Red Carpet Exclusive at the Santa Barbara Film Festival
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Red Carpet Exclusive at the Santa Barbara Film Festival

Three students from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Film, Television, and Media Arts Program got the opportunity of a lifetime when they were among 19 students out of 100 applicants selected to attend the Santa Barbara Film Festival as part of its prestigious Film Studies Program. 

The Santa Barbara Film Festival is a major one within the industry. Held in Santa Barbara, Calif., it screens over 200 feature and short films from around the world. In addition, its Film Studies Program emphasizes film appreciation, criticism and analysis for those students selected to attend. Lead by the festival’s film educators, students experience a packed program with special access to the many events and opportunities, including viewing films, attending panel series with industry professionals and experiencing the red carpet at special events. 


Fairfield students ranked their top five favorites from the festival: 

Caitlyn Dour ’18 

Top 5 impressions:

  1. I was 10 feet away from Paul Dano. Sur-real.
  2. A surprise luncheon with the writers and producers from Oscar nominated films. Talk about networking!
  3. Platinum Passes that got us into literally everything.
  4. Attending the Writer’s Panel and getting to meet with the Festival Programmers.
  5. Meeting students from across the country was so cool. None of us knew what we were getting into, which made it pretty easy to bond. 

Top 5 favorite films:

  1. Ville-Marie (Directed by Guy Édoin)
  2. Force Majeure (Directed by Ruben Östlund)
  3. City of Gold (Directed by Laura Gabbert)
  4. Tangerine (Directed by Sean Baker)
  5. Knight of Cups (Directed by Terrence Malick) US Premiere. 

‌Top 5 meet and greets: 

  1. Paul Dano (Actor, Love and Mercy) I had every intention of asking for his hand in marriage, but he went to accept his award instead.
  2. Sean Baker (Director, Tangerine)
  3. Jeremy Kliner (Producer, The Big Short) My most nerve-racking handshake ever.
  4. Pete Docter (Writer, Pixar) Extremely humbling to speak with the man who wrote my childhood.
  5. Johannes Kuhnke (Actor, Force Majeure) Even more attractive and comedic in person.

Elizabeth (Ella) Danna ’19 

Top 5 impressions:

  1. It was such an honor to be selected among applicants from across the country. We all got along really well and bonded over film.
  2. Santa Barbara, California is absolutely gorgeous!
  3. The festival was so popular in the area.  Everyone was talking about the films in the shops and restaurants.
  4. We were given Premium VIP passes to gain access to the entire festival (worth over $7,000!!) so when we walked on the street, people thought we were really important filmmakers!
  5. The festival is meant to give films a chance to seek more distribution and gain a larger audience – a great opportunity for them. 

Top 5 favorite films:

  1. Tercer Grado: Film screening followed by a talk with director Geoffrey Cowper.
  2. Force Majeure: Film screening followed by a talk with actor Johannes Kuhnk.
  3. Tangerine: Screening at Antioch University, Community Hall followed by a talk with director and writer Sean Baker.
  4. Floyd Norman “An Animated Life”: I sat behind Floyd Norman himself (and got a photo with him)!
  5. Spotlight: Just incredible…no words.

Top 5 meet and greets: 

  1. Luncheon with the writers, directors and producers. We had lunch and personal conversations with Pete Doctor, Jonathan Herman, Alex Garland, Emma Donoghue and Jeremy Kliner.
  2. Writers’ Panel: Top screenwriters discussed the process of giving life to a film. They spoke of the challenges and what it takes for a film to be successful.
    1. Pete Docter (Inside out)
    2. Emma Donoghue (Room)
    3. Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
    4. Drew Goddard (The Martian)
    5. Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton)
    6. Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa)
    7. Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
    8. Charles Randolph (The Big Short)
    9. Josh Singer (Spotlight

    3. Producers’ Panel: Producers discuss current projects and where they see the industry headed. They also shared insights into the creative side of producing.
    4. Attending the Tribute at Arlington (American Riviera Award: Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams).
    5. Attending the Tribute at Arlington Theatre (Virtuosos Award: Elizabeth Banks, Joel Edgerton, Paul Dano, Jacob Tremblay, Alicia Vikander, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Géza Röhrig).   

Nicholas Dilullo ’19 

Top five impressions 

  1. The coolest thing was meeting all the famous producers and writers.
  2. I was surprised how well the students in the Film Studies program got along.
  3. I wasn’t expecting the volume of films available for viewing (200+).
  4. I was excited that the festival and the film studies program are growing and becoming more popular.
  5. I am intrigued if any student films were selected for the festival.

Top five favorite films: 

  1. Producer’s Panel- The advice each producer gave was really helpful from the business side of filmmaking.
  2. Floyd Norman: An Animated Short- Really well done documentary.
  3. Force Majeure-Had beautiful cinematography and great script.
  4. Tercer Grado-Was a low budget movie but incorporated everything needed in a good action movie.
  5. Writer’s Panel- The writer’s gave great insight about their writing process. 

Top five meet and greets:

  1. Pete Docter- Directed Inside Out and gave great advice in storytelling.
  2. Jeremy Kleiner- Produced The Big Short and had great advice to start a project.
  3. Geoffrey Cowper- Directed Tercer Grado and explained how to work on a low budget.
  4. Roger Durling- The executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
  5. Jeffrey Brown- Director and producer of Vinyl Generation and explained how to get started in the film industry.

Pictured (l-r): Caitlyn Dour, Nick Dilullo and Ella Danna
Pictured: Caitlyn Dour with actor Johannes Kuhnke
Pictured: Dilullo and Danna and other students from the Film Studies Program

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Last modified: Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:04:05 EST

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