Film Festival Kicks Off with Opening Film and Party
Emilio Estevez signing autographs outside the Arlington Theater (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
The 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is now in full swing after the world premiere of Emilio Estevez’s film The Public and the Opening Night Gala at Paseo Nuevo on Wednesday evening.
Numerous stars from Estevez's film walked the red carpet in front of the Arlington Theatre. Cast members included Alec Baldwin, Michael K. Williams, Jena Malone, Che Smith, Spencer Garrett and Jacob Vargas.
Local festival jurors Anthony and Arnette Zerbe, Artie Schmidt, Geoffrey Cowper, Jan Biivoet, Jesus Lloveras, Jose Novoa, Leslie Zemeckis, Marc Meyers, Martin Gooch, and Mimi deGruy also walked the red carpet as well as Estevez's father Martin Sheen and Santa Barbara's Mayor Cathy Murillo.
Executive Director Roger Durling greeted the crowd and discussed why the community needs this event more than ever in light of the recent wildfire and mudslide.
“The past few months have been some of the hardest for everyone in Santa Barbara,” said Durling. “The devastation and the emotional toll it has taken on all of us is not quantifiable… Film has the power to unify us. To make us feel less fragmented as human beings. The events of the past weeks have fragmented this community – we’ve felt alone – but tonight and for the next 10 days we’re alone no more.”
Turquoise ribbons are being worn in honor of those who died during the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslide. Durling stated it represents clarity of thought, harmony, and healing, as he read each name of those who have passed. Ribbons are available for purchase at the Metro 4 Theatre will all proceeds going directly to United Way of Santa Barbara County.
Estevez was invited on stage before the film and spoke of the importance of community during times of need. He then invited his cast members on stage where Alec Baldwin said, “There’s a small menu of people in this business who, when they call you and they ask you to come work with them, if you’re available, the answer is always yes. And this is one of those people right here” referring to Estevez.
The crowd was then delighted to the world premiere of Estevez's film "The Public," an edhat review of the film can be read here.
Following the film was the traditional Opening Night Gala at the Paseo Nuevo Mall. Sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, several local businesses were available providing samples of their food and beverages. The music lasted until 1:00 a.m. as locals danced to a smattering of hits from the early 2000's. And just like that, the festival has begun.
Movies and events will be held daily through February 10. Learn more at sbiff.org.