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Star-Studded Santa Barbara Film Festival Celebrates its 29th Year

Last week, T+L was in Santa Barbara for the 29th-annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, an 11-day celebration with panel discussions, nearly 200 film screenings, and tribute events that honor Academy-Award frontrunners and mega-watt celebrities, including Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

We hit the red carpet before the Virtuosos Awards, asking breakout stars for their bucket list travel picks. The answers? June Squibb (in Nebraska) plans for a Hawaii respite and a Japanese animation-inspired trip to Japan for Michael B. Jordan, star of Fruitvale Station. (Watch the video above for more.)

Thanks in part to the sun-soaked destination’s accessibility from Los Angeles, the glamorous event just weeks before the Oscars attracts top-notch filmmakers, influential movie executives, and culture buffs who make time for a few flicks in between shopping trips on State Street and glasses of Pinot Noir at some of Central California’s prettiest hotels.

Out of the packed schedule, 24 films made their worldwide debut; two of them were transporting documentaries—Gurukulam (above), filmed at remote forest ashram in Tamil Nadu, India and A Year In Champagne (below), the second wine-focused portrait from director David Kennard (last year’s movie pointed the spotlight on Bordeaux).

Robert Durling, the festival’s executive director, is keeping mum about acquisitions, but the trailers give armchair travelers a quick taste of what may be coming to theaters near you.

For more T+L video-exclusives, subscribe to T+L on YouTube.

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Sarah Spagnolo is special correspondent & new media editor at Travel + Leisure.

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