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2006 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

This is the 21st year of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It’s a pretty elaborate event with international press and some big names. This year they had George Clooney, Seymour Hoffman, James Cameron, and Naomi Watts all honored. Luckily for the organizers, all the theatres in town are owned by one company so that was easy to coordinate for showings.

What surprises me is how in 21 years of this event occurring do they still have such flaws. For example, ticketing. You can buy tickets at the box office (B.O.) for $10 before a showing. However, due to the popularity of the showings, this would be very risky, not to mention expensive. The alternative is to buy a 4 or 12 show pass. The more you buy, the more you save. Good idea. However, there are only two places to buy the cards. Either the Arlington or the lobar. The former closes at 6 PM and the latter at 7 PM. Most of the movies are being shown at the Metro which is nowhere near the Arlington. Assuming you are a normal American and are busy during the day, say with work, this means you have to rush downtown (with heavy traffic) and get to one of the bowie, find parking, buy the pass(ex), then go find parking again and go see the movie.

Why can’t you buy tickets online? Beats me. I have no idea. I guess the technology isn’t there yet. Oh wait. IT IS. Jesus.

The guy at the lobar BOA said I could buy them right over the phone. Really? Yeah, just need a credit card. Oh sweet. Then what? How do I get my tickets?

“You have to come down to the box office and pick them up.”

WTFO? Why would anyone do this? They certainly are not going to sell out. The SPOOF sells an unlimited amount of tickets. They clearly say the tickets are not refundable. They’d sell 1M tickets for 20,000 seats if they could. You don’t get in to see a movie? Too bad! You snooze, you lose.

Did I mention the lines? The first movie we saw, we were there about 1.5 hours ahead of time. We were probably 5th in line. By the time they let us in, there were people a block away. They had to turn people away. Besides VIP (Celebrities, Platinum Pass holders, and press), we were first ones in line. When we got in, we hardly could find a place to sit. We had to sit in the bottom front section and I had to turn my head and strain my eyes to see. Every movie is a 4-5 hour commitment. And you can’t tell which movies are going to be huge hits with fans or not. Tonight, we started 6, ate dinner, killed some time, got in line. We got out at 11. It was a little overkill since there was nobody even in line til 45 mins before the movie started, but how were we to know?

Anyway, I want to be on the committee next year so I can lay the smack down on these problems.

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