For the past 10 days I received nothing but red carpet treatment, all for wearing a little pass around my neck recognizing me as a filmmaker.
Ok, ok, so perhaps I should first mention that these past 10 days, Santa Barbara celebrated its 27th Annual International Film Festival (SBIFF)…and then guess I’ll have to admit that the pass actually belonged to my brother Ryan (who did have a film in the festival in the Local Shorts section). But I’m definitely not exaggerating about how much fun I had experiencing the SBIFF in true VIP style!
My SBIFF experience started with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award, which was given to Viola Davis for her performance in The Help. This was Viola’s first starring role in a film (although she was nominated for best supporting actress in Doubt with Meryl Streep), and after hearing her speak about how much time and effort and excruciatingly close attention to details she gave to all of her previous and more minor characters, it’s not surprise that this amazing performance garnered Viola the nomination for best actress. It was a pleasure to listen to a true artisan of the acting craft discuss her passion and interesting path to pursuing her dreams.
A few days later, my little brother Ryan’s film “Silent Heart” screened two days in a row in the “Local Shorts” section of the festival. He originally created this film for a UCSB movie festival called Reel Loud, where students create silent films, that are then accompanied by live music. You can check out his trailer here:
After we saw all 10 local short films, all of the directors came to the front for a Q&A. Here’s Ryan discussing what it was like to direct “Silent Heart”. To check out his other films and current projects, visit his website!
My two fabulous brothers! Kevan (left) and Ryan (right)
Somehow Mom didn’t make it into the pictures, but at least Dad snuck in one!
Although Kevan had to leave for a limo job in San Luis Obispo, my parents, Ryan and I decided to go see another film that afternoon after Ryan’s film screened. Ryan had heard good things about a documentary called “The Other Dream Team”, so we decided to check it out, and I must say that I was MORE than pleasantly surprised. The film follows the extraordinary story of the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team, whose athletes struggled under Soviet rule, became symbols of Lithuania’s independence movement, and – with the help of the Grateful Dead – triumphed at the Barcelona Olympics. After the film, we were treated to a Q&A with director Marius Markevicius, who talked about growing up in Los Angeles as the son of first generation Lithuanian immigrants a second generation, and how he came to make this film. I would recommend this film to EVERYONE!
The next day, we went to a screening of “The Artist”, the silent French film that is up for 6 Golden Globe awards including Best Picture. After seeing it for myself, I found that all of the hype about this film was completely warranted: this is a MUST SEE! I was slightly skeptical at first, because the first 20 or so minutes of the film seemed to closely mirror the beginning of “Singing in the Rain” (and although I loved that film, I was hoping this film wouldn’t be a copy cat). But then the film and its characters took many, many twists and turns that made it refreshing and an absolute delight to watch. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo (the two main actors) were incredible, and I’m excited to check out the other French films that they’ve done together!
Later that night, Dujardin and Bejo were honored with SBIFF’s Cinema Vanguard award at The Arlington Theatre. Although I wasn’t able to attend, Ryan and my parents went and gave me a full report along with pictures (Bejo – above, and Dujardin with the translator lingering the background – below)