Cinema Santa Barbara: Film Fest on Approach

It's the 31st year of this mondo movie happening.

MOVIE TIME IN THE AMERICAN RIVIERA: The weather has a funny way of timing well with our human concerns, despite the fact that the wind and rain and heat likely pay no attention to our tweets or posts or updates or our online craving for likes and various shows of support. But it does, each winter, tend to cool down enough, even 'round sunny Southern and Central California, to put people in a go-indoors state of mind, the state of mind that's perfect for watching movies. What's going on with the clouds and sun can't take all the credit for this of course; it's also Oscar time, and advertisements and commercials for front-running films are everywhere. So put together the chill weather, and all of those Oscar ads, and you have a bunch of cinephiles who want to retreat to a theater to see some rocking acting and directing and writing and places they've never been (and situations that are unfamiliar, too). The Santa Barbara International Film Festival lands just when the weather cools down and our film interests heat up, in another marvelous feat of timing. The early-February fest spreads out around the American Riviera, summoning headlining thespians for big awards and panel-ready pros and over 200 films from all over the planet. The 2016 dates are...

FEB. 3 THROUGH 13... and the doings are plentiful. "The Little Prince" will enjoy its U.S. premiere on the festival's opening night, and director Terrance Malick's will enjoy its U.S. premiere a few days later. Johnny Depp is set to receive the Maltin Modern Master Award, while the Outstanding Performers of the Year Award will go to Brie Larsen and Saoirse Ronan. Special events festoon the schedule, outside of the awards and screenings, and the savory Santa Barbara Film Feast runs concurrently to the confab. It is, indeed, eleven full days for those mad about movies (and meals), and the timing is top-notch. Just ahead of the Oscars, when the weather can be at its coolest, and film fans just want to spend a lot of time indoors, in the dark, having an Experience, capital E.

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