10 am Victoria Hall). Here in Santa Barbara we love our surf films.

Danny Boyle retrospective (starting at 10:30 am at the Metro 4). Includes Millions, Sunshine and Trainspotting. Slumdog Millionaire will be shown at 7:30 pm at the Lobero. Following the screening there will be a conversation with Danny Boyle.

The complete Santa Barbara Film Fest schedule.

My Film Fest photo gallery is updated daily.'s videos of the red carpet arrivals at this year's Film Fest are posted here.