The 2016 Santa Barbara International Film Festival Announces Line-up


Above, Barbara Boros, left, of Barbara Boros Art and Design, stands next to Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Executive Director, Roger Durling, as they unveil the 31st edition’s banner during a press conference at the Hotel Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California, January 12, 2016. (Photo Credit: Larry Gleeson)

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG, has released its highly-anticipated line-up for its 31st edition running from February 3rd through February 13th.

The festival will offer an array of films representing 60+ countries, 52 world premieres and 53 US premieres, including tributes with the year’s top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach.

SBIFF 2016 will kick off on Wednesday, February 3rd, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the US Premiere of THE LITTLE PRINCE, directed by Mark Osborne and featuring the voices of Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais, James Franco, Mackenzie Foy and Benicio Del Toro.  THE LITTLE PRINCE is based on the classic tale of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

For the complete line up visit:

On Sunday, February 7th, Terrance Malick’s experiential KNIGHT OF CUPS will have its US Premiere at the Arlington Theatre as the festival’s Centerpiece Film.  The highly anticipated film stars Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Frieda Pinto, Isabel Lucas, Imogen Poots, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy and Teresa Palmer, among others. Xavier Giannoli’s funny and emotional drama MARGUERITE will close out the festival on Saturday, February 13th. 1921, the beginning of the Golden Twenties. Not far from Paris. For information on tickets, passes and packages click here.


SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy-Award® front-runners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar.   The 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film.

The complete list of 2016 Honorees (in date order) is as follows:

  • Scott Cooper will present Johnny Depp with the esteemed Maltin Modern Master Award sponsored by UGG, moderated by longtime friend and film historian Leonard Maltin on Thursday, February 4th.
  • Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams will receive the American Riviera Award sponsored by Engel & Völkers on Friday, February 5th.
  • The 2016 Virtuosos Award sponsored by Travel + Leisure will be presented to Elizabeth Banks (LOVE & MERCY), Joel Edgerton (BLACK MASS), Paul Dano (LOVE & MERCY, YOUTH), Jacob Tremblay (ROOM), Alicia Vikander (THE DANISH GIRL, EX MACHINA), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON) and Géza Röhrig (SON OF SAUL) in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Dave Karger, Chief Correspondent and host of “The Frontrunners” on Fandango on Saturday, February 6th.
  • Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan will receive the Outstanding Performers of the Year Award, moderated by Pete Hammond, on Monday, February 8th.
  • The Montecito Award will be Tuesday, February 9th and is sponsored by Hennessy. Honoree to be announced.
  • The Variety Artisans Awards will take place on Wednesday, February 10th and will be moderated by Variety’s Sr. VP Awards Editor, Tim Gray. Honorees to be announced.
  • The Outstanding Director of the Year Award sponsored by The Hollywood reporter will be Thursday, February 11th and will be moderated by THR’s Scott Feinberg. Honorees to be announced.
  • Rooney Mara will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award, presented to her by Cate Blanchett, on Saturday, February 12th.

For information on tickets, passes and packages click here.

All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre, located at 1317 State Street, Santa Barbara, California (except the Variety Artisans Award which will be at the Lobero Theatre).

The 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Closing Night
A general view of atmosphere at the premiere screening of ‘McFarland, USA’ at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for The Santa Barbara International Film Festival)


SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar® contenders.

The panel series begins on Saturday, February 6th with the “Movers and Shakers,” (Producers Panel), bringing together the industry’s most prolific producers to talk about current projects, hopes for the future of filmmaking, and insights into the creative process. Moderated by Los Angeles Times film writer Glenn Whipp.

That same day proceeds with “It Starts With the Script” (Screenwriters Panel), bringing together top writers to discuss their craft. The panel will be moderated by indieWIRE’s Anne Thompson.

On Saturday February 13, with Creative Forces: Women in the Business (Women’s Panel), moderated by Madelyn Hammond, President, Madelyn Hammond & Assoc., and Former Chief Marketing Officer for Variety. The Women’s Panel is sponsored by Brooks Institute.

For more information on tickets, passes and packages click here.

