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GOINGS ON / SANTA BARBARA : Screen Scene : The city's eighth annual International Film Festival features a gala, premieres and celebrity guests.


Actors Beau Bridges, John Lithgow and Corbin Bernsen will join actress Shelley Winters and European director Bertrand Tavernier as special guests at the eighth annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The festival will begin Friday night and run through March 14.

Films will be shown at the Arlington Theater, the Santa Barbara Art Museum, the Fiesta Five theater and the Paseo Nuevo multiplex.

As in past years, the long list of movies includes premieres of feature-length films, animated shorts, documentaries and works by local independent filmmakers. Here are some samples:

Friday--All festivals worth their salt have an opening gala. The film festival's version will be held at the Arlington beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will be followed by the world premiere of "Painted Desert," by Japanese director Masato Harada, who is scheduled to attend. The film centers around the unlikely relationships formed by four people who meet at a desert cafe.

Saturday--"The Silent Feminists: America's First Women Directors" will make its world premiere at 2:30 p.m. at the Art Museum. "Strictly Ballroom," winner of the Best Film awards at both the Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne Film Festival, will be shown at the Fiesta Theater at 10 p.m. The Australian feature film goes behind the scenes in the wild world of ballroom dance.

Sunday--"Beatrice Wood: Mama of Dada," a look at the life of the renowned Ojai ceramist, will be shown at the Art Museum at 11 a.m. The documentary, written and directed by Tom Neff, won the Cine Gold Eagle award in 1992. "An Evening with Corbin Bernsen," beginning at 5 p.m. at the Fiesta, will include a showing of his movie "Grey Knight." It's the story of a rebel, a Yankee and a slave who investigate murders committed by Civil War soldiers. This was the feature film debut of director George Hickenlooper, who will be in attendance with Bernsen.

Monday--The "Evening with Bertrand Tavernier" will begin at the Fiesta at 7 p.m. with the West Coast premiere of his film "L627," a humorous look at the French drug world.

Tuesday--Liv Ullmann made a very successful directorial debut with her 1992 film "Sofie," about a young Jewish woman. It will be screened at 5:30 p.m. at the Fiesta theater.

Wednesday--"A Salute to Shelley Winters on the Anniversary of Her 50 Years in the Movies" will feature a showing of the 1962 film "Lolita." Fourteen-year-old Lolita becomes involved with a professor (James Mason). The professor marries the girl's mother (Winters). The presentation will begin at 7:15 p.m. at the Fiesta.

March 11--The Independent Documentary Assn. will present almost four hours of award-winning documentaries, beginning at noon at the Art Museum.

March 12--Six works by Santa Barbara Filmmakers will be featured at the Art Museum beginning at 1:45 p.m. The program honoring Beau Bridges, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Fiesta, will include a showing of "Married to It," a comedy about the lives of three married couples.

March 13--"Ballad of the Yellow River," which came away with a Best Director Award at the 1990 Montreal Film Festival, will be shown at 10 a.m. at the Fiesta. The movie tells the story of a girl sold into slavery. The Australian documentary "Black Harvest," beginning at 11 a.m. at the Art Museum, looks at a culture clash in Papua, New Guinea. The 1992 film won "Best Documentary" from the Los Angeles Society of Film Critics. "An Evening with John Lithgow" will feature a presentation of "The World According to Garp." The "Evening" will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Fiesta.

March 14--The festival will conclude with the movie "Map of the Human Heart," to be shown on two Paseo Nuevo screens beginning at 5:30 p.m. The film centers around the undying love of an Inuit Eskimo.

The Arlington is at 1317 State St., the Fiesta Five is at 916 State St., the Art Museum is at 1130 State St., and the Paseo Nuevo is in the Paseo Nuevo Mall. Admission to individual films (except for the opening and closing presentations) is $7. The opening film is $25 (with the gala) and $10 (the film only), the closing film is $10. Admission is $15 to the Bernsen, Tavernier, Bridges and Lithgow programs, and $20 to the salute to Winters. For information, call 689-INFO.


Sculptures and ceramic work by two former members of the UC Santa Barbara Art Studio faculty will go on display Friday at the University Art Museum. The exhibit, titled "Thomas/Pierson: A Tribute to Two Colleagues," will feature the work of Robert Thomas and Conway (Jiggs) Pierson.

Thomas used a variety of materials for his artwork, including, for one piece, a nine-foot-tall tree trunk. Pierson worked mostly with clay. The two were good friends and shared several art studios.


Santa Barbara City College will open its production of "The Heidi Chronicles" on Friday at the campus' Garvin Theatre. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play covers a 23-year-span in the life of baby boomer Heidi Holland. The play will run through March 20. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays. The theater is on SBCC's West Campus, on the 800 block of Cliff Drive. Tickets range from $12 to $14. Call 965-5935.

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