Category Archives: Film Festival

2023 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule Released

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Poolside screenings of BEACH PARTY (1963) with actor Frankie Avalon in attendance, A MIGHTY WIND (2003) with actors Michael McKean and Annette O’Toole in attendance, and the previously announced HAIRSPRAY (1988) with actor Ricki Lake in attendance

A 35th anniversary screening of STAND AND DELIVER (1988) with actors Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips and author Luis Reyes in attendance

A 40th anniversary screening of RISKY BUSINESS (1983) with actor Rebecca De Mornay in attendance

A 75th anniversary screening of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948) with Danny Huston in attendance

A screening of the Sam Peckinpah Western THE WILD BUNCH (1969) presented in 70mm

The CLUB TCM presentation THE EVOLUTION OF HENSON PUPPETRY with Brian Henson – producer, director and son of the legendary Jim Henson – and a team of master puppeteers in attendance

WARNER NIGHT AT THE MOVIES, a recreation of the typical moviegoing experience from Hollywood’s golden age, complete with cartoons, short subjects, and trailers from the era, followed by a new restoration of the feature film THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE (1941)

And much more!

To view the full schedule including films and presentations, click here.

SLO Film Festival Announces Chelsea Baumberger as New Development Director

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLO Film Fest) has announced its newest addition to the SLO Film Festival family! Following her participation in the most recent festival, Chelsea Baumberger has been hired as the new Development Director at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, responsible for expanding fundraising efforts.


The SLO County native, 32, has worked as the festival’s Development Assistant since December 2021. Before joining the SLO Film Festival, Baumberger worked as an Account Manager in New York City where she built and cultivated relationships with over 250 independent and corporate retail buyers across North America, and as a store and eCommerce manager with a focus on growing brand presence.

“We are very excited to have Chelsea on board in this position. She jumped right in as the Development Assistant late last year, and helped us exceed our fundraising goal for the 2022 Festival and is already hard at work developing new prospects” said Film Festival Board President, Paul Metchik.


Posted by Larry Gleeson

Alex Liu’s comedic sex education documentary
Arrives on TVOD June 7 
On all major streaming and cable platforms in the U.S. and Canada




To right the wrongs of his all-American sex education, 36-year-old health reporter Alex Liu goes on a quest to uncover naked truths and hard facts—no matter how awkward it gets. From neuroscience labs to church pews, A Sexplanation features provocative conversations with psychologists, sex researchers, a Jesuit priest, and several generations of Alex’s own family. With humor and grit, Alex takes audiences on a playful, heartfelt journey from a shame-filled past to a happier, healthier, sexier future.





Not your typical queer, Asian American, comedic sex education documentary about the universal search for love, connection, and family acceptance. A SEXPLANATION is an award-winning film that has been screened at 32 film festivals on four continents, eight countries, and 18 states. Festival awards include Audience Award, Feature Documentary (Cinequest, Inside Out LGBTQ, Asian American International, ReelQ, Paris International), Jury Award, Feature Documentary (DC Asian Pacific, Honolulu Rainbow), Jury Award, Best First Time Film (Tallgrass), and Audience Award, Feature Film (Phoenix).



Directed by Liu, A Sexplanation is written by Leonardo Neri and Alex Liu, produced by Steven Flynn, and edited by Brian Emerick and Alex Liu. Brian Emerick serves as Cinematographer.

TCM Classic Film Festival – Day 2 Highlights

Posted by Larry Gleeson


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 22: <> attends the Hand and Footprint Ceremony honoring Lily Tomlin during the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre on April 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM)


Day 2 at the 13th TCM Classic Film Festival picked up right where Day 1 left off. Ben Mankiewicz and Jane Fonda introduced comedic legend Lily Tomlin outside the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre for Lily’s Hand and Footprint Ceremony. One would have needed a knife to slice through the energy generated not to mention a saber to disperse the bursts of laughter and humor elicited from the audience. Later in the day, the 4K Restoration screening of Giant (1956) and to hear Ben Mankiewicz, Steven Spielberg, Geroge Stevens, Jr., and Margaret Bodde, Executive Director of The Film Foundation, discuss the film and the importance of restoration. Giant is considered a seminal film, progressive for its day, and its relevance holds up today.  A must-see!


Check out some of the highlights!


  • TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and special guest Jane Fonda honor esteemed comedienne Lily Tomlin at the TCM Classic Film Festival Hand & Footprint Ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 22: (L-R) Special guest Jane Fonda, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, special guest Lily Tomlin, and General Manager of Turner Classic Movies Pola Changnon attend the Hand and Footprint Ceremony honoring Lily Tomlin during the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre on April 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM)


  • Special guests Steven Spielberg, George Stevens Jr., and Margaret Bodde join TCM host Ben Mankiewicz to showcase the world premiere of a 4k restoration of “Giant”


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 22: (L-R) TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, special guests Steven Spielberg, George Stevens Jr., and Margret Bodde speak onstage at the screening of “Giant” during the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre on April 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for TCM)


  • TCM host Alicia Malone welcomes two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern for a tribute screening of “Coming Home”


Leonard Maltin and Floyd Norman speak onstage at the screening of The Jungle Book (1967) at the El Capitan Theatre during the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California.


  • Disney legend Floyd Norman joins film critic Leonard Maltin for a tribute to Norman’s work on “The Jungle Book”


Until next time….I’ll see you at the movies!



TCM Classic Film Festival – Day 1

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 13th TCM Classic Film Festival got underway with a full day of events, films, and talks. Kicking it all off was the “Meet TCM,” an event designed specifically to share staffer insight into the network, how it’s produced and what is coming up. In addition, the wildly popular, “So You Think You Know Movies,” was filled to the rafters at the Roosevelt Hotel as movie buffs and film fanatics battled it out in this fun-filled annual quiz competition headed up by Bruce Goldstein, founder of Rialto Pictures and the repertory program director of New York’s Film Forum. The Opening Night Reception this year was held poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt. And without further adieu, the 40th anniversary of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX officially opened the 2022 festival.

Check out some of the highlights!


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 21: (L-R) President of Kids, Young Adults, and Classics for Warner Bros. Entertainment Tom Ascheim, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, U.S. Networks Group, for Warner Bros. Discovery Kathleen Finch, special guest Steven Spielberg, General Manager of Turner Classic Movies Pola Changnon, and TCM host Ben Mankiewicz attend the 40th Anniversary Screening of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” during Opening Night at the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre on April 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for TCM)


  • Opening Night screening of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” featuring a conversation with director Steven Spielberg


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 21: <> on April 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for TCM)


  • Film historian and author Cari Beauchamp celebrates the 90th anniversary of “The Jewel Robbery” with a sold-out screening


TCM host Dave Karger and special guest Topher Grace speak at the screening of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) Poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel during the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California.


  • Special guest Topher Grace and TCM host Dave Karger attend the poolside screening of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”


Stay tuned for Day 2 including the Lily Tomlin hand and footprint ceremony!


Larry Gleeson attends the hand and footprint ceremony for Lily Tomlin at the TCL Chinese Theatre during Day 2 of the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Stars Dee Wallace and Robert Macnaughton Join TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night Screening

Posted by Larry Gleeson

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Stars Dee Wallace and Robert Macnaughton Join TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night Screening

More Exclusive Programming and Stars Announced

 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced Emmy-nominated actor Dee Wallace and actor Robert Macnaughton will appear at the 40th-anniversary screening of the iconic film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial during the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival. They will join director Steven Spielberg, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and stars Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas on the red carpet during Opening Night of the Festival, held in Hollywood from April 21 – 24, 2022. The 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival will feature more than 100 screenings, special events, and panels over the course of four days.



As a special treat for fans, the TCM Classic Film Festival will also feature a live script read of the 1958 B movie I Married a Monster from Outer Space, presented by TCM Underground and SF Sketchfest, on Sunday, April 24. The cast will include Dana Gould, Charlene deGuzman, David Koechner, Laraine Newman, Jonah Ray, Eban Schletter, Janet Varney, and Baron Vaughn.

 Plus, director and choreographer Adam Shankman will appear at the screening of The Gay Divorcée on Friday, April 22, to discuss the 1934 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film.



Festival passes for the annual event are currently on sale.

TCM recently updated the health protocols and safety measures for the event. Get the latest guidelines here:


About the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival

Movie lovers from around the globe will descend on Hollywood for the 13th edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival. The 2022 Festival will take place Thursday, April 21 – Sunday, April 24, 2022. Over four packed days and nights, attendees will be treated to an extensive lineup of great movies, appearances by legendary stars and filmmakers, fascinating presentations and panel discussions, special events and more.

TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz will serve as official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival. The Festival’s official hotel and central gathering point will be The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which has a longstanding role in movie history and was the site of the first Academy Awards® ceremony. Screenings and events during the Festival will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Hollywood Legion Theater at Post 43, and the El Capitan Theatre. For the latest news and information, follow us on social at #TCMFF.

This year’s theme is “All Together Now: Back to the Big Screen.” In 2022, reunite with fellow fans, the movies, the memories, the stars, and the glamour. It’s all back live and in person, just as it should be and where it all began in Hollywood. From high school reunions to homecomings, TCM will celebrate milestones from the past as we look forward to making new memories together.


(News release from Maggie

History at the Cannes Film Festival – Part VII the 1990’s

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 1990s ushered in a time of significant change globally and that change was reflected at the Cannes Film Festival. “Promotion” became the driving new buzzword. Hardly anyone was more creative than Madonna. After Italian politician, La Cicciolina, answered the age-old question of how to dress at Cannes, the former porn actress wore an outfit that seemed more appropriate for the bedroom than the red carpet, Madonna walked the steps and red carpet with her La Cicciolina-inspired outfit.




True to say cinema had broken loose and perpetual change was underway.

In 1990, Federico Fellini presented The Voice of the Moon at the Cannes Film Festival. Fellini had once declared that “Cannes is like a natural harbor for a film to moor in”. Despite having once said that he didn’t like ceremonies, this was his tenth film presented on La Croisette, after films such as The Nights of Cabiria in 1957, La Dolce Vita in 1960, Amarcord in 1974, and City of Women in 1980. The Festival paid tribute to him by presenting effigies of his characters on the Festival’s Louis Lumière theater stage curtain. The Voice of the Moon would be the last film by the legendary director who died in 1994.


Federico Fellini (Cr.Cannes_Festival)


In 1991, the award winners chosen under the presidency of Roman Polanski stirred up less debate but nevertheless set a precedent. The members of the jury, swept up by their enthusiasm, attributed all the major awards to the film Barton Fink. The Coen brothers won the Palme d’Or and the award for Best Director and the award for Best Actor went to its star John Turturro. From then on the Festival forbade future juries from attributing all the major awards to one film.

In 1993, the Palme d’Or was jointly awarded to Farewell, My Concubine by Chen Kaige, and to a woman, the director Jane Campion for The Piano. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first ‘Cinema & Liberty’ conference was held and attracted a hundred plus directors from all around the world. Tellingly, prizes were awarded to representatives from around the world: Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern European countries. The Festival also surpassed 20000 participants.



In 1995, American Sharon Stone was all the rage as she was on full display making a name for herself with controversial scenes in the neo-noir erotic thriller, Basic Instinct. The following year Quintin Tarantino premiered his Palme d’Or-winning, cult-classic, Pulp Fiction.


Quintin Tarantino (Cr. Cannes_Festival)


But, 1995 seemed to be a pivotal year in capturing the spirit of the time with new film genres utilizing the camera as a witness to history and capturing socio-cultural issues of the day such as the phenomenon of suburban slums with Matthieu Kassovitz’s film La Haine (Hate), which took the Best Director’s prize, or the fight against racism with the film Jungle Fever by the renowned Spike Lee. These new contemporary genres and accompanying film work created a buzz in public opinion as well as a source of controversy.


Cinema Paradiso


Undeniably, the recurrent reproach had been that the Festival rewards cinema d’auteur and not what the public wants to watch. The nineties largely proved this wrong. The decade saw the Palme d’Or going to The Piano, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Secrets and Lies by Mike Leigh, and other prizes going to Hate by Mathieu Kassovitz and The Eighth Day by Jaco van Dormael, all of which were big box office successes. In certain cases, the Cannes Festival has even helped a film to find its public. Cinema Paradiso initially met with very poor reception in Italy. In 1989, its director Giuseppe Tornatore shortened it by half an hour before presenting it at Cannes. It won the Jury Grand Prix and went on to be an international success.



With its worldwide reputation, the Festival continued to grow throughout the 1990s and left an indelible mark with such iconic moments as the Italian actor-director Roberto Benigni’s satisfaction, on his knees under the spotlights, after winning for his film Life is Beautiful at the end of the 90s. These films left their mark on the history of worldwide cinema, contributing to the democratization of various social phenomena such as homosexuality with the film Happy Together by Wong Kar-Wai.



50 years of promoting cinema

Growing over the years, the Cannes Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997. 1,289 films from all around the world had been part of the official selection since the first Festival in 1946, through 50 years of cinema that has captured the evolution of our societies.

