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Emilio Estevez’s ‘The Public’ to Kick Off Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will open with the worldwide premiere of the public at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The public, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, stars Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Taylor Schilling, Che "Rhymefest" Smith, Gabrielle Union, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams and Jeffrey Wright.

“I've long admired Emilio Estevez as an artist — actor — director," said Roger Durling, executive director of SBIFF. "With the public, I feel he has done his most personal and fully realized work.

"The public speaks wonderfully about our current divided country — but it also does not preach — it keeps us cinematically immersed," he said.

"I can honestly say this is the proudest choice for opening during my tenure at SBIFF," Durling said. "I cherish the friendship with Emilio and admire his accomplishment with the public.”

The public follows a group of homeless library patrons, who, after learning that emergency shelters are at capacity during a brutal Midwestern cold front, refuse to leave Cincinnati's downtown public library at closing time.

In what begins as a nonviolent Occupy sit-in and ragtag act of civil disobedience quickly escalates into a standoff with local riot police, a no-nonsense crisis negotiator, and a savvy DA with lofty political ambitions.

Amid dropping temperatures and flaring tempers on both sides of the lockdown, uncertainty looms around how the situation can be resolved without resorting to violence, while law-enforcement officials and local media spin the facts to serve their own political agendas.

This David-vs.-Goliath story puts the spotlight on some of our nation's most challenging issues: homelessness, mental illness and drug addiction, and sets the drama inside one of our last bastions of democracy-in-action: your public library.

"I'm absolutely delighted, thrilled and humbled to be chosen by Roger Durling for the great honor of kicking off SBIFF 2018 with the public," said Estevez.

"Roger's longstanding commitment of supporting independent filmmakers makes the Santa Barbara International Film Festival a vital showcase for artists," Estevez said.

"Once again, the festival will screen a wide and wonderful variety of distinguished films and our picture has indeed, found itself in some lovely company," Estevez said.

The 33rd annual festival runs Wednesday, Jan. 31, through Saturday, Feb. 10. For more information, and to buy tickets, festival passes and packages, visit www.sbiff.org.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 30 years, SBIFF has become a leading film festival in the U.S., attracting 90,000 attendees.

— Jackson Gibbon for Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

 
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