film festival

Santa Barbara International Film Fest Goes to the Drive-in

The lauded celebration of everything filmdom will give fans a chance to enjoy acclaimed flicks from the front seat of their cars.

Thomas Winz

What to Know

  • March 31-April 10, 2021
  • The two drive-in experiences are free, but there are a number of films to access from home
  • Animated shorts, documentary shorts, and full-length features are on the line-up

FILM FESTIVALS, in the past, have been tightly tied to several memorable locations, touchstones, and hallmarks. A brightly lit red carpet that extends to a theater's front door? Check. A lovely lobby where you can hobnob with other film fans? That's often part of the super-social scene. A gorgeous theater full of plush seats, the kind of seats you can snuggle into during a post-film, super-starry Q&A? Also a major thing at major film festivals. But a drive-in? As in the sort of under-the-sky spectacular that's all about enjoying a movie from the front seat of your own automobile? Film festivals, on the whole, have eschewed such events in favor of traditional cinematic happenings.

BUT ESCHEW, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will not, for it is gamely embracing new ways for fans to connect with great new flicks. So the acclaimed happening, which just kicked off its 36th annual go-around on Wednesday, March 31, will have a number of drive-in nights, all so fans can enjoy the thrill of seeing a film among other film fans (even if those movie mavens are, yes, in their own cars). The two theaters showing films are described as "ocean-front," and the works shown on both screens are free to see. But even if you can't make it to the American Riviera in 2021 for one of its biggest bashes, you can enjoy fantastic new fare from home.

THE SCHEDULE, and all you need to know before checking out "Broken Diamonds," "Cinema of Sleep," "Daughters of the Waves," and the other films on the slate? You can find everything the SBIFF site, including how online viewing, and the drive-in films, will roll out during the multi-day fest.

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