Santa Barbara sits at the heart of the area of California - just to the north of the Los Angeles metro - that is often referred to as the American Riviera.
This historic city has near-perfect weather year round and boasts an atmosphere that is at once laid back and sophisticated.
Even during the winter, vacationers from Los Angeles and from around the country come to stroll Santa Barbara's famous red brick streets, shop in independent boutiques, and gaze at the classic Spanish colonial architecture.
Aside from being California's best weekend getaway destination, Santa Barbara is also a hub of art and culture.
The city's great atmosphere and cultural savvy come together during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
First held in 1986, this year's fest runs from January 30th through February 9th.
Like the city itself, the film festival manages to be both buzz-worthy and accessible.
Basic passes to the screenings are well within everyone's budget, but there are plenty of VIP events for attendees who want to enjoy the glamorous side of the film industry during the festival.
Despite not having the notoriety of Sundance or the Toronto Film Festival, Santa Barbara certainly draws its share of celebrities.
This year's honorees include one of independent cinema's biggest names: acclaimed actor, doctor and Sundance founder Robert Redford.
Other celebrities receiving awards during the festival are Oprah Winfrey, Emma Thompson, Cate Blanchett, and Forest Whittaker.
Some of the best independent films produced during the year will be shown during the ten days of screenings, workshops, speeches and parties.
Standard passes to screenings and awards ceremonies are available, but you can also splurge on one of several levels of all access passes.
These passes include tickets to the opening night gala and the closing night party.
The highest-end passes also include backstage access to all events and tickets to VIP pre-screening parties.
VIP pass-holders also get personalized concierge service during the festival.
The location of this film festival, the noteworthy list of events, and the chance to see some great films and rub shoulders with the elites of the world of cinema make the Santa Barbara International Film Festival a great backdrop for hosting your own special event.
There are private estate venues near Santa Barbara that offer the classic American Riviera experience: timeless architecture, well-manicured outdoor spaces, and a sense of stylishness that can only be found along California's central coastline between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Whether you are hoping to host a post-film cocktail party or a full-out gala that will impress even the most party-weary celebrity, the Santa Barbara area has estates that can fit your needs.
The 300-person Constantine Estate, in Camarillo, is good option for hosting your own Santa Barbara Film Festival soiree.
This 12,000 square foot mansion is the definition of American Riviera opulence.
It boasts chandeliers, multistory windows, a gated entrance, and an amazing location near the scenic Pacific coastline.
This is the kind of property that you normally see from the air as part of a report on celebrity mansions.
So it is ideal if you want to bring a strong element of glamor to your event.
That said, the location means that the trademark weather, relaxed atmosphere, and welcoming warmth that make Santa Barbara so special will also be part of your guests' experiences.
The Casa Corrina Estate, in Santa Ynez, sits in the heart of Southern California's most stunning wine country scenery, about a 30 minute drive outside of Santa Barbara.
If you are looking for an estate that is near the film festival to be practical and convenient but also has an air of exclusiveness and amazing surroundings, this is probably your top estate option.
The outdoors are the star here, with vineyards surrounding the property, an outdoor pool, extravagant rose bushes, and sculpted plants and trees throughout the grounds.
The property can host up to 150 guests. The patios, stonework and terra cotta roofing brings to mind Santa Barbara's historic past.
The warm atmosphere of the hacienda-style buildings will make guests feel welcome, most certainly.
You can find other estates in the area on our web site.
Or perhaps you would rather forget the film festival and enjoy the beauty of some other Central Coast destination.
Will you be in Santa Barbara this February? What films and which celebrities are you hoping to see? Let us know in the comments section below....