All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre, located at 33 E Canon Perdido St., in Santa Barbara.



Student Film Studies Program – Returning for its second year, the student film studies program will bring undergraduate film students from across the country for a three day symposium with a focus on film appreciation, criticism, and analysis. Students will have the opportunity to learn from notable industry professionals and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival through a unique mix of guided and self-guided opportunities, allowing students to customize the experience and benefit from all the Festival has to offer. Students will have access to screenings, panels, Q&A sessions, celebrity tribute events, and private sessions with filmmakers and media professionals in a classroom setting. Due to the generosity of Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, the amount of students allowed has doubled and the program will be completely FREE including travel and lodging.

Free Public Screenings – Sponsored by Cox Business, SBIFF will again offer critically acclaimed films FREE to the public at the Lobero Theatre everyday throughout the Festival..

Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars that will be FREE to the public and will take place in the Visit Santa Ynez Valley Lounge at the Engel & Völkers Pavilion throughout the Festival at 11:00am.

The Jury – Films in several of the Festival’s film categories are in competition. These categories are viewed by a hand selected group of industry professionals including: Sean Baker, James Morrison, Johannes Kuhnke, Neil Konigsberg, Margaret Lazarus, Geoffrey Cowper, Alan Marshall, Anthony Zerbe, Perry Lange, Mimi deGruy, and Phyllis de Picciotto. On the last day of the Festival, the award winning films will be announced at the annual SBIFF awards breakfast.

SBIFF Acquisitions Program – SBIFF presents the 5th Annual Acquisitions Program on the first weekend of the festival, February 5 – February 7.  Since it began five years ago, this weekend long event has grown significantly with a number of films from last year’s program going on to receive distribution. The program was created to allow the acquisitions community easy, industry-friendly access to films at SBIFF.

Super Silent Sunday – On Sunday February 7th, SBIFF will present a classic silent film at the Arlington Theatre completely FREE to the public.  Live accompaniment will be provided by Adam Aceto on the theatre’s Wonder Morton pipe organ, which is one of only five in existence, and is a unique opportunity to connect with the rich history of cinema.

Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies – More than a decade ago, SBIFF first introduced “Field Trip to the Movies,” the brainchild of renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, whose passion for exploring and sharing those adventures with audiences through filmmaking was the inspiration for this fascinating and thought-provoking program.  Now renamed “Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies,” the goal of the program, which is offered to 4,000 5th and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County, is to use filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident and culturally aware thinkers and empower students and teachers with a novel approach to education.

AppleBox Family FilmsFREE family films on the weekends of the Festival. This year, SBIFF will screen Animated Feature front-runners Inside Out (10:00am Feb. 6), Minions (1:00pm Feb. 6), The Peanut Movie (10:00am Feb. 7), and The Good Dinosaur (10:00am Feb. 13) Sponsored by Cox, KPMR Univision, Metropolitan Theatres, MOXI, and Rincon Broadcasting.

Santa Barbara Filmmakers – The Santa Barbara filmmaking community provides a diverse, thought-provoking series of features and shorts. Their programs underscore the emerging talent of up-and-coming filmmakers as well as seasoned veterans, and will be part of the juried competition this year for the first time.

10-10-10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Competition sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, Final Draft, and The Riordan Foundation. The Competition is comprised of 20 high school and college students chosen from 120 submissions. The filmmakers and screenwriters are then paired and they will then produce a 10-minute film during the 10 days of the Festival. On Tuesday, February 2 the 10-10-10 Press Conference will introduce the screenwriting and filmmaking finalists. On Saturday, February 13 at the Arlington Theatre, all ten completed films will be screened and the winners will be announced.

The Stand Up Award sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League – The Santa Barbara Tri-Counties Region of the Anti-Defamation League will be sponsoring and presenting the new ‘ADL Stand Up Award‘ to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important addition to the efforts of the ADL “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”  ADL has a one hundred year history of standing up to bigotry, hatred, and discrimination. The purpose of this award is to recognize and celebrate the impact that story telling can have in fostering mutual understanding and respect.

