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(VIDEO) RomancingTheTable.com’s Cynthia Daddona interviews at the Daniel Day Lewis Tribute at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival


Cynthia Daddona explores the Santa Barbara Film Festival with the Daniel Day Lewis Tribute, The Fund for Santa Barbara reception and inspiring indie films.

As always the Santa Barbara International Film Festival turned out to be an art and entertainment extravaganza. SBIFF Director Roger Durling and his team continue to attract major talent that include Academy Award® winners/nominees, talented independent filmmakers from around the globe that result in happy film goers, of which I am one. Seeing inspiring and uplifting films, documentaries and tributes are some of my favorite things to do for date nights. So being able to go to a film festival is a heavenly buffet! And for it to be in the town of Santa Barbara where I live is another blessings. While we weren’t able to attend all 11 days of the festival, we did get to attend the Daniel Day Lewis Tribute, The Fund for Santa Barbara reception and few inspiring indie films noted below.

RomancingTheTable.com’s Cynthia Daddona at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Daniel Day-Lewis Tribute. The star-studded event was to Award Mr. Lewis a lifetime achievement award called the Montecito Award.

RomancingTheTable.com’s Cynthia Daddona at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Daniel Day-Lewis Tribute. The star-studded event was to Award Mr. Lewis a lifetime achievement award called the Montecito Award.

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Day Lewis, Daniel Day Louis, Lincoln

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln“) on the red carpet at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Cynthia Daddona, Sally Field, Sally Fields, Lincoln, Mary Todd, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mary Todd-Lincoln, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Daniel Day-Lewis, tribute, celebrity

Cynthia Daddona interviews Oscar® wining actress Sally Field about her role in the movie “Lincoln” as the 16th President’s wife Mary Todd-Lincoln.

Daniel Day Lewis Tribute
During Daniel Day Lewis’ tribute, he spoke openly and candidly about his life and work to an audience of 2000 members at the beautiful Arlington theater in Santa Barbara. As a rambunctious youth, Daniel found his calling for acting after being cast in a school play at a progressive boarding school outside of England, a school that focused on creativity. That was the start of his passion for acting which eventually led to his showing the world his talent in My Beautiful Launderette, A Room with A View, Unbearable Lightness of Being, My Left Food (His 1st Oscar®), The Last of the Mohicans, The Age of Innocence, The Name of the Father (Oscar #2), The Boxer, Gangs of New York, Nine, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (where he met his playwright wife, Arthur’s daughter – Rebecca Miller) and finally his brilliant portrayal in Lincoln. To me, Lincoln, the man, and Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln are very inspiring. Both have the courage, persistence, and centered-ness to do what needs to be done. Steven Spielberg’s film, Lincoln, tells the story of the incredible challenges the 16th President overcame to win the Civil War and achieve the passage of the 13th Amendment into the United States Constitution, which prohibited slave ownership.

Montage of Abraham Lincoln: The Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Daniel Day-Lewis as "Lincoln" and the President

Montage of Abraham Lincoln: The Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis, left), Daniel Day-Lewis as “Lincoln” (center) and the President.

Daniel also talked about discovering his own rhythm of the need to rejuvenate in between working on films, which he intensely prepares for. Once he agreed to work on the film with Spielberg, he asked for a year to research Lincoln and prepare for the role – which certainly shows in the film. Daniel said he has found that taking time off, sometimes for a year or two, to be with his family and/or to pursue other creative endeavors suits him quite well. He said he doesn’t select a film unless it speaks to his creative soul, which he said for creative people is the key to being happy with one’s life and doing great work. I wanted to say bravo to Daniel, since I feel the same way about the need for an artist incorporating inner rest, relaxation and creative expression time into ones life. At the tribute, Sally Field presented the Montecito Award to Daniel Day-Lewis. In the film, she also gave an amazing performance of a historical figure – Mary Todd-Lincoln, the President’s strong and vulnerable wife. Also presenting at the Tribute was Director, Screenwriter and Producer Michael Mann.

The Daniel Day-Lewis Tribute in the Arlington Theater at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Montecito Award).  Daniel Day-Lewis is seen being interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter Scott Feinberg.

The Daniel Day-Lewis Tribute in the Arlington Theater at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Montecito Award). Daniel Day-Lewis is seen being interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg.

RomancingTheTable.com's Cynthia Daddona interviews FOX Filmed Entertainment (motion pictures) Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.

RomancingTheTable.com’s Cynthia Daddona interviews FOX Filmed Entertainment (motion pictures) Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.

