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Fresh Takes

Cinema festival will offer insight into film production.


This is a good weekend for families to head north because the 2nd Annual Santa Barbara Kids' Film Festival will offer dozens of screenings, seminars and workshops.

Billed as "A Festival for the Children, by the Children," it will showcase films and videos made by children as well as films by adults who think like kids, including Monty Python veterans Eric Idle, Michael Palin and John Cleese. Their latest movie, "The Wind in the Willows," opens the event Friday night at the Lobero Theatre.

Festival organizers have enlisted middle and high school students to help run the event. They will collect tickets and make on-stage announcements.

The movies the students will introduce this weekend include "Julio and His Angel, from Mexico; "O'bejani," South Africa, and "Imuhar: A Legend," Nigeria. Sunday, a Japanese film "The Adventures of Pipi," will be followed by "Nico and the Unicorn" and "Splitsville," both from the U.S., and "Dancing on the Moon," Canada. Screenings will be at the Fiesta Five Theatre and FeBland Forum at Santa Barbara City College.

Also on Saturday, a seminar entitled "Behind the Magic Curtain," describing the making of animated movies, takes place at 11 a.m., and "Kids on Acting," with young actors talking about their work in movies and TV, at 1:30 p.m. Both will be at Victoria Hall.

Sunday at Santa Barbara City College, seven films by aspiring film-video makers, including works by students at Montecito's Crane School, will be screened at 11 a.m., followed by a discussion moderated by Santa Barbara High students. Admission to this event, recommended for kids 12 and over, is free.

A filmmaking workshop is a new feature this year's at the Kids' Film Festival.

Characterized by Paula Ackerman, co-chair of the organizing committee, as a "mini American Film Institute," it will provide two days of mentoring sessions by professionals for a group of 20 Santa Barbara and Ventura County middle and high school students who competed for the opportunity.

Participants will develop and produce their own films over the next 12 months, with mentors providing advice and support. The films will be screened at the 1999 festival. Youngsters interested in entering the competition for next year's seminar should write to the festival office, 1216 State St., Suite 710, Santa Barbara 93101.

The festival will also have several free seminars and screenings devoted to undersea and other wildlife filmmaking. They'll take place at City College.

Saturday at 11 a.m. there will be a selection of the best films from the Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Wildlife Film Festival. At 2:30 p.m. Santa Barbara's distinguished colony of underwater filmmakers will be featured, along with live demonstrations of how they work--to be demonstrated in a huge, glass tank being installed on campus.

Kids will also be allowed to reach into this "touch tank" and pick up such live sea creatures as starfish, sea urchins and sea snails.

A panel of natural history filmmakers will present a seminar Sunday from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Entitled "How to Make Nature Films," it's recommended for kids 8 and up who want to learn about camera work, editing and sound work.

Also Sunday, at the Fiesta Theatre, movie-animal trainer Bob Dunn and "Casey,"a chimpanzee, will conduct a seminar titled "Animal Training." Admission is $5.


"Santa Barbara Kids' Film Festival," Friday through Sunday. "The Wind in the Willows" at Lobero Theater, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. (805) 963-0761; Saturday and Sunday, various film programs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fiesta Five Theatre, 916 State St., and Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Drive. $3 kids, 12 and under, adults $5 at the door. Also seminars on animation and acting at Victoria Hall, 33 W. Victoria St., $5. Nature and underwater filmmaking seminars, Santa Barbara City College, Friday and Saturday. For information, call (805) 963-0023.

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