Posted by Larry Gleeson
It’s that time of year again. The first film festival bookend of the Oscar race, The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), is wrapping up its two-week long run including its first-ever, pre-event Film Awards Gala, while the other bookend, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), is ramping up for its 32nd edition.
In comparison, PSIFF has maintained a decided edge on glamour with its Film Awards Gala and film viewing with its Regal Cinemas, The Mary Pickford and the Camelot Theaters. Not to be outdone, SBIFF is in the process of updating its newly acquired and not-so-distant future home, the Santa Barbara Riviera Theater, and its use of the Sate Street Metropolitan Theater venues on the stunning shop lined, downtown State Street segment keeps the screens within a reasonable walking distance.
Currently, SBIFF continues its Riviera Project Capital Campaign in support of seat and facility improvements for its Riviera Theater. SBIFF also continues to expand its growing educational programming and remains steadfast in its commitment on community engagement.
Both festivals offer similar, cutting-edge, timely programming with stimulating themes. In addition, SBIFF recently released its 2017 film program.
Here’s the latest information release on the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival:
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, will offer a vast array of films representing 50+ countries, 51 world premieres and 64 US premieres, along with tributes with the year’s top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach programs.
SBIFF 2017 will kick off the festival on Wednesday, February 1st, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the World Premiere of CHARGED. The Opening Night Film is sponsored by UGG®.
Directed by Phillip Baribeau, CHARGED chronicles the journey of chef and outdoorsman, Eduardo Garcia and his recovery after being electrocuted by 2400 volts of electricity miles from help in the Montana backcountry. Garcia had his hand amputated, lost ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. CHARGED tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.
The documentary is produced by Dennis Aig and Phillip Baribeau along with executive producers Teri Weinberg, Scott Ballew, Doug Ellin, Peter Hochfelder, Constance Schwartz–Morini and Michael Strahan.
For the International Gala, the festival will feature the US Premiere of HEAL THE LIVING (Réparer les vivants) a French–Belgian drama directed by Katell Quillévéré and written by Quillévéré and Gilles Taurand. HEAL THE LIVING stars Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past, Grand Central, The Informant), Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus in Fur, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Anne Dorval (Mommy, Heartbeats). Three seemingly unrelated stories are masterfully woven together in this family medical drama. A French teenager takes a road trip to the sea with friends to go surfing; a woman learns her heart is failing; and the staff at a regional hospital struggles through another day of saving lives. Cohen Media Group plans for a Spring 2017 release.
The Festival will close with the Lone Scherfig’s period comedy–drama THEIR FINEST at the Arlington Theatre on Saturday, February 11 in advance of the film’s March 24 stateside release. The Closing Night Film is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
The year is 1940, Britain. With the nation devastated by the war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home. Realizing their films could use “a woman’s touch,” the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue. Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin’s natural flair quickly gets her noticed by charming lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin). Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Battle of Dunkirk starring pretentious fading movie star Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation.
The film is produced by Stephen Woolley, Amanda Posey, Finola Dwyer and Elizabeth Karlsen. Christine Langan, Ed Wethered, Robert Norris, Ivan Dunleavy, Peter Watson, Zygi Kamasa and Thorsten Schumacher serve as executive producers. The film is produced by Number 9 Films and Wildgaze Films.
SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy–Award® frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film. The complete list of 2017 Honorees (in date order) is as follows:
- Viola Davis will present Denzel Washington with the esteemed Maltin Modern Master Award, moderated by longtime friend and film historian Leonard Maltin on Thursday, February 2nd.
- The Outstanding Performers of the Year Award sponsored by Belvedere Vodka will be awarded to Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The tribute will be moderated by Roger Durling on Friday, February 3rd.
- The Virtuosos Award presented by UGG® will be awarded to Aaron Taylor Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Dev Patel (Lion), Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures, Moonlight), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Ruth Negga (Loving), Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins), and Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences) in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Dave Karger on Saturday, February 4th.
- Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award, moderated by Scott Feinberg, on Sunday, February 5th.
- The Variety Artisans Awards will take place on Monday, February 6th 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 Tuesday, February 7th and will be moderated by Pete Hammond. Honorees to be announced.
- Isabelle Huppert will be presented with the Montecito Award on Wednesday, February 8th, moderated by Anne Thompson.
- Jeff Bridges will receive the American Riviera Award sponsored by Bella Vista Designs on Thursday, February 9th, moderated by Scott Feinberg.
All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre except the Variety Artisans Award, which will be at the Lobero Theatre.
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 4th 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 insight into the creative process. Moderated by 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 Anne Thompson.
On Saturday, February 11th, Creative Forces: Women in the Business (Women’s Panel), will be moderated by Madelyn Hammond.
All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre.
The 2017 Film Program addresses timely themes including a focus on environmental activism, feminism in the Middle East, efforts to thwart ISIS around the world including, Mali and Kurdistan, the fight for democracy in Ukraine and the global refugee crisis. In addition, some of the new highlights in the program include the following sections:
- Nordic Cinema Competition: A diverse showcase of contemporary cinema From Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
- Crime Scenes: An international selection of crime thrillers and neo-noirs filled with gritty underworlds and moral nihilists.
- Documentary Shorts: Refugees: A program of short documentaries featuring compelling stories from refugees living in Malawi, Syria, West Africa, Greece, Sweden and the United States.
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: Richard Raymond, Joanna Kerns, Jesus Lloveras, Tamara Asseyev, Martin Gooch, Anthony & Arnette Zerbe, Alan Marshall, Artie Schmidt, Janet Walker, Phyllis de Picciotto, Perry Lang and Mimi deGruy. On the last day of the Festival, the award winning films will be announced at the annual SBIFF awards breakfast.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non–profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 30 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.
Sponsors of the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival include: UGG®, Belvedere Vodka, Dom Pérignon, Anti–Defamation League, Montecito Bank & Trust, Visit The Santa Ynez Valley, IMDB, Santa Barbara Foundation, Union Bank, Winchester Mystery House, Wells Fargo, Westerly Wines, The Bentson Foundation and many more supporting through trade.
SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10–10–10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. This past June, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for program expansion and marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center to expand their mission of educational outreach.