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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC teams up with film festival to host oceanside drive-in screenings

Screengrab from the official website for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. This year’s festival will include free drive-in showings from March 31 to April 10.

The drive-in is back.

This year’s 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will feature two oceanfront drive-in theatres at City College which will be holding free screenings from March 31 to April 10, with virtual options for those wishing to view films from home.

There will be over 80 screenings, all offered free of charge with only an RSVP required to attend.

The temporary drive-ins will be built specifically for the festival in partnership with City College, and was thought up by organizers as a COVID-safe alternative to theatres while still offering the nostalgic feeling of watching a film on the big screen.

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“It’s imperative we bring a sense of hopefulness to 2021, but in the safest way possible,” said Roger Durling, the festival’s executive director, in an official release this morning.

Durling also teaches film classes at City College, but took a break this semester to focus on organizing this year’s festival, and offering the same full experience with a few new twists—like online viewings and the oceanside drive-in.

“A virtual component was a given, but experiencing movies in socially-distanced cars and being by the ocean felt oh-so perfectly Santa Barbara,” Durling said.

In addition to the drive-ins, the festival will offer a full-scale, ticketed component, which will include exclusive film screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels and celebrity tributes with stars like Bill Murray, Sacha Baron Cohen and Amanda Seyfried.

This year’s line-up includes over 100 “impressive and diverse” films, many of which will be making their U.S. or world premiere at the festival.

“We have poured all of our creativity into this plan and are very proud of the shape it is taking. SBIFF 2021 will be completely unique and marked by the excellence SBIFF is known for,” Durling said.

The full festival schedule will be released in early March. For additional information or to buy passes, visit

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