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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 10, 2010

Santa Barbara scenic, cinematic

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Mission Santa Barbara is typical of the Spanish tile-and-adobe architecture found in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Advertiser library photo

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Santa Barbara, about an hour's drive north of Los Angeles, is dubbed the American Riviera.

Beautiful beaches, impressive mountains and colorful culture make the city a magnet for visitors. It's also a prize location for movie makers.

If you liked the Spanish tile-and-adobe architectural backdrop of "It's Complicated," the new comedy about love and divorce starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, you might enjoy a visit to Santa Barbara, where parts of the movie were set.

In addition to filming in residential areas of Montecito, about five miles from Santa Barbara, scenes were shot in front of such landmarks as the county courthouse in downtown and historic El Paseo's first shopping center, which dates to the 1920s.

Santa Barbara is celebrating a century of filmmaking this year.

An early silent movie studio called the Flying A opened there in 1910, and many movies have shot scenes in the area, from Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" (1923) to "Sunset Boulevard" (1950) and "Sideways" (2004).

In addition, the city hosts the 25th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Feb. 4 to 14, when Oscar contenders and other industry folk will gather for 10 days of screenings, tributes, panel discussions and parties.

A special historic series featuring three shorts filmed in 1910 will be screened in honor of the city's 100 years of movie-making. Tickets and passes are available at http://sbiff.org/main/.

If you go: Santa Barbara's Conference and Visitors Bureau has set up a Web site for fans of "It's Complicated," at http://santabarbaraca.com/filmtour/its-complicated.

For local movie sites and history, check out http://SantaBarbaraCA.com/filmtour.

Also, you're just a popped cork away from the Santa Barbara wine country and the Santa Ynez Valley, home to such attractions as the Danish-style village Solvang (solvangusa.com) and the Chumash Reservation (santaynezchumash.org).