Top number is '23' at '07 SBIFF


The 2007 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Wednesday un-veiled the slate for its 22nd in-stallment, including the world premiere of Joel Schumacher's "The Number 23."

The festival, set for Jan. 25-Feb. 4, will feature 22 world premieres, 18 U.S. premieres and introduce films from 40 countries.

"This is the most ambitious and most diverse lineup of events and films the festival has ever had," SBIFF director Roger Durling said. "There's a film to satisfy any film lover's taste in here."

SBIFF also will highlight the career achievements of "Dreamgirls" helmer Bill Condon, who will be honored with the Montecito Award. Helen Mirren will be feted with the outstanding performance of the year award for her performance in "The Queen."

Will Smith will receive the modern master award for his role in "The Pursuit of Happyness." Forest Whitaker will be honored with the American Riviera award for his performance in "The Last King of Scotland." And the Sir David Attenborough award for excellence in nature filmmaking will be presented to Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim for their documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

The festival opens with the opening-night screening of "Factory Girl," starring Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen and directed by George Hickenlooper. The centerpiece film is Michael Apted's "Amazing Grace," starring Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney and Rufus Sewell. And the festival closes with a screening of "Gray Matters," featuring the directorial debut of Sue Kramer and starring Heather Graham, Thomas Cavanagh, Bridget Moynahan, Molly Shannon and Sissy Spacek.

In an SBIFF first, director and DGA president Apted will serve as guest director.