It’s that time of year again- the time where movie lovers flock to our town for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). It began as a small event back in 1986 but has since grown into a juggernaut, attracting celebrities and folks from all over the country. It screens over 200 films from all over the world. There are films about everything from surfing (something near and dear to Santa Barbarians) to wine making. After the 11 day event, I feel like I have traveled the world and it feels strange to watch a screen without subtitles!
When I first moved to Santa Barbara, I was curious about the SBIFF and went to one or two movies but never really understood how it worked. Turns out I didn’t know the right people. One of my hiking pals, took me under her wing and showed me her ways. And for 11 days my life is nothing but movies, friends, and a whole lot of fun.
We get the ball rolling with a casual dinner and then attend the opening night film. We then plan which films to see the following day. We often see between 3-4 films a day, with occasional panels and celebrity tributes thrown into the mix. How, you might ask, do you see so many movies in one day? After ponying up for a Platinum Pass which grants access to all of the movies, you want to see as many as possible. We take breaks during the day for food and of course the occasional margarita. Then we keep our minds sharp by playing a rousing game of cards.
I saw over 35 movies last year and spent 11 days with some wonderful women. I’m ready to do it all again, as today is the first full day of the SBIFF. Let the games begin!