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Woody pic goes west

Film fest kicks off with 'Melinda'

Woody Allen’s new film “Melinda and Melinda” will kick off this year’s Santa Barbara Film Festival. The love story, alternately portrayed as comedy and tragedy, stars Radha Mitchell, Will Ferrell, Jonny Lee Miller, Amanda Peet and Chloe Sevigny.

The 20th annual festival will showcase nine world and 11 U.S. preems during its Jan. 28-Feb. 6 run.

Nine-day fest will conclude with helmer Michael Traeger’s “The Moguls,” the story of a small town whose residents make an adult film.

World premiere of Santa Barbara helmer Jeff Arch’s pic “Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys” will be the festival’s Centerpiece Presentation. Pic stars Santa Barbara residents John Cleese, Dan Marino and Barry.

Annette Bening has been added to the list of honorees at the festival. Bening, whose perf in “Being Julia” has earned her a Golden Globe nomination, will receive the Montecito Award.

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David Attenborough will be feted with a tribute presentation and the newly created Attenborough Nature Filmmaker Award for his broadcast career, which includes “Life on Earth” and “The Life of Mammals.”

New to this year’s fest is “Conversations With,” with a lineup of indie stars including Javier Bardem, Paul Giamatti and Laura Dern.

Festival also will host a number of panel discussions, including “Movers and Shakers,” sponsored by Daily Variety; “It Starts With the Script,” moderated by Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences prexy Frank Pierson; and “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz,” hosted by Daily Variety‘s Madelyn Hammond.

“Directors on Directing” will be moderated by “Sunday Morning Shootout” co-host Peter Guber, and film critic Jim Svejda will host “Scoring the Film.”