Irish Animated Short Films – Santa Barbara’s Irish sister city of Dingle will make a presentation of Ireland’s top animators at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. From The West Coast of Ireland, sitting along The Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle International Film Festival will bring its showcase of Irish Animation to The West Coast of America in California. The selection of animation films by Maurice Galway, Director Dingle IFF, includes some of the top names in animation here in Ireland today whilst also giving a nod to up-and-coming talent.

Santa Barbara Local Heroes: Documentary Shorts – Directed by Phyllis de Picciotto and Stan Roden, these sixteen short documentaries are inspired, guided and determined by the Santa Barbara Independent’s 30-year tradition of honoring Local Heroes. The 2015 Santa Barbara Local Heroes are: Diana Basehart, Dr. Joe Blum, Don Bushnell, Rodney Chow, Frank Goss, David Hopkins, Jimmy Jennings, Santa Barbara High School Don’s Net Cafe (Lee Ann Knodle), Irene Macias, Marcel Meier, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Suzanne Riordan, Santa Barbara Conservancy, Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol (Jan Martinez and Anthony Lombardi), Josette Tkacik, Friends of the Carpinteria Library (April Ueoka and Susan Williams). These short documentary portraits will screen periodically throughout the festival before the Santa Barbara Features/Shorts.

Youth CineMedia SBIFF presents a documentary film series produced entirely by teens involved in the Youth CineMedia program.  Striving to help children transition away from gang life, drugs and alcohol and into college and careers in music, photography and video production, the organization offers creative tools, training and support for underprivileged and at-risk teens.  Free to the public with Q&A following.

3RD Weekend – SBIFF will once again present “3RD Weekend,” which will feature the highlights of the 31st Festival for Santa Barbara residents.  The films will be screened throughout the weekend of February 19-21 at the Riviera Theatre.  Screenings are FREE and seating is available on a first come, first served basis.  Screening times will be posted in the days following Closing Night.


SBIFF features exciting, culturally enlightening, and entertaining programming and sidebars.  207+ films from around the world will be brought together to form an incredibly unique and diverse festival experience.

  • ABOVE AND BEYOND: A selection of exhilarating documentaries that capture the challenges of endurance sports as well as the adventure, beauty and thrills of the outdoors.
  • APPLEBOX: A series of free award-winning animated films for families.
  • CINEMATIC OVERTURES: A selection of films that showcase the world of performance including, music, theater and dance.
  • DOCUMENTARY: A selection of US and International documentaries.
  • GLOBAL HOLLYWOOD: A selection of documentaries that explore key figures from Hollywood history as well as the global dimensions of Hollywood.
  • INDEPENDENT: A selection of Independent feature films.
  • INTERNATIONAL: A selection of International feature films.
  • KOLNOA: A selection of feature films and documentaries that examine Israel from a variety of diverse historical, cultural and political perspectives.
  • NOIR: An international selection of neo-noirs filled with gritty underworlds, hard-boiled criminals, femme fatales and moral nihilists.
  • NORDIC: A selection of contemporary cinema from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
  • REEL NATURE: A selection of natural history documentaries that highlight key issues facing the environment and wildlife.
  • SANTA BARBARA FEATURES: A selection of films from Santa Barbara filmmakers.
  • SCREEN CUISINE: An international selection of feature films and documentaries that examine the cultural layers of cuisine and craft spirits.
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE: A selection of international documentaries that address critical social justice issues, including activism, environmentalism, equality, freedom of speech and human rights.
  • SPANISH/LATIN AMERICA: A selection of Spanish language films from Spain and Latin America.
  • SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: A selection of international award winning feature films and documentaries.

For the complete list of films, along with their descriptions and a preliminary screening schedule, visit Please note that this is subject to change.

For more information on tickets, passes and packages click here.

If air travel is required for your attendance, Alaska Airlines, the official airline for the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival, is offering 10% discounts on airfare between Santa Barbara, Los Angeles or Burbank, California and any of Alaska Airlines departure cities (excluding Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica and Prudhoe Bay) from February 2nd through February 16th, 2016. Book by February 16, 2016.  Click here. Discounts are automatically applied. Restrictions apply. See site for details.






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