Santa Barbara Fest Sets 18th Slate
by Eugene Hernandez
Jon Fitzgerald, the new executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (to be held February 28-March 9), has announced the lineup for the 2003 edition of the event. 100 films have been chosen for the festival’s 10 sections. Ten are world premieres and 11 are U.S. premieres. The 18th annual event will contain three competitive sections, with juries choosing the best in American independent, documentary, and international films.
“To celebrate this terrific international film festival’s 18th year, we have put together a program of high-profile, quality films which is designed primarily to entertain, but will also hopefully enlighten and educate viewers to the many talented, visionary filmmaking voices on display from all over the world,” commented Fitzgerald in a prepared statement. The fest chief was a founder of Slamdance who later headed the AFI Fest in Los Angeles.
Among the movies screening in the international competition are: Elia Suleiman’s 2002 Cannes premiere, “Divine Intervention,” Gaspar Noe’s “Irreversible,” Fernando Leon’s “Mondays in the Sun,” Baltasar Kormakur’s “The Sea,” and Aki Kaurismaki’s “The Man Without a Past,” which screened in Cannes and at the New York Film Festival. Among films in the European Cinema section are Susanne Bier’s “Open Hearts” from Denmark, Daniele Thompson’s “Jet Lag” from France, and Peter Mullan’s “Magdalene Sisters” from Ireland. In the world cinema section is music video director Jonas Akerlund’s feature debut “Spun,” featuring Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, and Jason Schwartzman.
In the Perspectives section for American independents are Eric Byler’s “Charlotte Sometimes,” Francois Velle’s “New Suit,” and Greg Pak’s “Robot Stories.” Finally, included in the documentary competition are Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s “OT: Our Town,” winner of the 2002 Los Angeles Film Festival doc jury award, Anne Makepeace’s Sundance 2003 entry, “Robert Capa in Love and War,” and Steve James’ “Stevie,” which screened in Toronto and at Sundance.
Other programs set for the fest include a selection of Italian films and a group of surf movies.