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Story & Photos by Bonnie Carroll


The 26th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival attracted a bevy of Academy Award nominees, whew her honored at the historic Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara over a ten day period.


The red carpet sizzled with celebrities and local politicians throughout the event, and press from around the world came to get photos and interviews. Handling the crowds of press and fans was handled well by Roger Durling and his staff, as well as Carol Marshall and her public relations staff. Durling said interviewing Nicole Kidman on stage at the Arlington was “the thrill of a lifetime because he loves Nicole Kidman and her outstanding film work so much.”


Among the honors presented were the American Riviera Award to Annette Benning “The Kids are Alright”; The Montecito Award given to Geoffrey Rush “The King’s Speech”; James Franco for Outstanding Performer of the Year; Nicole Kidman, Cinema Van Guard Award; Andrew Garfield, John Hawkes, Lesley Manville, Hailee Steinfield and Jacki Weaver were presented the Virtuosos Awar and Christopher Nolan, Modern Master Award, which was presented by Leonardo DiCapria.


2011 Film Awards went to “Face to Face” Panavision Spirit Award; “Togetherness Supreme” Best International Award; special mention to Alicia Vikander “Pure”; “Nostalgia for the Light” Nueva Vision Award; “Patisserie (Coin De Rue)” Best East Meets West Cinema Award; “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” Best Eastern Bloc Award; “The Boy Mir” Best Documentary Film Award; “West of the Moon” Bruce Corman Best Action Film; “The Lost Thing” Bruce Coman Best Animation Film Short Award. The Fund for Santa Barbara Award for Social Justice went to “When I Rise” and “Nostalgia for the Light”. The Audience Choice Award went to “Troubadors”, a film about popular music performers at the historic California club, directed by Morgan Neville.


Films not given awards that deserve a mention include “Good for Nothing” a wonderful western shot in New Zealand, "The Great Vasquez" from Spain.


Sponsors for the 2011 SBIFF included Chopin Vodka, Stella Artois, Lynda.com as well as numerous local business and media outlets. Congratulations to SBIFF on yet another great film festival!


Congratulations to the "King's Speech" Team

Best Actor, Colin Firth; Best Original Screen Play, David Seidler; Best Director, Tom Hooper and Best Motion Picture . . .

Well Done!!


A Film Gift from New Zealand

By Bonnie Carroll




The enthusiasm, hard work and talent of the young group of 'Kiwi’s' who arrived in Santa Barbara to premiere their film “Good For Nothing” cannot be measured by American standards. If you have spent any time with Australians or New Zealanders you know what I mean; they are a special breed who live by a "never give up" motto.


The writer-director Mike Wallis and his fiancé leading lady/co-producer Inge Rademeyer, along with their very handsome leading man Cohen Holloway certainly did bring a surprise gift to the Annual Santa Barbara Film Festival with this homage to spaghetti Westerns. It is basically a two-character film photographed with the beauty of New Zealand landscape as a backdrop. This story of an English lady traveling to be with her uncle following the death of her father takes some violent turns when she is kidnapped by an outlaw.


I had some delightful interactions with this fantastic trio during the festival, and hope their wonderful film will be acquired by U.S. distributors and can be seen on the big screen. It is so original, and so well done. The photography alone is outstanding, and the incredible original score composed by John Psathis and performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was simply wonderful. Sadly, I always find myself a few scenes ahead of a film writer as I’m watching; whether this is good or bad … it automatically happens to me. Wallis’s scenes kept me jumping through hoops, his story line could not be predicted, and I loved that I was constantly surprised.


Wallis and Rademeyer have been engaged for a few years, and following the premiere of their film they did a question and answer session where they shared stories of how they hunted on the New Zealand equivalent of ‘Craig’s list” to find props, and also went digging through swap meets to find things they needed as well. Much of the film was shot in an area where there was a standing western looking town that worked perfectly for their movie.


