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‘Sarah’s Key’ to open Santa Barbara fest

Festival announces lineup, which will close with 'Carmen'

The Santa Barbara Film Festival will kick off Jan. 27 at the Arlington Theater with the U.S. premiere of “Sarah’s Key,” directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner and starring Kristin Scott Thomas.

The fest announced its lineup Thursday for the 26th edition of the event, which runs through Feb. 6. The closing night film will feature the premiere of “Carmen in 3D,” directed by Julian Napier and marking the first time ever that an opera has been filmed and shown in digital 3D.

“We’ve taken a cue from Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ — ‘You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger,’ and so we have decisively and dynamically made our 26th festival grander in every way,” said exec director Roger Durling.

The festival will include the 30 world premieres, including Mike Pavone’s “That’s What I Am,” starring Ed Harris, Chase Ellison and Molly Parker and “Downhill: The Bill Johnson Story, along with the U.S. premieres of Patricio Guzman’s “Nostalgia for the Light” and Park Soo-young’s “No Doubt.”

The festival also announced tributes Thursday to John Hawkes, Lesley Manville, Hailee Steinfeld and Jacki Weaver. It’s previously announced tributes to Nolan, Annette Bening, James Franco, Geoffrey Rush and Nicole Kidman.

The event includes eight competition categories — Independent Features, International Features, Documentary Features, Spanish/Latin American Cinema, Eastern Bloc, East X West, and two shorts competitions.

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