The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival is doing things differently this year. In the past 35 years the acclaimed festival has transformed into one of the leading film festivals in the United States, with over 100,000 attendees, attracting the best of independent and international cinema. The festival which will run from March 31st to April 10, 2021 will be adding two beachside drive-in movie theatres hosted at Santa Barbara City College. They will screen over 80 films, all offered free of charge but RSVP-ing will be required. Taking the lead from Sundance Film Festival, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will host virtual online film-screenings, Q&As, industry panels and celebrity tributes. In past years celebrities such as Bill Murray, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen and Amanda Seyfried have been honored. Tributes consist of intimate and insightful conversations between the moderator and attendees, discussing their careers and culminating in an award presentations.
Programmers for the festival reported receiving a record number of submissions this year. The line-up and schedule will be announced in early March and includes over 100 films, many of them World and US premieres. “It’s imperative we bring a sense of hopefulness to 2021, but in the safest way possible,” says Roger Durling, SBIFF’s Executive Director. “A virtual component was a given but experiencing movies in socially distanced cars and being by the ocean felt oh so perfectly Santa Barbara, California.”
Passes for the festival are on sale now and can be purchased here.