Turning up the WATTage

Scott Richardson

The woman who spent this summer in the hands of an ape will party on campus Saturday.
Naomi Watts will receive the Montecito Award at the Marjorie Luke Theatre Saturday and celebrate afterwards at a gala in the Campus Center, as part of the 11-day 21st Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Randall Leong, a film student at City College, has been a fan of Watts since he first saw “Mulholland Drive.”
“She’s a great actress,” Leong said. “I really like her work.” He added he thought “King Kong” was another hit for Watts concluding, “She is the movie.”
Mulholland Drive was released in 2001. Many, like Leong, consider it to be a breakout role for Watts. Since then she has starred in films like “The Ring,” “21 Grams,” and is scheduled to come out with a romance called “The Painted Veil,” co-starring Edward Norton, later this year.
Mike Stinson, professor in the film department at City College, said the college’s involvement in the festival has grown thanks to the efforts of the festival’s director Roger Durling.
The festival has taken an exponential leap forward in the caliber of talent it attracts and scale of events, Stinson said. He added he thinks Durling has single-handedly taken the festival to the next level. City College’s involvement has also grown, and Stinson hopes it will continue to grow in the future.
He said the college and the festival have a symbiotic relationship where everybody wins. It also is a way to give the people at the festival an introduction to the college.
Stinson said Durling was key to getting City College more involved. Durling will begin teaching American Film at City College this summer and in the fall.
Leong is one of several local students entered in the 10-10-10 competition. Contestants get 10 days to make a 10-minute film with a 10-member crew.
The competition allows local students, high school and college, an opportunity to write screenplays, direct them, then have them judged by film industry professionals working in the field today. Leong is excited about the opportunity.
Leong said he is doing this for the experience of working under pressure and having an audience besides his family view his work.
The winning film will be shown during the awards ceremony on the closing night of the festival. All the films, however, will be shown during Third Weekend at the end of February.
Of course, the prize is nice too Leong added, which is valued at $3,000 dollars. He said his biggest concerns with the competition include getting the film finished in time and finding actors.
Last Saturday, he was excited to get the chance to get advice from several industry icons, like Academy Award winning editor Richard Harris.
For festival and ticket information visit www.sbfilmfestival.org or call 963-0761.