Santa Barbara Film Festival Launches Capital Campaign

Roger Durling

Under the guidance of executive director Roger Durling, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become a must-stop on the awards circuit.

With a goal of $5 million, funds will be used to renovate the Riviera Theater and expand educational programs.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has launched a new capital campaign, which will allow the festival to expand its educational programs and restore the historic Riviera Theater. To date, SBIFF has raised $2.7 million and is anticipating raising funds totaling $5 million by March 2017.

The campaign, approved by SBIFF’s board of directors and officially announced today, will fund renovations of the Riviera, set to begin in January, with a re-opening targeted for March 2017. Among the renovations is the construction of a balcony lounge, to be used to host receptions, filmmakers and before-and-after gatherings for filmgoers, which will open later in 2018. The theater will be renamed the Lynda & Bruce Riviera Theater after SBIFF board president Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, two of the main donors behind the campaign.

“Our capital campaign and expansions to the Riviera Theatre mark an important new chapter in our festival’s history," said SBIFF executive director Roger Durling. “These renovations and improvements will allow us to serve Santa Barbara in new and exciting ways, and will bring us closer together as a community.”

SBIFF’s ongoing programs include Cinema Society (an exclusive membership program), the Rosebud Program for Film Students (a program for local college students), and the Wave Film Festival (a mini-film festival that will be increased to three times per year).

The new theater will allow service to more underserved youth and families through programs such as AppleBox Family Films and Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, the festival said.

Other planned renovations include a smart classroom behind the main stage, improved sound and projecting systems, a loop system for the hearing impaired and improved heating and air conditioning.

The 32nd edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will run from Feb. 1-11.