The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will open with the worldwide premiere of The Public at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. 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. 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. I can honestly say this is the proudest choice for opening during my tenure at SBIFF. I cherish the friendship with Emilio and admire his accomplishment with the public,” stated Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF.
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 stand-off with local riot police, a no-nonsense crisis negotiator, and a savvy DA with lofty political ambitions.
Amidst 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 versus 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. Roger’s long standing commitment of supporting independent filmmakers makes the Santa Barbara International Film Festival a vital showcase for artists. 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,” says Emilio Estevez.
The 33rd annual festival runs from Wednesday, January 31 through Saturday, February 10, 2018.