The 2007 Santa Barbara International Film Festival will open on January 25th with George Hickenlooper's "Factory Girl," starring Sienna Miller as famed Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick. The fest will close on February 4th with Sue Kramer's "Gray Matters," described as a screwball comedy (with a gay twist) that is Kramer's directorial debut. Michael Apted's "Amazing Grace," a look at the life of William Wilberforce, is on tap as the centerpiece film for the 22nd annual festival taking place January 25 - February 4 in the picturesque California seaside town. Apted is also on board as the fest's first Guest Director at the event. In all, organizers are touting 22 World Premieres and 18 US Premieres.
World premieres on tap include Eric Matthies' "Ayame," Erik Hatch's "Cali Summer," Aprill Winney's "Counting Backwards," Logan Smalley's "Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life," Haylar Garcia's "Do It for Johnny," Richard Kraft's "Finding Kraftland," Justin La Pera's "Forgotten Coast," Dara Bratt's "Henry," Cecile Leroy Beaulieu's "Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills," Adam Bardach's "Living With Lew," Natalie Sanderson and Sumnima Udas's "Lost Souls," Michael Schroeders's "Man in the Chair," Dorothy Littlejohn's "Mountain Unicycle Weekend," Rick Greenwald's "Quantum Hoops," Matthew Asner and Danny Gold's "Season of the Samurai," Adam Green and Joel Moore's "Spiral," Jon Kean's "Swimming in Auschwitz," Jessie Deeter's "Taking Guns from Boys," Joel Schumacher's "The Number 23," Matthew Nourse's "The Pacific and Eddy," Dorothy Littlejohn and Jess Riegel's "Trials Course Love 99," and Brian Vernor's "We Just Work Here."
Poised just a month before Oscar night in Los Angeles, SBIFF will honor a number of likely nominees. "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon will be the subject of a career achievement tribute, receiving the Montecito Award, while star of "The Queen," Helen Mirren will receive the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award and "Pursuit of Happyness" star Will Smith will receive The Modern Master Award. Forest Whitaker, star of "The Last King of Scotland" will receive the American Riviera Award and the Sir David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking will be presented to Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim for "An Inconvenient Truth."
Among the festival's noted conversations and panel discussions are chats with Djimon Honsou, along with a screening of "Blood Diamond" and a discussion with Michael Apted prior to the showing of "49 Up." Panel discussions will include sessions on directing, writing, film scoring, women in film, and a seminar dubbed, "Movers and Shakers." Participants are still to be announced.
[For more information, visit the SBIFF website.]