‘Lessons’ to open Santa Barbara fest

Maggie Grace stars in locally shot indie

Indie “Flying Lessons” will open the 25th Santa Barbara Film Festival, which runs Feb. 4-14.

Maggie Grace stars as a woman who’s forced to return home to face old demons and her estranged mother (Christine Lahti). Cast also includes Hal Holbrook, Cary Elwes and Jonathan Tucker.

Pic is the helming debut of thesp Derek Magyar, who noted, “The fact that we shot the entire movie in the Santa Ynez Valley makes it feel like we’ve come full circle.”

Fest exec director Roger Durling said the film was brought to his attention by pic’s editor, Richard Harris.

Event usually opens with a studio film, but Durling, a seven-year Santa Barbara fest vet, felt it was important to highlight a local indie. “This is the first time a homegrown film will open the festival,” he said.

Thomas Kuehl (“Glee”) scripted and co-produced. Magyar produced with Jenny Hinkey.

Chris Carter and Mark Johnson exec produced.

The full program will be announced Jan. 19.

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