2016 Dingle Sister City Visit Santa Barbara Film Festival

This Sister City visit was a roller coaster of celebrations, celebrities, red carpets & green rooms, so many memories. Jeff Bridges, Johnny Depp, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams & Saoirse Ronan to name just a few.  I’ve decided to write the blog in installments.

A little recap : The Private meeting with Mayor Helene Schneider at City Hall is in a previous blog. The delegates from Dingle International Film Festival attended a private meeting with the Santa Barbara Mayor, Helene Schneider at her office.We presented the mayor with gifts.  The delegates received goody bags from the Mayor.

Official business all done – time for a stroll through the tiled streets of beautiful Santa Barbara.


Have goody bags will travel.  Let’s check out the Santa Barbara wines 🍷🍷🍷Sunshine, Santa Barbara, Sister City Celebrations 🎉 🎉🎉

D58C76C8-00E3-4851-A110-CFD7F0A55F6BSunshine, stone slated streets, shadows, overhanging orange trees – irresistible to  photographer Catherine.

B8118071-7164-4CBD-A62B-6957D4B2B215Photo Credit : Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trails

5322D5D5-27A4-4798-AD82-17BEC722FE0BPhoto credit: Santa Barbara Venues

We experienced Santa Barbara as tourists, not delegates on a mission. Fun filled memories in the sun ☀️ chatting, lounging, appreciating the Ambience that is Santa Barbara.

We walked & talked and ended up in La Arcada. In true Santa Barbara style, with entrances on State Street and Figueroa, this is a quaint and charming substitute for the larger shopping malls. Tile-lined walkways, fountains, cafes and beautiful sculptures.

C4D284DD-2257-48A8-93AE-9810FAF9B04CTip: La Arcada is a must for Dingle visitors  – enjoy the Replica Fungie Sculpture by James “Bud” Bottoms .

We had an early dinner at Willie & Trini’s restaurant La Arcada, Bistro, 1112 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101


La Arcada Bistro is a local family owned restaurant. The owners Willie, from Ireland, and Trini Quinn, from Mexico bring together beautifully their two backgrounds and Californian cuisine, creating a unique dinning experience.  Every weekend you can find Willie and his daughters, Aoife and Brigid Quinn, playing Irish music in their band, The Foggy Dew.

We collected our V.I.P. Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), passes earlier in the day.  Compliments of SBIFF. Free Access to all screenings (after parties etc.) via The V.I.P. Red Carpet Gate – A girl could get very used to this.🎬🎬🎬

The 2016 SBIFF started on Wednesday, February 3rd, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the U.S. Premiere of THE LITTLE PRINCE.
The animated family film was directed by Mark Osborne, featuring the voices of Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais, James Franco, Mackenzie Foy.

I’m excited to see the film. I loved the book & I’m a big fan of Jeff Bridges, “The Dude”


Our first experience. We try to go the Arlington Theatre. The streets are all blocked off.  There are thousands of people trying to get in. We go outside the barricaded crowds. I spot a desk with the magical initials “V. I.P.” Yay 😁

Passes presented. Success we are escorted to the Red Carpet. Feeling important  😉

FAFBAB88-AFE7-417B-8333-71CCFEEE604A Foyer of The Arlington Theatre. Photo Credit : Pinterest

I’m Gobsmacked 😶People are staring at us. There are two red carpets. One for those receiving awards and their guests. The other for V. I. P guests. I kid you not.              The Press, photographers, TV cameramen etc. are positioned in between the two red carpets. The stars are arriving ✨✨🌟🌟🌟 on the other red carpet. Cameras flashing, TV reporters, chaos. We keep walking🚶‍♀️🚶‍♀️ We eventually make our way inside the crowded theatre. Breathtaking – the ceiling is like a night sky. The theatre is built to give the audience the impression that they are sitting outside in the plaza of a colonial Spanish town. There are houses, stairs, and balconies, built out from the walls. I’ve never see a theatre like it.


We take our seats ( great spot). The live screen is showing the stars arriving ✨✨✨ We were filmed too – we didn’t see it but a friend of Patrick (Pat), my brother told us afterwards that she saw him. She was as excited as we were.

Our friend &  Mayor of Santa Barbara Helene Schneider opened the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

She welcomed everyone (over 2,000 people) to the screening. She welcomed the Dingle Santa Barbara Sister City Delegation. The Mayor referred to the DIFF Irish Animation Presentations and invited SB festivals goers to attend the screenings.                                                                                                   It was an honour for us and a proud moment for The Dingle Peninsula. The fun was just beginning.

F6A5B6E0-A60D-40B8-8B31-50403BA25319 The Mayor of Santa Barbara Helene Schneider. Photo Credit : You Tube

In a separate TV interview The Mayor said “I’m really excited this year. There is a contingent here from our Sister City Dingle, Ireland & they are showing Irish Animation Films during the festival. This is the first time a Sister City had a formal connection with the festival”

9DDD9F42-1F14-402A-B05E-3E1EE262A11FSBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.  Photo Credit : The Boston Globe .

SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Next thing SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling welcomed the crowd & turned up the lights. (We hadn’t a clue why all the lights were switched on – An evacuation? an earthquake?  ( we’re in California)
He proceeded to invite us, the audience us to get to know our neighbours (He does this every year )
It was terrific everyone was shaking hands and chatting.
“You are from Ireland! Are you with the Delegation?” I proudly produce my V.I.P. pass clearly stating Dingle Santa Barbara Sister City Delegation. Fame at last✨✨✨

Brian had a private meeting with Roger Durling, director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2015.
The interview went well and the end result brought DIFF to Santa Barbara. Roger asked Brian if he’d meet for a drink later.
He joined us in “The James Joyce“ pub that evening.
We had a lovely relaxing conversation. He loves Ireland and visits very often. He asked about our children and our business http://www.briandeststaic.com
I never realised at the time that he was a Super Star⭐️
Roger Durling IS the Santa Barbara Film Festival

CE5E4730-20CB-431A-8EE1-90EE99A1F75CPhoto Credit : KCLU “The dude” Jeff Bridges signing autographs before the screening.



Jeff Bridges with his wife Susan Geston.     Photo Credit: The Daily News

Executive Director Roger Durling with Jeff Bridges & Film Director Mark Osborne “The Little Prince”  Photo Credit FILMbutton

Roger introduced the evening’s film, “The Little Prince” and welcomed director Mark Osborne and stars Mackenzie Foy and S.B. native dude Jeff Bridges to the stage. Jeff Bridges was instrumental in getting this film made.
“The Dude” as he is affectionately called, was presented with the Riviera Award.




Jeff Bridges on stage with Mackenzie Foy, wooing the audience. What an experience.

Bridges received the best actor Academy Award for “Crazy Heart” in 2009 and was nominated for “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974), “Starman” (1984), “The Contender” (2000), and “True Grit” (2010).
Other credits include “The Big Lebowski,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,”



Following the screening, we made our way to the opening night Gala at Paseo Nuevo.   Paseo Nuevo is Santa Barbara’s main shopping mall in the heart of downtown. The beautiful Spanish Paseo Nuevo transforms into a film-themed gala filled with food and drinks, dancing, and live entertainment.  It reminded me of the Dingle Food Festival. Restauranteurs, chefs, wine makers, delis, bakeries, fish merchants etc. all have their own stalls. We sampled lots of different food & beverages. The crowd was hopping to the music. The atmosphere was electric.


Some of the excited, exhausted Dingle Delegation Mike Dowling, Máiréad, Megan, Seán & Brian de Staic. A great day, a magical opening night & gala.

Dingle Santa Barbara Sister City & DIFF on American Chat Show 

Willie Quinn, Santa Barbara Sister City Artistic Director of DIFF Maurice Galway

The following morning Thursday 4th February our celebrity status was confirmed ✨✨🌟🌟🌟⭐️⭐️
We were invited on a TV show called “Worthen One on One”                                    Brian, myself, Maurice & Willie had an early start, but we were happy to promote The Dingle Peninsula, DIFF Animation Screenings, The Santa Barbara Dingle Sister City & Brian de Staic Jewellery.




I had a very bad cough that morning. Once I started coughing I couldn’t stop.              It was a live recording, no retakes. For the first time in my life I couldn’t talk.               A new experience. Brian did the business for us both. Halfway through the interview I recovered enough to join in and not look like a complete fool, haha 😂

We arrived back at La Arcada Bistro just in time for lunch. Mike Galway was chatting with a very nice lady.


“You’ll never guess who this is?” asks Mike.  Do you remember “The Late Late Show” and Gay Bryne’s catch phrase, “Roll it there Collette”

“Well, this is Collette of the “Roll it there Collette fame”  She was a lovely person and very interesting. We had a lovely afternoon relaxing 😌

That’s it for this blog. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Please like & leave a comment in the reply box below, thank you.

Next Instalment “Johnny Depp”  – Dingle Animation – Coming shortly .

Catch the first instalment: https://bdestaic.com/2018/03/03/%e2%80%aasanta-barbara-california-sister-city-dingle-ireland-%e2%80%acpart-one/

Santa Barbara Wine tasting & The City Council.

P.S. Check out the size of the turquoise van at the rear of the photo above. Only in California 😘

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I promise to do my best in bringing you content that will interest, inform, educate and motivate.

Slán go fóill – Bye for now,
Blogger to be,

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