Monday, February 07, 2011

All That's Missing From This Grand Old Party Are Members of The Grand Old Party

On the final weekend of the Film Festival, State Street seemed to be packed with people from out of town. And not a single one of them was wearing a NASCAR jacket.

Photo Credit: Chuck Cagara /

Of course there did seem to be an unusually high percentage of well-dressed older gentlemen escorting their college-aged daughters around.

But that's what Film Festival is about. The Hollywood wheelers and dealers making the pilgrimage to Santa Barbara. But it's not just that. For us locals it means heading down to the neighborhood around the Metro 4 theaters on any night of the week and being guaranteed that you will run into someone who you know and with whom you will have something to talk about: "Seen any good movies lately?"

No matter what you're looking for when it comes to movies, you can find it at the Santa Barbara Film Fest. If you want to see movie stars, they always have plenty of Oscar contenders. If you want to see the movies that are up for Oscars, they have those. If you want to party, there are plenty of parties to go to. And, if you are truly serious about film and cinema you can ignore all of the foregoing and immerse yourself in films from 8 in the morning until midnight every day of the festival.

As for myself, I figure I saw about 15 films, an all-time record for me. Troubadours was my overall favorite. Phunny Business, had me laughing the hardest. Women In Temptation was the most entertaining, and Finding Kind was the most moving. (Some of the commenters at Edhat could learn a thing or two from that last movie.)

Over the course of the last 10 days, I saw a lot of local politicians at Film Fest events. Mayor Helene Schneider is a regular and Congress member Lois Capps and Assembly member Das Willams came to opening night. I saw First District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal at the premiere screening of Bringing King to China and I saw former mayor Marty Blum along with husband Joe in the line at the Metro 4 and in the audience for the Directors' Panel.

Anybody notice a trend here? Where are all of the Republicans? Actually I am told that city council member Dale Francisco attended opening night, but that's it as far as our elected officials from the GOP.

If the Film Fest wants to improve their Republican demographic maybe they ought to program a Ronald Reagan retrospective. "Bedtime for Bonzo" anyone?

More Film Fest Photos by Chuck Cagara in this year's photo gallery.
© 2011 by Craig Smith and