Santa Barbara, CA – The 27th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (January 26-February 5), presented by lynda.com, will open the 2012 Festival with the World Premiere of the Sony Classic Pictures film Darling Companion, directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, and Ayelet Zurer. Opening night will take place at the Arlington Theatre on Thursday, January 26, 2012 and is sponsored by Studio 7.

“We are incredibly privileged to have the world premiere of a Lawrence Kasdan film. The highly anticipated Darling Companion is a fantastic film to kick off the festival,” remarked SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

In DARLING COMPANION, Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. When Joseph loses the dog after a wedding at their vacation home in the Rockies, the distraught Beth enlists the help of the few remaining guests and a mysterious young woman (Ayelet Zurer) in a frantic search. Each member of the search party is affected by the adventure, which takes them in unexpected directions – comic, harrowing, sometimes deeply emotional and ultimately towards love.

Darling Companion is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and is a production of Werc Werk Works, Likely Story, and Kasdan Pictures.

In addition to Darling Companion, SBIFF will also feature a Lawrence Kasdan Retrospective in its 2012 program. Body Heat (1981), The Big Chill (1983), and Grand Canyon (1991) will be featured, as well as a Q&A with the filmmaker himself.

Festivities will take place at the Arlington Theatre on Thursday, January 26, 2012. Tickets for the Opening Night Film are available now and can be purchased through http://www.sbfilmfestival.org or by calling 805-963-0023. Festival Mini-Paks, Passes and Packages are currently discounted at 15% and on sale exclusively at http://www.sbfilmfestival.org and 805-963-0023.