The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday approved a small funding increase for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and for the Visitor Information Center operated by the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce.
City officials authorized some of its annual arts and community promotional contracts at its regular meeting, giving both the Visitor Information Center and SBIFF a 3 percent boost.
The SBIFF will receive $78,300 to support film festival programming and year-round administrative expenses for the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, while the chamber will receive $57,700 for administrative expenses at the Visitor Information Center on Cabrillo Boulevard and Garden Street, including salary, benefits and supplies.
The festival featuring independent and international cinema attracts more than 90,000 visitors to Santa Barbara, which is essentially what city funds help guarantee through advertising.
“We do a lot of programs that are free for the community, but the funding that we’re getting is put toward marketing on a national level,” SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling told Noozhawk. “We use it to bring in out-of-towners, which is our mission. We’re grateful for any increase.”
The 31st annual festival will kick off Feb. 3 in 2016 and run through Feb. 13, bringing in thousands of dollars over the 11 days of 200-plus films, tributes and symposiums.
Durling said locals made up about 55 percent of festival-goers this year.
Those traveling to Santa Barbara help boost the local economy via ticket sales, sponsorships, services, employee salaries and more.
New educational programming is in the works for 2016’s film festival, although Durling didn’t want to divulge details yet.
Every year the city provides more than $2.6 million for events, festivals, arts and community promotion organizations.