Santa Barbara is steeped in film history, and our proximity to Los Angeles and diversity of locations keeps that filmmaking tradition alive today
Santa Barbara, CA (Vocus) December 3, 2009
Santa Barbara offers film lovers, stargazers and history buffs a cinematic feast this winter. 2010 marks the 100th year of filmmaking in Santa Barbara, where California's film industry originally planted roots before migrating south to Hollywood. Kicking off the milestone, It's Complicated, a new film from writer/director/producer Nancy Meyers, opens Christmas Day and beautifully showcases the destination's enduring aesthetic appeal. The celebration continues with the 25th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival February 4-14, when Oscar contenders and the industry's best will gather on The American Riviera for 10 days of screenings, tribute events, panel discussions and parties.
Whether scouting sites dating back to Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1923), sipping pinot noir on the Sideways (2004) wine trail or watching cutting-edge cinema in historic theatres during the Film Festival, visitors will discover that Santa Barbara looks as good in real life as she does on the big screen. Visit the SantaBarbaraCA.com/filmtour microsite for Santa Barbara film trivia, suggested movie tour itineraries, a guide to It's Complicated locations, Film Festival information and a list of hotels with star-studded histories--including Charlie Chaplin's Montecito Inn.
"Santa Barbara is steeped in film history, and our proximity to Los Angeles and diversity of locations keeps that filmmaking tradition alive today," reflects Santa Barbara County Film Commissioner Geoff Alexander. "For a community of our size, the $30 million of revenue the industry generates annually has a significant impact on our local economy. When you factor in the caliber of talent that the Film Festival brings to town and the power players in the industry who call Santa Barbara home--or second home--it's easy to see why Santa Barbara is often referred to as 'Hollywood North.'"
Like many great movie characters, Santa Barbara's film history has a humble beginning. As home to California's first major movie studio, the legendary Flying A Studio (1910), Santa Barbara was a modest hub to film's early pioneers during the silent era. But it wasn't until Cecil B. DeMille shot the sandscapes of Guadalupe in The Ten Commandments that Santa Barbara gained a reputation for locations worthy of stardom. Since then, the region has been cast in classics such as Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Endless Summer (1966), Scarface (1983), Of Mice & Men (1992), Adaptation (2002) and Seabiscuit (2003). More recently, Santa Barbara set the stage for the Oscar-winning, wine-infused comedy Sideways (2004), as well as Hidalgo (2004), Grindhouse (2006), Alpha Dog (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean III: At World's End (2007) and There Will Be Blood (2007).
In It's Complicated, Meyers directs Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in a comedy about love, divorce and everything in between. The film opens Christmas Day and will put Santa Barbara back in the limelight. Much of the story is set in Santa Barbara, where restaurant/bakery owner Jane (Streep), resides. From actual filming locations to intricate production design details, Santa Barbara's style is omnipresent in the comedy. Establishing shots of Santa Barbara help to create an authentic sense of place. In addition to scenes filmed in residential areas of Montecito, the film was shot in front of numerous downtown landmarks, including the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and historic El Paseo.
Screening more than 200 films from around the world, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will roll out the red carpet February 4-14 for its 25th year. State Street will transform into an urban hiking trail as filmgoers make their way from one theatre to another to catch the most talked about films. A special historic series featuring three shorts filmed in 1910 will be screened in honor of the 100th anniversary of filmmaking in Santa Barbara, paired with a lecture at Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Panels about directing, screenwriting and producing bring the year's most gifted to the forefront for a candid, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a movie. Adding to the glitz are high-profile celebrities honored for their outstanding work in films of 2009, including the recently announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Colin Firth, James Cameron, Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Stanley Tucci and Christoph Waltz. Tickets and passes are on sale now.
The Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission offers a comprehensive film tourism microsite, SantaBarbaraCA.com/filmtour, ideal for the Accidental Tourist who enjoys sleuthing the settings made famous in films, reliving history or sleeping where the stars slept. Complimentary Lonely Planet Santa Barbara Film Tour pocket guides and Sideways movie tour maps are also available.
CONTACT: Shannon Turner Brooks, Director of Communications
Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission