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You Have Your Hands Full by Mara Peters Former editor for the fashion/lifestyle section of the New York

Post, Mara moved to London and worked as a contributing editor for the Daily Mail’s You Magazine, freelancing for Look Magazine, NY Post and the Style Magazine for The Sunday Times. To remain sane during diaper years she writes a mommy blog, You Have Your Hands Full –

A Film Festival Tribute of a Different Sort


y the time I went to buy tickets online for Saturday’s Daniel DayLewis appearance, the seats were sold out. OK, fine. I moved on to the next choice; I really wanted to hear Ben Affleck talk about Argo. Not available. That’s when I got lured onto the top menu bar enticing me with “packages.” Without much hesitation I hit “buy” for the Tribute Package, a golden pass to almost all events, and now I am in full-on festival mania. I’m going to be everywhere. In the five years I have been in Santa Barbara, I’ve not gone to even one festival   film. The stars would just appear, once a   year, like an astronomical event. Suddenly   the streets would fill with all the fabulous LA people sporting big passes hanging from   commemorative lanyards and even bigger   sunglasses. The annual migration descends   on our sleepy little town with the kind of   intensity usually associated with a visit from   Prince Wills and Kate at the Santa Barbara Polo grounds. Yeah, I admit it; I’ve snickered

at them – those stylists with the trendy platform shoes and hip-colored hair. The phones, with blue tooth devices attached to their brains, the hands waving wildly as they talk and the quick city pace of their steps. They are just so, well, LA.

A Fabulous Town Fit For Film But now I am one of them – for 11 days, anyway. I have hired our babysitter for so many hours I think he’ll be able to fund his backpack trip in Europe this summer after graduation. I have dusted off some of my most trendy, relevant outfits and will be hitting the streets, racing from one artsy film to another. I am telling you now; you wouldn’t recognize me without those kids crawling all over me. It seems odd – now that I am a part of it all – that I have not been more attuned to the festival. The first time I came to visit Santa Barbara was 1997 – and it was for a movie featured in the festival that year: my


That’s my sister, Sara, and father, Pierre, just before Plan B opened at the SBIFF back in 1997.

sister was opening her small Indie-wonder Plan B with Jon Cryer. I came in from NY and drove to Santa Barbara to support her. Our whole family (including a lot of good friends) stayed at the   Upham Hotel and walked down to see her.   My Dad, a major film buff, had a leap in   his step; he was so excited. I remember walking down State Street and taking in   beautiful adobe, marveling at the palm the   If there was ever a place to celebrate trees.   it should be in this glamorous town, film, I  thought.

Remembering My Father

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We hit the Fiesta 5, right on time to watch my beautiful movie star sister make her entrance. She was wearing a Satin jumpsuit and hair done in a 1940s curl. (I was wearing a tweed dress that looked more like a paper bag.) We took a picture in the downstairs lobby – it still sits in my parents’ living room. I loved that moment. She shined so bright it felt like a full moon was out that night. My Dad sat next to me in the audience so proud that he might burst. All those years he took us to the movies – one of his

biggest joys – had come to a climax in this moment; his daughter Sara presenting at a significant film fest. He loved entertainment and Hollywood. He loved it so much he volunteered to be Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s film doctor during his residency. By the time I moved here five years ago, my Dad had gotten sick with Dementia; he has since passed away. A book club I was in a couple years ago once chose the Upham for dinner. I walked into the lobby and all those memories of that night, one of the best for my father, came rushing back at me – hitting me like a freight train. I frantically searched for the bathroom and sat in a cubical, crying my eyes out. But this year, I have decided to return to the Upham in style and with joy. I am taking Jackson, my oldest, to see Jennifer Lawrence (he loved the Hunger Games). I will sit at the same table I shared with my father and family and tell my son about his aunt, her movie and the first night I came to Santa Barbara. I will also remember my father, Jackson’s grandfather, and his love of film. Now that’s what I call a Tribute Package.

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Profile for Montecito Journal

The Money Machine  

Santa Barbara Film Festival 2013

The Money Machine  

Santa Barbara Film Festival 2013