Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG® Australia kicked-off with the U.S. Premiere of "Desert Dancer" and a big 30th Anniversary after-party celebration at Paseo Nuevo; the 12-day festival promises an array of great selection of films from around the world


Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG® Australia, kicked off last night (Tuesday, January 27, 2015) with the Opening Night and U.S. Premiere of Relativity Studios’ DESERT DANCER at the historic Arlington Theatre. Directed by Richard Raymond and starring Freida Pinto, Reece Ritchie, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen and Marmama Corlett, Desert Dancer tells the true story of a self-taught dancer pursuing a dream in a suppressed society.



(Photo: Clockwise from top left - SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, lead stars Reece Ritchie, Freida Pinto, director Richard Raymond, and actor Tom Cullen)

“Raymond has delivered an extremely timely and thought-provoking movie about love, truth and the freedom that comes from following your passions,” stated Roger Durling, SBIFF Executive Director. “What better way to kick off our 30th anniversary!”



Desert Dancer is a powerful and unbelievable true story set in Iran that follows the brave ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin and some friends (including Elaheh played by Freida Pinto) risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Afshin and Elaheh also learn much from each other, most importantly how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another. Richard Raymond directs the film, which was written by Jon Croker, based on the life story of Afshin Ghaffarian. The film, starring Freida Pinto, Reece Ritchie, Tom Cullen, Nazanin Boniadi and Makram J. Khoury, will be released by Relativity Studios in select cities on March 20, 2015 and expanding on March 27, 2015. For more information about the movie, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/desertdancerthemovie.com.



The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG® Australia, will celebrate its 30th Anniversary January 27 – February 7, 2015. Dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema, SBIFF will offer 12 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums that range from American indie films to world cinema and everything in-between. With its commitment to cultural diversity and powerful storytelling, SBIFF transforms beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, CA into a rich destination for film lovers, attracting more than 85,000 attendees. SBIFF brings to the forefront the importance and power of the art of filmmaking and continues its commitment to providing free children’s education and community outreach programs through its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. To purchase or for more information, log onto www.SBIFF.org or call 805-963-0023.





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