Stay tuned for new awareness and the new millennium!


History of the Cannes Film Festival – Part VI the 1980s

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Cannes Film Festival, until 2003 called the International Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from all around the world and is widely considered the most important festival in the world in terms of impact as it draws attention to and raises profiles of films contributing to the development of cinema, globally boosts the industry and celebrates film at an international level, As such, a ten-part series on the Cannes Film Festival is underway with the publishing of the History of the Cannes Film Festival – Parts I,   II,   III, IV, and V.



As the scandals of the 1960s subsided and the advent and sprouting of the Directors Fortnight during the 1970s, the decade of the 1980s promised hope and witnessed the emergence of foreign cinemas that theretofore had been forbidden to be exported, were now being screened. While the diplomatic barriers were being shaken, the festival’s reputation as a filmmakers’ forum emerged. Cannes had proven its commitment to defending the filmmaker’s freedom of expression.



In 1983, the choice of winners was sharply criticized, with the jury giving out additional Jury’s Grand Prix and a Grand Prix for art films at the last minute. The choice of films presented largely stressed committed cinema that never gives in to government pressure. This was also the decade that gave rise to socially aware young directors.


The Tin Dum


Françoise Sagan, the president of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 1979, sparked off a major scandal in Cannes by declaring: “It is true that I tried to put pressure on the jury. I did so simply because the day before, Mr. Favre le Bret completely stepped out of his role by trying to do the exact same thing.” Françoise Sagan was in favor of awarding the Palme d’Or to Volker Schlöndorff’s film The Tin Drum, while a number of jury members preferred Apocalypse Now. At the last minute, both films were awarded the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.


Apocalypse Now



In 1983, Robert Favre le Bret, after witnessing the birth and evolution of the festival, stepped down as President of the Cannes Film Festival passing the torch to Pierre Viot. Viot teamed up with the 1978 appointed Delegate General (Director of the Festival), Gilles Jacob. Jacob had created the Caméra d’Or prize for the best first film which could be awarded to a film from any one of the three parallel events (the Official Cannes Selection, the Directors’ Fortnight, and Critics’ Week). He also grouped together the non-competitive categories in a selection called Un Certain Regard.

In addition, the town decided the Palais de la Croisette had become too small for the event and ordered the construction of the Palais des Congrès. The municipality’s initial idea for expanding the Palais Croisette was not viable and, given the Festival’s growing success, there was a need to go big and build a new one.


Palais des Festivals et des Congrès 1983


Its time had come and in 1983 the new Palais des Festivals et des Congrès was ready. The stakes were high as the structure would host numerous events throughout the year. Upon opening, many complained the architecture was too boxy and many described it as “a hideous concrete blockhouse.” Yet, the bunker style was accepted though it wasn’t a perfect fit for the festival. Nevertheless,  the famous twenty-four steps decorated with the red carpet has welcomed tens of thousands of festival-goers, and hundreds of screenings, and helped maintain the ongoing popularity of the Film Market.


Palais des Festivals et des Congrès


In 1986 the 39th Cannes Festival was declared open by 14-year-old Charlotte Gainsbourg and 94-year-old Charles Vanel, hand in hand symbolizing the tradition of the past and the emerging talent of the present day.


Charlotte Gainsbourg and Charles Vanel (Image cr. AFP)


The duo of Viot and Jacob formed a well-balanced team, between boldness and tradition. The Festival continued its efforts to protect freedom of expression and promote cinema as a whole, but it also became committed to defending thematically the  Rights of Man and of the Citizen.


Say tuned for the barrier-breaking 1990s!



Santa Barbara International Film Festival Wraps Its 37th Edition

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) has officially wrapped.


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 12: A view outside the Arlington Theatre at the Closing Night Film “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on March 12, 2022, in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)


The 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG closed with a special screening of DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER, with the iconic singer in attendance. The documentary followed Warwick as she smashed through cultural, racial, and gender barriers to become the soundtrack for generations and a voice fighting for humanitarian causes. Featured interviews with Burt Bachrach, Gladys Knight, Gloria Estefan, Snoop Dogg, Bill Clinton, and many more!

This year was the festival’s first-ever hybrid in-person/virtual format. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop the Phase Two Oscar juggernaut from featuring Hollywood’s top talent. Despite herculean efforts to claim the wildly heralded tributes and panels are only window-dressings for the film program, no one actually believed it.


