Crowds line up to see movie stars, and filmmakers present special stories as Santa Barbara International Film Festival continues
Crowds lined up on State Street to see Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis approach the red carpet at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
And there’s more stargazing ahead at the festival, which continues through Saturday at three State Street theaters.
Another crowd will no doubt gather outside as Brendan Fraser — who, like Ms. Curtis and Ms. Blanchett, is an Oscar nominee — walks toward the red carpet.
Mr. Fraser will receive the American Riviera Award at 8 tonight at the Arlington Theatre. That’s where Ms. Curtis on Saturday night received the Matlin Modern Master Award, and it’s where Ms. Blanchett was honored with the Outstanding Performer Award on Friday.
In one of Hollywood’s great comeback stories, Mr. Fraser received his best actor Oscar nomination for his starring role in “The Whale,” about a writing teacher who’s dealing with weight issues. At the same time, he’s trying hard to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter.
The stars will continue to come to the festival Wednesday night when several actors receive the Virtuosos Award at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre. The winners are Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), Nina Hoss (Tár), Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”), Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and
Jeremy Strong (“Armageddon Time”). Mr. Butler, Ms. Hsu and Mr. Quan have all been nominated for Oscars for their movies.
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who are both in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” will walk the red carpet Thursday night at the Arlington Theatre for the 8 p.m. presentation. The actors, who are among this year’s Oscar nominees, are receiving the Cinema Vanguard Award from the Santa Barbara festival.
In addition to honoring actors, the film festival will present the Outstanding Directors of the Year Award at 8 p.m. Friday at the Arlington Theatre. And the winners are (opening the imaginary envelope): Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Todd Field (Tár), and Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”). All of them are Oscar nominees for best director, along with Steven Spielberg for “The Fablemans” and Ruben Ostlund for “Triangle of Sadness.”
While the festival is known for its big names, it’s also a place where independent filmmakers present intriguing stories. You don’t need a big star or a major studio to make a story with some impact.
Especially when that impact is made by a meteorite.
That’s the story in “Stellar,” in which a meteorite hits the Earth and creates fireballs hundreds of kilometers aways. And don’t forget the tsunami.
But while the world is rushing toward its end, two indigenous people in their 30s, simply named “He” and “She,” meet in a dive bar in northern Ontario and fall in love.
The compelling premise led to packed houses Friday and Sunday at the Fiesta 5 theater on State Street.
Darlene Naponse, who wrote and directed “Stellar,” said the two lovers in the bar are in the middle of the world ending.
“All of this is happening outside the window, outside the door, while they are still in there,” Mrs. Naponse told the News-Press. “Sometimes people come into the bar and connect with them. And the bartender’s there too.”
Mrs. Naponse said He and She are just talking and falling in love with each other despite the danger outside the bar.
“You’re wondering, ‘Will they bind themselves together?’ Or will all these elements (the meteorite, etc.) force them apart?’ ” Mrs. Naponse said.
One of the independent movies screening today explores another kind of danger — social media.
The film is a short called — what else? — “Followers.” The creepy comedy, which is about a world in which people might know too much about each other, made its world premiere Sunday.
It will screen again during the Narrative Shorts Program, set for 4 p.m. today at Fiesta 5.
“We share so much of our lives online, but we don’t know each other. You don’t know who knows what about you,” said Joey Ally, who stars as Wendy, a social media influencer whose neighbor invites her to dinner.
Social media changes the dynamics of a first-time encounter with someone, Miss Ally told the News-Press Monday.
Thanks to social media, you may not exactly be meeting someone for the first time when you see them face to face for the first time, Miss Ally explained.
“They could have met you 60 times” through social media, the Los Angeles actress said. “And there’s always a possibility of nefarious intentions.”
In “Followers,” Wendy has a meltdown, and Miss Ally said the Fiesta 5 audience was laughing throughout the film.
Unlike Wendy, Miss Ally isn’t especially active in social media. “I’m terrible at social media. I get overwhelmed by how much you can know about other people. It can just feel bizarre.”
Miss Ally was born and raised in New York City.
“I’ve been acting since I could speak,” said Miss Ally, who acted during her childhood.
“I’ve done it my entire life,” said Miss Ally, who earned her bachelor’s in political science and French at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.
She directed, wrote and starred in “The Hater,” a 2022 film that was released in theaters. She played a liberal speech writer in a U.S. Senate campaign. She loses her job for a protest gone wrong and returns to her conservative Texas hometown.
“It’s the one thing that made use of my political science degree,” she said. “I was very fortunate. It had an amazing cast.”
You can see “The Hater,” which also stars Bruce Dern and Meredith Hagner, on Hulu.
In other highlights of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival:
— The Variety Artisans Awards were presented Monday night at the Arlington Theatre to M. M. Keeravaani, songwriter for “RRR”; Frank Kruse, sound designer for “All Quiet on the Western Front”; Son Lux, composer for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”; Catherine Martin, costume designer for “Elvis”; Florencia Martin, production designer on “Babylon”; Claudio Miranda, cinematography for “Top Gun: Maverick”; Adrien Morot, hairstyling/make up (“The Whale”); Paul Rogers, editing (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Eric Saindon, visual effects (Avatar: The Way of Water”).
— UCSB graduate Matthew Mishory’s documentary “Who Are the Marcuses?” screened Monday and will screen again at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Metro 4. The movie is about Holocaust refugees Lottie and Howard Marcus, a Long Island couple who gave a billion-dollar gift to Ben-Gurlon University in Israel.
— World champion surfer Shaun Tomson will appear in the movie “Waves Apart,” which is the true story of a Jewish surfer confronting the sport’s anti-Semitic history. The film will air at 7:40 p.m. Thursday at Fiesta 5.
— There’s free admission for movies screening at 2 p.m. daily at the Arlington Theatre. They include “Soul for the Ocean” today, “Elvis” on Wednesday, “Patrick and the Whale” on Thursday, “To Leslie” on Friday and “10-10-10 Student Shorts” on Saturday.
— The closing night film is, appropriately enough, the U.S. premiere of “I Like Movies” at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Arlington Theatre. Written and directed by Chandler Levack, the film is about a teenage movie enthusiast and his dream of attending New York University’s Tisch School. To pay for his tuition, he gets a job at Sequels, a video store.
The film stars Isaiah Lehtinen, Romina D’Ugo, Krista Bridges and Percy Hynes White.