This week, the Santa Cruz Film Festival bursts into town, playing in venues all over the county with an ambitious slate of films, lasting over eight days. But there’s a possibility that, after eight years, this year’s Festival might be the last.
That’s because advance ticket sales are slumping badly, and this Festival doesn’t have the luxury of surfing past a few negative-revenue years. The recession has taken a toll on arts groups everywhere — whether it’s declining audiences, cuts in government or corporate support, or a shortfall in private donations. But in Santa Cruz, we haven’t seen arts groups shut down quite yet (with the exception of the UCSC Arts & Lectures program).
This Festival has been going strong for eight years, and it’s just now starting to find traction on a national level as an intriguing spot on the film-festival circuit. This year’s might be the best yet, with a huge percentage of films that have some kind of Santa Cruz connection. Even those films without an obvious local link — the opening night film “Gospel Hill” by the acclaimed actor/director Giancarlo Esposito — tangles with themes of interest to local audiences.
If you’re not a fan of the Film Festival, for whatever reason, do nothing. If you are, then now’s not the time to take anything for granted. Find a way to get out to a program or two. Spend 10 minutes looking over the program. In this economic environment, no one can expect the treasured events of our cultural calendar to merrily cruise along indefinitely while we depend on the other guy to spend his money. These kinds of events are often like hardy desert plants — they’ll adapt to changing circumstances. But they do need water, even if it’s a little, to stay alive.
Those who want to contribute to the SCFF, in an easy and painless way, do so here.
Ticket information can be found here.