SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is always starry a celebration of up and coming filmmakers and Oscar hopefuls, but this year the programmers have also decided to make it more accessible. For the first time, it’ll be free for the community, organizers announced Tuesday.
The 36th installment kicks off on March 31 with the world premiere of Aaron Mauer’s “Invisible Valley” about the people of California’s Coachella’s Valley, from the undocumented farmworkers to the wealthy snowbirds and music festival partiers. The film also explores the “looming ecological crisis threatening it all.”
After a year of mostly online film festivals, the festival is taking a hybrid approach and building two beachside drive-in theaters for the screenings. There will also be a ticketed online component. There are 47 world premieres in the lineup, hailing from 45 countries in addition to celebrity tributes, panels and community outreach programs.
Celebrity honorees at the 36th installment include Amanda Seyfried, Delroy Lindo, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bill Murray and Carey Mulligan, who is getting the Cinema Vanguard Award. Virtuoso Award recipients include Riz Ahmed, Maria Bakalova, Kinglsey Ben-Adir, Andra Day, Sidney Flanigan, Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim and Zendaya. That event, moderated by Dave Karger, will take place on April 3.
Feature films in the lineup include “Trees of Peace,” about four women hiding and fighting…