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Elisabeth Bartlett is blogging the festival scene from Cannes to Los Angeles.
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31st Santa Barbara Film Fest Opens with THE LITTLE PRINCE starring local Jeff Bridges

Last night, the 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival opened with the much awaited, THE LITTLE PRINCE!

I love this festival not just because it's set in a paradise-like beach community, or just because my friend and fellow Reno native Mike Albright does a damn good job programming it. I like to think because of Santa Barbara's proximity to Los Angeles it has a lot of filmmakers, film professionals, and film fanatics who are either a bit more chill than their more southern counterparts, or have decided to take a load off and move north, their passion for movies intact and their sanity preserved by the mountains & the beach. The festival has great movies, amazing attendance, a community feel, and takes place in theatres up and down State street in Santa Barbara, some of which are historic and beautiful.

When I posted on facebook that I'd be seeing THE LITTLE PRINCE yesterday, my friend Amanda said "WHATTTTTT THE FUCKK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!??!?!?!?! " My enthusiasm for this movie matches Amanda's. The story holds a special place in my heart. We lost my oldest brother Matt when he was 18, and after he died many people sent us a version of this quote from the beloved 1942 fairytale.

“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night...You - only you - will have stars that can laugh.”

I understood the potential in animation for such a whimsical story as its framework, especially with a smart director attached...Which after seeing the trailer was pretty clear.

I started my night on the red carpet where I met Mike, who has the same A7S as me though his is awesomely rigged up. Mike taught me a few camera tricks I didn't know. Thanks Mike! 

Once I had a few good pics of The Dude and his beautiful wife, and the lovely Mackenzie Foy who plays the little girl opposite Bridges, I headed into the packed theatre. Knowing it was going to be an emotional journey I carefully selected my seat, and ended up between a Santa Barbara citycouncilman and an architect. Besides that I like to make new friends wherever I go, I know this information because upon introducing the film, Festival Director Roger Durling asked us to turn to a stranger next to us and ask them what makes them special. "Don't let the mundane things in life take over," Durling said the book had taught him when he first read it in french class in high school. Get back to that childlike state where "everything is amazing." 

Props to Osborne for creating a film that that pays respect to the magic of the book and for tastefully weaving that together with a contemporary story of his own. It is utterly breathtaking stop motion (think paper, felt, cloth, tissue) animation along with an epic score (oh, Hans Zimmer) that honor the book. The movie puts the viewer in the shoes of a little girl and her mother, who are a bit caught up in the rat race. "You're going to make a wonderful adult," the little girl's mother says as she has planned out her entire life of accomplishments.

I can't wait for America to see this film and I can't think of a movie I'd rather watch 100 times with any kid I'm babysitting or having (eventually). I'll be curious to see if kids get itthe way adults do. I cried during it when I realized that it is encouragement and love and belief that are important in moving forward in life. I leave you with this quote, "You run the risk of weeping a little, if you let yourself get too deep." In life we shouldn't be afraid to go there. Sadness is as normal as happiness.  And when we don't always know what is going to happen, doubt is unnecessary. Belief is the only option. "It would comfort me to know for sure, but instead I choose to believe," Bridges character tells the little girl. 

To see red carpet footage and Osborne introduce the film, click here


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About Elisabeth

Bartlett Elisabeth
Blogging about the festival scene from Los Angeles

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