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SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to making a positive impact utilizing the power of film. SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film.

In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for our program expansion. This marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center focused on the art of film and is an incredible opportunity to expand our mission of educational outreach. Particularly important to SBIFF is making available high quality learning opportunities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Our programs and reach are more robust than ever before.


Opening Night at the Santa Barbara Film Festival

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Day One : Opening Night Film: Definitely, Maybe

I like to be manipulated.” I heard one of my male film-going companions state this when talking about why he liked Definitely, Maybe. I don’t think he’s getting in touch with his feminine side as much as he is commenting on his film-going personality. After all, this is why we go see films oftentimes: to be manipulated. To have our tears jerked, to feel something, to follow along on the trials, tribulations, adventures and angst of the characters and then, meet up with them at the end of the road. This is why we go see films, really.

It is a tried and true opening night tradition at the Santa Barbara fest—the red carpet, the film, the stars on hand to introduce and be photographed. And then the party. At the Santa Barbara Film Festivals, the opening and closing night parties are gala affairs, sprawling, fun, festive, full of music, and people who look like they’ve stepped off the screen.

This year’s fete suffered from the downpour that can be a hallmark of the rainy season in Southern California, so the venue moved from its usual outdoor location in the Mediterranean walking mall to tented space, creatively used, around the theater. In the midst of the rain, much of State Street was out of power, yet the theater remained lit.

One notable party element missing this year as compared to last year’s nearly daily parties were the go-go dancers. This year’s party line-up, the staff said, will be a bit more pared back and subdued than last year’s daily scene with go-go dancers at each location. Fortunately, pared down does not mean any less fun. And the atmosphere of being able to mix over drinks with filmmakers, jurors, actors, film buffs (and humble writers) is one of the best aspects of the annual Santa Barbara event.  


Oh, Abigail Breslin’s in the film, along with Ryan Reynolds, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks and Isla Fisher. I loved Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine and she plays it all up again here. The films succeeds in the manipulation factor, perfect for a date on its opening night, Valentine’s Day.

This opens in the U.S. February 14. Film website:

Felicia Tomasko

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About Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has star wattage and a wealth of premieres in a Mediterrean-style city by the sea.

Blogging here with dailies: 
The team of editors of the The Santa Barbara Blog:
Carol Marshall, Felicia Tomasko, Vanessa McMahon, Marla and Mark Hamperin, Kim Deisler and Bruno Chatelin

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