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 05: (L-R) Anne Thompson, Zach Baylin, Kenneth Branagh, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sian Heder, Adam McKay, Denis Villeneuve and Eskil Vogt appear onstage at the Writers Panel during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on March 5, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)


For example, the Director’s Panel/Tribute honored all five Oscar-nominated directors: Paul Thomas Anderson (LICORICE PIZZA), Kenneth Branagh (BELFAST), Jane Campion (THE POWER OF THE DOG), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (DRIVE MY CAR), and Steven Spielberg (WEST SIDE STORY).

But it was the American Riviera Award tributing Penelope Cruz that was the most evident example of the festival promoting Oscar talent. Passionate cinephilic SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling led the nearly two-hour-long conversation with Cruz sporting a red cape dress by Chanel. Durling lobbed a few well-placed “soft ball” questions and Cruz swatted them into the stratosphere as the audience was treated to several clips from Cruz’s exceptional filmography.  Undoubtedly, Cruz moved up into the top tier of the Best Actress category, and deservedly so. She is a major talent and her work in Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers is her most seasoned and mature performance to date.


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 08: Penélope Cruz and SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling speak onstage at the Montecito Award Ceremony during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on March 8, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF)


Following Cruz’s conversation with Durling, she was treated to a surprise personal message from Sophia Loren. While presenting the award Loren told Cruz, “The day I met you on the set of Nine more than twelve years ago, I knew that you would be part of my life forever. I knew I found a sister, a daughter, a colleague, and a great, great friend.”



In juxtaposition to the Durling-led conversation, The Hollywood Reporter Awards Columnist, the affable Scott Feinberg, poked and prodded the boisterous and energetic Will Smith and the reserved and talented Aunjanue Ellis during the festival Outstanding Performers of the Year Tribute for their work in the Richard Williams biopic King Richard. Richard Williams is the father of tennis greats, Serena and Venus Williams. Smith is considered a front-runner for Best Actor as is Ellis for Best Supporting Actress.


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 06: (L-R) Aunjanue Ellis, Will Smith, and Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers of the Year Award tribute during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on March 6, 2022, in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Smith is seeing the competition heat up though with The Power of the Dog lead, the cerebral Benedict Cumberbatch, making a splash, and who, coincidentally, was at the festival receiving the SBIFF Cinema Vanguard Award presented by The Power of the Dog’s Oscar-nominated writer/director, Jane Campion! Campion lavishes high praise on Cumberbatch (see clip).



The Variety Artisan Awards, honoring those nominated for an Academy Award in below-the-line categories, the various panels, and the Virtuosos round out the festival’s Oscar-laden focus.


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 12: (L-R) Madelyn Hammond , Lynn Harris, Jessica Kingdom, Elizabeth Mirzaei, Diane Warren, and Amber Richards attend the women’s panel during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on March 12, 2022, in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF)


Not to take anything away from this year’s films put together by The Los Angeles Critic Association’s, Claudia Puig. Puig was determined to showcase more films representative of the greater Santa Barbara community.


A Place in the Field


Luckily, I had the good fortune to bend Puig’s ear on the sidewalk outside the Fiesta Five screening venue singing the praise of the directing debut of Nicole Mejia,  A Place In the Field, while thanking her for programming such a film directed by a woman,  produced primarily by a woman, and shot by a woman depicting a veteran dealing with unresolved war-time conflicts. Unabashedly, Puig communicated an Uber was arriving in two minutes and confided that there were a few last-minute additions worth checking out.




Little did I know in that very moment, that one of the last films screening on Friday night in a slot up against the festival’s biggest and most prestigious award, the Maltin Modern Master Award honoring the Aaron Sorkin-penned, I Love Lucy leads, Nicole Kidman, and Javier Bardem would be the blistering backstory of the Australian Port Arthur Massacre on Tasmania, Nitram, featuring a monumental, “one for the ages” performance by Caleb Landry Jones as the lead Nitram (Martin spelled backward) for which he received Best Actor in Film from the illustrious Cannes Film Festival. Fortunately, a second screening occurred on Saturday afternoon. I did attend the second screening as I had watched virtually Leonard Maltin’s truncated performance on Friday evening with Kidman and Bardem.


Big Crow


Another film Puig brought forth was a Native film, Big Crow, a narrative documentary on the legend Cheryl Big Crow, a 1980’s standout basketball player and visionary of the Lakota people. Like many films this year, Big Crow did not feature a sold-out audience. Due to COVID and by design, fewer passes and diminished capacities were the norms with masks required along with proof of vaccination or negative test within the previous 72 hours to have a seat for any of the festival’s offerings.

