The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has unveiled details of its upcoming 21st edition, including 20 world premieres and 11 U.S. premieres, which will screen in the picturesque California seaside town February 2 - 12, 2006. The newly-expanded 11-day fest will begin with the world premiere screening of Academy Award-winning director Robert Towne's ("Chinatown") latest film, "Ask The Dust," starring Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell. In this adaptation of John Fante's Depression-era novel, Hayek plays fiery beauty Camilla, who hopes to rise above her station by marrying a wealthy American, but runs into complications after meeting Arturo Bandini (Farrell), a first-generation Italian aspiring to a writing career and a blue-eyed blonde on his arm. The film screens Thursday, February 2nd.
Other world debuts include: documentary "3 Women and a Chateau" by Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg; Joan Carr-Wiggin's "A Previous Engagement"; "Believe in Me" by Robert Collector; D.J. Caruso's "Black Cat Run"; doc "Boxo Texino" by Bill Daniel; doc "Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars" by Renee Sotile and Mary Jo Godges; "The Craving" by Peck Euwer; "From ___ With Love" by Mike MackDog; Rob Dafoe's "From Ground to Glass"; The Butcher Brothers' "The Hamiltons"; Erik Hatch's "LA - SF"; John Stimpson's "The Legend of Lucy Keyes"; Don Hoffman and Stacey Peralta's "The Making of Animal Chin"; doc "Meth" by Todd Ahlberg; Susan Gerard's "No Limit: A Search for the American Dream on the Poker Trail"; Jay Schweitzer's "On the Pipe II"; Johnathan Wyche's "Planet Ibsen"; doc "Pure Sweet Hell" by Brian Vernor and Willie K. Bullion; and "Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) by John Scheinfeld."
Returning to the festival will be SBIFF's "Conversation With..." series. Slated "Conversations" so far including Academy Award-winning director Robert Towne and actors Felicity Huffman and Maria Bello, with additional "Conversations" to be announced later. This year the SBIFF honors will go to George Clooney, who will receive the Modern Master Award on Friday, February 3rd, while, Philip Seymour Hoffman will be the recipient of the festival's "Riviera Award" on Saturday, February 11th. Heath Ledger will receive the festival's "Breakthrough Performance of the Year Award" on Wednesday, February 8th, and Naomi Watts will take the "Montecito Award" on Saturday, February 4th. The festival will also present the second annual "Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking" to director James Cameron ("Titanic") on Monday, February 6th, at the Lobero Theatre.
Closing the Fest will be a special presentation of Santa Barbara filmmaker Jason Reitman's "Thank You for Smoking." The film follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son. Maria Bello, Cameron Bright, Adam Brody, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, David Koechner, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy, JK Simmons and Robert Duvall also star in the satirical comedy. Also held at the Arlington Theatre on Sunday, February 12, the screening will be preceded by the festival awards presentation at 6:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Brian Brooks is the Associate Editor of indieWIRE.