It was inspiring to talk with the group, and the film was so well received in Santa Barbara. The SBIFF staff and media, including renowned critic and interviewer Leonard Maltin, were all thrilled with their creation and wish them great success with the film.  Visit: www.goodfornothingmovie.com BC


A cancer-free Michael Douglas tells "Extra" he is ready for his next role as pianist and "King of Bling" entertainer, Liberace.

"It's just nice to be play a nice guy after playing all the villains," Douglas said about the role. "Part of Liberace's charm -- yes, his piano playing was wonderful -- but people kind of inherently just picked up on his joy and graciousness, on how much fun he was having!"

Matt Damon is also on board to play his young lover. Douglas joked about how he and Damon will prepare for their kissing scenes. "Every once in a while we send little emails back to each other [and ask], 'What flavor ChapStick do you wear?'"

Douglas did say he thought Damon was brave to play this role. "He's got a great attitude about it and very brave on his part. I'm not sure in the prime of my career, I would necessarily be jumping and diving into this role. It's a bold choice, but he makes bold choices. One of the things I admire about him is how he mixes up his commercial 'Bourne' films, for instance, with ones that he feels are from the heart. He's probably done that better than anyone."

Winning his battle against throat cancer has taught the 66-year-old to "slow down and savor the moments." The film had been postponed while Douglas underwent treatment.

Liberace, at one time the highest-paid entertainer in the world, died in 1987 at age 67.

San Luis Obispo Film Festival Kicks Off 17th Season with New, Enhanced Website

SLO Tourism Board Teams with Festival to Expand Event Visibility and Attendance

 San Luis Obispo’s Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) has teamed with the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) to expand local and out-of-area attendance for this year’s March 9 – 13, 2011 event through a comprehensive marketing overhaul which includes a new website www.SLOFilmFest.org and strategic online advertisement.

“I love the new site,” said Festival Director Wendy Eidson. “It conveys the event’s sophistication and spirit perfectly, and the layout is so much more accessible and easy to navigate—both equally important elements in making a strong impression upon new festival-goers.”

            The event’s new marketing strategy integrates some of the unique elements of the film festival—namely the local wine and food highlights—while revamping aesthetics and improving user-friendly appeal in the website, promotional brochure and other materials. Additionally, the TBID has incorporated SLOIFF-specific travel advertisements on Youtube, Google, the LA Weekly and SF Weekly Newsletter, The Hollywood Reporter, and Facebook to maximize the reach and visibility of the event. The TBID’s travel website, SanLuisObispoVacations.com, also has a dedicated page promoting the event to worldwide travel consumers. 

            The campaign, paid for in part by the TBID, was carried out by the TBID’s marketing agency of record, LEVEL Studios, with the aim of boosting the success of a cherished local event, and thereby bringing more visitors to downtown San Luis Obispo each year. The film festival is one of several signature San Luis Obispo events that the TBID has chosen to aid since it was founded in 2009. Others include last fall’s Sunset Savor the CentralCoast, the SLO GranFondo, and the Straight Down Fall Classic golf tournament.

            The TBID’s events promotion effort is one component of a larger marketing campaign which includes a “Sincerely, California” logo and tagline for the City; national print advertisements appearing in such publications as Westways and 7X7; online banner advertisements in travel planning sites like Trip Advisor; and an award-winning travel website (in 2010, SanLuisObispoVacations.com won the OMMA Award for Web Site Excellence, the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward for  Outstanding Achievement in Web Development, and the International Academy of the Visual Arts’ Silver Davey Award in the Tourism Category).

To learn more about the SLO Film Festival, visit www.SLOFilmFest.org.  Editors seeking additional information about the event, the City’s TBID or San Luis Obispo Vacations may contact Jamie Relth (jamie@thepressroom.com) at On the Horizon Communications, (805) 773-1000.

Metro 4
MY RUN  will be shown at Metro 4 in Santa Barbara. Portion of tickets sales go to LIVESTRONG visit www.myrunmovie.com for details.

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved