AceShowbiz - Santa Barbara International Film Festival bosses are planning to beat the COVID blues by planning a series of free virtual and drive-in events to mark this year's (2021) spectacular.
Festival planners will build two beachside drive-in theatres, where they will screen over 80 movies as part of the 36th annual event, which runs from March 31 to April 10.
Bill Murray, Sacha Baron Cohen, Delroy Lindo and Amanda Seyfried will be among the stars saluted at this year's event, while Riz Ahmed, Maria Bakalova, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Andra Day, Vanessa Kirby and Zendaya Coleman will be among those feted during the festival's Virtuosos evening.
SBIFF programmers have received a record number of film submissions this year, and the festival will feature 100 movies, some of them world premieres. In addition to the drive-ins, SBIFF is offering a ticketed virtual component, featuring online film screenings, Q&As with the filmmakers, industry panels and celebrity tributes.
The film line-up and schedule will be announced in early March.
"We have poured all of our creativity into this plan and are very proud of the shape it is taking," SBIFF's executive director Roger Durling tells Deadline. "It's imperative we bring a sense of hopefulness to 2021, but in the safest way possible. A virtual component was a given but experiencing movies in socially distanced cars and being by the ocean felt oh so perfectly Santa Barbara, California."