Santa Barbara Award

By Nina Hall

On February 4th Saoirse Ronan was awarded with the Santa Barbara Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Along with Ronan many other stars appeared on the red carpet at the Arlington theatre.
One of the people that showed up was the director of the film festival. His first question was, “What is your favorite part about the Film Festival?”

He began his answer by saying, “Actually, you just saw it earlier. We had 30 film study students that come from across the country.They represent about 30 states. We fly them in and pick them up. That is to me the highlight because I live vicariously through these students that are experiencing the Film Festival.”
His next question was, “How do you contact the actors and everybody who comes to the film festival?” He began, “Pretty early on studios show films for us. We go to Toronto film festival. We start seeing films and we reach out to them. Some studios reach out to us as well.”

The next question was, “How do you decide what films go into the Film Festival?” He responded saying, “In the main festival we get about 2000 submissions and then we have to waddle them down to 200. We have a team of about 10 people that watch all of the films and start deciding their favorite films. That’s how we do it.”

His final question was, “What do you hope people get out of coming to the Film Festival?”

He ended the interview by saying, “Most importantly, this year especially, is a sense of community and the sense of getting together. You know what has happened in the past six weeks. We felt isolated and an event like this brings us all together again. Whether we are not feeling good or okay it is a way to process what has transpired.” He happily said thank you, we thanked him as well and off he went.

One group that we interviewed were the people behind The Independence. We first asked them to just tell us a little bit about their film. They responded, “The way I understand it, it is a story of three singer/songwriters who come from very different backgrounds that come together.”

Another person jumped in, “They are sort of at a crossroads in their life,” The same man began talking again, “They decide to be in a band and work together in finding this commonground. The characters go on a massive road trip that ends in LA. So, it is kind of a fictitious version of our story.”

His next question was, “What role does music play in your film?” He began with, “Well, it is a very big role. The movie is a musical and the movie is about how these guys make music together. All of the personal problems they have can go away when they are making music together.” We thanked them and they thanked us and into the Arlington theatre they went.

Another group of people that we were so privileged to interview were the people who created The Wall. The first question we asked was, “What inspired you to make this film?”

They started, “I was asked to do this film by David and the idea came up out of the blue. I think anybody who is a director or in the arts, to have someone call you and ask you and ask you to make a film is an amazing thing. That was my initial inspiration.”

Their next question was, “What did it feel like to be nominated for an award?”

He started, “It’s a great feeling. What can I say?, “He said excitingly, “It’s fantastic!”
The group’s next question was, “Do you have any projects coming up?” They responded, “I’m actually taking a break. This film took me seven years to make.” The he asked, “How old are you?” I said 13, Claire said 14, and Jamila said 13. He proceeded to speak again, “Half of your life. Imagine that, so I am taking a break.”

Their second to last question was, “What were some of the greatest challenges when you were making this film?”

He answered by saying, “Well, animation is a brutal and really time consuming thing to do. So, the challenge was to work on something and stay inspired over the really long period of time.

The final question was, “What was the best part about creating this film?”

They happily said, “Well I worked with really great people and we went to London, England to work with Pinewood studios. This studios shot a lot of famous films. They worked with Marilyn Monroe and James Bond. When we were making this film Daniel Craig was right next door. James Bond was right next door. It was a really cool experience.” We thanked them and they vanished past other reporters and photographers.

The next people that walked down the red carpet were the people behind Black Kite. First we asked the group to tell us about heir film. The said, “Yes, so our film Black Kite is about a young African boy who dreams about flying kites. But, 50 years of African history gets in his way until the taliban ban kite flying.”

Next we asked, “What inspired you to make this film?”

They said, “What inspired us to make this film was when I read this newspaper article beck in 2002 about the taliban banning kite flying. So, then I thought wow we have heard stories about people banning books, religion, but no one has ever banned a child’s play game. It is relevant for youth and it is a father and son story. This is so wonderful to actually be talking to you guys because we are talking to young people. I think this is exactly where it starts.”

They then proceeded to tell us more about the film, “I think you guys would like it because it is a father son story in the beginning and we had a couple of child actors. They had never been on camera ever before. We found one of them on the street and then the second one was the sister of her producer. So, the first part of the story is a father son story and the second is a father daughter story. The father wants to get her to fly kites.”

We then asked them what the message they were hoping people would take from the film.

They said, “The message was even if it is hopeless people still dream and people still want to have fun. You can’t take that away from people.” We thanked them and then they thanked us.

One of the last people we we interview was the woman who was in Tullipani: Love, Honour, and a Bicycle. We first asked the woman to tell us about her film.

She said, “This is about a Dutchman living in the 50’s in Italy after the big blow that happened in that time. He meets these funny people from a southern countryside and he helps them out. The story has a big lesson. Their friendships mean a lot. Wherever you come from friendship means a lot.”

The first question we asked was, “Is there any particular message you were trying to send?”

She said with a happy sigh, “If you need help just look right in front of you.”

The next question we asked was, “What were some of the greatest challenges?”
She said, “First of all, the movie had many troubles. It took two years to finish it. It stopped for one year and then it started again. We all stopped and almost didn’t get this movie done. But, then a miracle happened and hear we are.”

The next question we asked was, “What was the best thing about making this movie?”

She said, “The best thing was working with such wonderful people. Our director was amazing he always challenged us and himself. Even when the roads got bumpy he got through it and did a great job.”
The next question we asked was, “How does the name of the movie relate to the story?”

She said, “There are a lot of tulips blooming and in the movie the tulip is the hope.”

Her next question was, “What projects are you working on next?”

She said, “I’m releasing a new movie about two old women escaping from a family care house. Its very funny. And next week I am going to shoot a tv show right when I get back to Italy.” She also proceeded to let us know that her manager is in Italy and that is why all of her projects occur in Italy. Before we finished the interview she gave us a little message. She told us that it is a tough world out there and to always tell only the truth. “No matter what, tell only the truth,” she said. We thanked her and she walked to the next person calling her name.

Overall the night was pretty spectacular. Saoirse Ronan was there, but no one was able to get an interview with her. Many of the reporters were calling her name, but we were unable to interview her due to time restriction. Everyone had a very cheerful glow on their faces and I’m sure the event was just as extravagant as the red carpet was.

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