Mondo Movie Fest in the American Riviera

The February film party is one of the major happenings on the Santa Barbara calendar.

A SOLID CINEMA CELEBRATION... isn't just about placing people in seats, dimming the lights, and rolling the titles and credits. There should be a lot of moving parts, over multiple days, and a few movie star sightings, as well as some up-and-coming talent, to better round out the sense that fans have journeyed to become a part of something rather special. That specialness has been building, via screenings, award presentations, and other top-notch to-dos in the American Riviera for just over three decades now, courtesy of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Presented by UGG. This is the fest that wraps just a fortnight (or so) ahead of the Academy Awards, making it one of the last stops for lauded actors and filmmakers on the wintertime Q&A circuit. What this means for movie mavens is this: You're experiencing contemporary film love at its near peak, with polished panels, awards-season-y fervor, and red-carpet-esque action in full flower. That flower comes to bloom from...

FEB. 1 THROUGH 11, 2017... at the 32nd annual SBIFF, and while the slate of screenings hasn't fully been revealed — look to mid-January for that action — some of the centerpiece parties and offerings have (update: eye the 2017 films here). Jeff Bridges, recently seen in "Hell or High Water," will receive the 2017 American Riviera Award, while the Maltin Modern Master Award will go to Denzel Washington (the artist's lauded "Fences" will surely be discussed). More award-themed nights are on the slate, as well as the ongoing Santa Barbara Film Feast, a concurrent happening that puts the flavorful focus on nearby restaurants. It's a packed run, one that feels like it is scooping up all of the cinema-y goodness that's been rolling out in one fell swoop (fell swoops, film-wise, tend to arrive with February and the approach of the Oscars). To be a part of this, and spend a pleasurable day or two in a highly pleasant, pleasure-packed place, brush up on your upcoming SBIFF 411.

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