A short-form documentary with vivid colors and a female subject matter, Fresh to Frightening: The Shannon Green Story, on Santa Barbara’s, world-renowned Yacht Racing photographer epitomized Puig’s determination to show more films representative of Santa Barbara. Fresh to Frightening s is “a kinetic and gorgeously shot documentary which captures the beauty and energy of sailing and yacht racing while it also introduces us to a dynamic woman and the art of her photography.” Indeed.

I can honestly say, I did not see a bad film. In reality, there were only two kinds of films this year – good and better!

Here are the award-winning films for the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival:

Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent: Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy’s Róise and Frank (Mo ghrá buan)

Best Documentary Short Film Award: Jordan Matthew Horowitz’s LALITO 10

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film: Marilyn Cooke’s NO GHOST IN THE MORGUE (PAS DE FANTÔME À LA MORGUE)

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: Zacharias Kunuk’s THE SHAMAN’S APPRENTICE

Best Documentary Award: Jon-Sesrie Goff’s AFTER SHERMAN

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film: Shawkat Amin Korki’s THE EXAM (EZMÛN)

Best Middle Eastern/Israeli Film Award: Dina Amer’s YOU RESEMBLE ME (TU ME RESSEMBLES)

Best Nordic/Dutch Film Award: Marianne Blicher’s MISS VIBORG

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: Martín Barrenechea and Nicolás Branca’s 9

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s SCARBOROUGH

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: Emma Macey-Storch’s GEETA

ADL Stand Up Award, sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties, the Skinner Social Impact Fund, and Steve & Cindy Lyons: Jordan W. Barrow and Matt Edwards’s OUR WORDS COLLIDE.

The films were chosen by jury members Carlos Aguilar, Justine Bateman, Dupe Bosu, Julie Carmen, Annlee Ellingson, Tim Grierson, Beandrea July, Elizabeth Lo, Scott Mantz, Jose Novoa, Gil Robertson, Charles Solomon, Angie Wang, Steve Zahn, and Anthony & Annette Zerbe.

SBIFF’s Programming Director Claudia Puig.

“We are so thrilled to have had our slate of 200 films from 54 countries so well-received by festivalgoers. A few films even elicited standing ovations. We are very proud that filmmakers came from as far as Nepal, Iran, and Uganda–and many countries in between– to attend with their films. We thank all the wonderful filmmakers and our enthusiastic Santa Barbara audience for making this such a joyful return to theaters, and a celebration of terrific world cinema.” commented SBIFF’s Programming Director Claudia Puig.

In addition, the festival offered several free screenings and a few with Q&A’s  including:

The Power of the Dog and Q&A with Jane Campion

Licorice Pizza and Q&A with Paul Thomas Anderson and Alana Haim


King Richard and a Q&A with Reinaldo Marcus Green and Aunjanue Ellis


Silver Linings Playbook and a Q&A with David O. Russell and editor Jay Cassidy

Until next year, I’ll see you at the movies!



SBIFF features a free ten-year anniversary screening of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK followed by insightful Q & A

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Friday night at the 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival Friday night featured a free ten-year anniversary screening of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

Following the free screening an insightful Q&A with writer & director David O. Russell and editor Jay Cassidy, moderated by SBIFF Executive Director, Roger During, was held.



Highlights from the conversation included:

Director David O. Russell on the film’s focus on mental health: “The film for me was very personal, because in my family we have this… and Robert also had it in his family so he related to it, and Bradley and Jennifer were both gifted with a beautiful craziness themselves, so they related to it. I’ve had many people come up to me over the years who were grateful for the removal of the stigma.”


Editor Jay Cassidy on working with Bradley Cooper in the editing room: “His truth-ometer is very high and that was very helpful…He can really be hard on himself, on us, the cut, and that’s a great force to have around. His interest was not a couple of afternoons, his interest was weeks…that dedication we all grew to respect.”


David O. Russell on why the film still appeals to audiences ten years later: “I loved watching it right now! I was standing over there and I was crying and I was laughing…it just came out real nice and it’s a nice thing to look at and feel.”


Of note, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival joined Direct Relief to deliver aid in response to the Ukraine crisis. The fundraiser has reached over $92K! Please help us reach our goal of $100K by sharing the link to donate here:


(News release courtesy of Michelle Tarangelo, Sunshine Sachs)