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‘Dust’ dawns as fest’s first

Santa Barbara film festival to end with 'Thank You'

The Santa Barbara Film Festival announced picks for its opening and closing night films Wednesday. Fest will preem “Ask the Dust” as the opening night film and “Thank You for Smoking” to close the event.

“Ask the Dust,” which features Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell, is helmer Robert Towne’s adaptation of John Fante’s Depression-era novel. Pic follows the story of a Mexican (Hayek) who aspires to rise above her lower-class status by marrying a wealthy American, and a first-generation Italian (Farrell) hoping to land a writing career and an all-American blue-eyed blonde.

Santa Barbara’s own Jason Reitman helmed “Thank You for Smoking,” the story of Big Tobacco’s chief spokesman (Aaron Eckhart), who is torn between spinning on behalf of cigarettes and remaining a role model for his 12-year-old son.

Opening and closing night screenings will be held in Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theater. Fest runs Feb. 2-12, showcasing 20 world premieres and 11 U.S. premieres in its newly expanded 11 days.

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