The 26th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival
The streets were packed, and the smell of pop-corn filled the streets of Santa Barbara, California for the 26th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival that is several days of Theatre, Movies and Celebrities donning their best suits and coming to the Central Coast to mix, mingle and bring to the people their best in new films, directors, producers and the next hot title that will have everyone talking. The stage, as it were, is the historic theatres of Santa Barbara, some would laude other famous festivals, but by far the SBIFF is the best for bringing the talent to the people, this event is inclusive, allowing all to see the spectacle and be a part of the action. Local businesses and companies help sponsor the event and give people coming to it the ability to enjoy good food and wine, local activities, great shopping and luxurious accommodations.
Arch Rock Fish, the restaurant headed by Chef Scott Liebfried, who works with the Host / Chef Gordon Ramsay of “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares” sponsored some of the events, and itself was preparing for the festival with interview by A&E Television, whom is preparing a documentary on Gordon Ramsay and came to Santa Barbara to meet with Scott and film in the Restaurant.
Arch Rock Fish, one of the Newest and most favored place to eat in Santa Barbara is the place to meet and eat, located only 3 blocks from all the action of the festival, it was not out of the ordinary to see the Hollywood types and the soon to be famous sitting down to lunch and making their pitches and meeting the people of the city.
I personally attended 3 of the multitude of events and I must say I was not disappointed; the SBIFF brings hundreds and thousands of people to the area, but does everything to make each person feel welcome and makes a “one of a kind” experience to be remembered by each person there. I was lucky enough to be able to bring my wife to the events with me and make this a pleasure cruse down the local “Hollywood way” and make our stops is each and every venue, but my reporting is on the 2 most valued events, The Modern Masters Award Ceremony for Christopher Nolan and the Montecito Award Ceremony for Geoffrey Rush.
Christopher Nolan, writer/director/producer of the acclaimed blockbuster “Inception” as well as “Batman” Fame, received the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s highest honor, Modern Master Award, presented by lynda.com. The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by SBIFF. Established in 1995, it was created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the motion picture industry. Nolan joins an illustrious group of past recipients including Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Peter Jackson, George Clooney, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood, and James Cameron.
Christopher Nolan’s stage presence was impressive, his words intriguing and his demeanor jovial as he humbly accepted the award and spoke of what his experiences were and of the stars, in his words, had the honor of working with. Mr. Nolan took a moment to remember the late Heath Ledger, and spoke of how he will be missed. He was presented with his award by Leonardo DiCaprio, and to a rousing applause, bowed to an endeared audience.
After the awards ceremony, my wife and I was lucky enough to be invited to Mr. Nolan’s after party Hosted by Arch Rock Fish and met with Directors, Producers and more, celebrating their achievements and the Festival’s activities. The restaurant was standing room only as the stars of Hollywood shined alongside of the local celebrities, dignitaries and socialites. Arch Rock Fish Catered the event, the food was phenomenal and the wine and spirits, provided by Santa Barbara Wine Company were well received.
The next night was just as festive as we went to the Montecito Award Ceremony for Geoffrey Rush; we arrived early as the line winded around the corner, people were anxious to see this star of stage and screen. Mr. Rush arrived to an appreciative crowd and spoke with many people as he entered the theatre; he sat and watched with grace as the Festival touted his many achievements.
When he walked onto the stage, this humble legend was smiling and sat to talk with the commentator, not as a Hollywood star, but as a humble actor who just loves doing what he does, making great films and bringing performances of merit to his fans. Mr. Rush was serene as he accepted the award and thanked the people who made this possible, and thanked his costars of his most recent film – A King’s Speech, for the opportunity to be next to them, and they in turn told the world that without him, their experiences would not be as rewarding.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival brought these heroes of Hollywood to us in all their glamour and gave us a chance to be a part of their lives in every way they are a part of ours. I look forward to next year’s festival with hopes to see more of the same, but expect so much more. Year after Year the Film Festival in Santa Barbara gets better and better, I hope to see you there on the Red carpet.