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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival

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Beginning January 24, Southern California will welcome cinema aficionados from around the globe for the 28th installment of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The city prides itself on being a multifaceted surfing community with an environmentalist bent, but it is also a town of sophisticated filmgoers with a penchant for foreign flicks. “All of those traits make us who we are in Santa Barbara,” says executive director Roger Durling.

The festival—which will screen more than 200 films during its 11-day run, including a spate of independent titles from Colombia, Russia and everywhere in between—reflects these qualities. In addition to screenings, the event plans to honor filmmakers and actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio and host panel presentations on writing, directing and editing. (Christopher Plummer, pictured above, attended last year.)

Celebrities may play a major role, but staying true to the surrounding community is an equally important piece, with several outreach programs rounding out the festivities. AppleBox offers free movie screenings to low-income families, and Field Trip to the Movies busses in nearly 5,000 third- and sixth-graders for educational classes with filmmaking greats like James Cameron and Lee Unkrich. “It’s definitively our pride and joy,” says Durling. Through February 3; festival passes, from $325; 805-963-0023; sbiff.org.

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