On the red carpet we also spoke to Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. When I asked Jim what trait inspired him about Lincoln, he said it was Lincoln’s calm through all of his personal issues, including the issues of his wife Mary. Along with Lincoln’s calm I have always been inspired by Lincoln’s persistence in life. His chronology is often used in Motivational talks for how he continued no matter what occurred. Here is message about perseverance that was incorporated into a motivational poster. Message: “He failed in business in 1831. He was defeated for state legislator in 1832. He tried another business in 1833. It failed. His fiancée (Ann Rutledge) died in 1835. He had a nervous breakdown in 1836. In 1843 he ran for Congress and was defeated. He tried again in 1848 and was defeated again. He tried running for the US Senate in 1855 and lost. The next year he lost the nomination for Vice President. In 1859 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated again. Finally, in 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln, was elected the 16th President of the United States. The difference between history’s boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often, simply, the diligent will to persevere. Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Success can be defined as moving from failure to failure with enthusiasm,” could have well been inspired by the venerable Mr. Lincoln.” What a message for all of us to remember when faced with life challenges. And if you haven’t seen the movie Lincoln I highly recommend it.

The Fund for Santa Barbara reception

During the film festival, we also attended The Fund for Santa Barbara reception, at the Arts and Letters Café, which provided a chance to mingle with the judges, staff and independent filmmakers who have created films that are a catalyst for social change.

Adam Paul Smith, independent producer of "Angels in Exile" and Social Justice Award nominee at the fundraiser for The Fund for Santa Barbara.

Adam Paul Smith, independent producer of “Angels in Exile” and Social Justice Award nominee at the fundraiser for The Fund for Santa Barbara at the Arts & Letters Cafe.

We met one of the passionate producers of Angels in Exile (South African/USA) film Adam Paul Smith. Angels in Exile is about an 8-year journey that challenges viewers to look past the homeless youth in Darbun (Africa) ad see them for what they are…children. It is directed by Billy Raftery and narrated by actress Charlize Theron. To see other Social Justice Award nominees go to here.. This years Winner of the 2013 Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award for Documentary Film 2,500 cash award was Revolution: Save the Humans a stirring new documentary by Canadian Filmmaker Rob Stewart which examines the mortal dangers facing marine life around the globe. A documentary that was a four-year journey across 20 countries. For a complete list of the

Cynthia Daddona in the Moroccan themed VIP/Press tent at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Cynthia Daddona in the Moroccan themed VIP/Press tent at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

In the VIP lounge that was decorated in gorgeous Moroccan/Mediterranean style (sponsored by UGG) we also met producer Julie Snyder and Writer/Director Brad Hall of Picture Paris, which screened last year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The film short is about an ordinary suburban mom who dreams of a life changing trip to France with her husband, only to discover that Paris isn’t exactly what she pictured. Brad (of SNL fame) told me he wrote Picture Paris after his son went off to college and he and his wife Julia (Seinfeld, SNL, Veep) were devastated by empty nest syndrome. Picture Paris is also a festival success story since it was picked up by HBO and is also on HBOgo.

Some of the Inspiring Indie Films at this Years 2013 SBIFF Festival
While there were 11 days of films and events to see, we did get a chance to see a few and learn about others that are tie-in with the romance/food/wisdom/film theme of RomancingTheTable.com.

I enjoyed the documentary Peru Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change, which was part of the film festival’s “Screen Cuisine” programming. (Local restaurant also joined in with the festival creating film feasting menus with a film theme called Film Feast Santa Barbara Sbfilmfeast.com.) The film Peru Sabe, told the story of how a new cooking school in an impoverished area of Peru was giving a future of hope to youths via several year training in the culinary arts. I’ve always felt that certain culinary/cooking experiences as well as quality times at the table have the potential change lives, so I was glad to see this documentary. The Santa Barbara Film Festival Audience Award winner went to Spinning Plates that was part of the screen cuisine. It is about three restaurants; extraordinary for what they are today as well as for the challenges they have overcome.

I also saw Retreat, which was a documentary that followed the trials and tribulations of 35 Westerners as they meditated their way through an intense eight-week retreat in Thailand, all the while led by Santa Barbara’s own Alan Wallace of the Santa Barbara Institute for Conscious Studies. A practitioner of daily meditation myself for the past 15 years, I marveled at those who were devoting eight or more hours a day to their meditation life. It inspired me to add at least an extra 10 more minutes to my already 15 minute daily meditations!

The best International Film Festival award went to the Austrian film, called Coming of Age which is a drama about two people at age 80, who prove beyond all doubt that nobody is too old for young love.

Official poster for the 28th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Official poster for the 28th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

This weekend, you can see Coming of Age, Spinning Plates, Revolution and many others for Free since SBIFF will continue its tradition of presenting Festival highlights and the award winning films for at 3rd Weekend as a thank you to the Santa Barbara community for all of its support over the last 11 days. Check the schedule to see what and where. Feb 8th, 9th, 10th.

Many thanks to Roger Durling who has the knack for selecting and attracting new and established major acting talent, even before many are ever nominated for an Oscar. I also applaud the diligence of Roger’s team, Carol Marshall’s PR staff and the 600 festival volunteers who truly make it all possible.

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