Category Archives: Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver Tabbed for SBIFF Outstanding Performers of the Year Award

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Santa Barbara Film Festival Outstanding Performers of the Year Award honoring Scarlett Johansson & Adam Driver

Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that Tony Award winner Scarlett Johansson and Tony and Academy Award nominee Adam Driver will receive the Outstanding Performers of the Year Award for their critically acclaimed work in Noah Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY, which will be released in theaters and on Netflix December 6, 2019. Johansson and Driver will be honored at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA on Friday, January 17th.

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Roger Durling, SBIFF’s Executive Director.

“Scarlett and Adam have had such admirable arcs to their careers – making smart choices between independent films and big Hollywood franchises. They both are such lyrical performers, imbuing their acting with keen sensitivity and intellect. Together in Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY they regaled us with their best work to date,” says Roger Durling, SBIFF’s Executive Director.

The Outstanding Performers of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film this past year. Past recipients of the award include Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place January 15th through 25th, 2020.

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Viva Pedro – An Almodóvar Retrospective #SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is hosting a celebration of Pedro Almodovar’s work with 8 of the celebrated auteur’s greatest films.
The films are screening the week of October 25 – 31 at Lynda and Bruce’s Riviera Theatre, the new Cinema Art House of SBIFF. The renovated theatre has larger, plush seats, along with a new projector and sound system (one of 26 theatres across the country and the only non-profit).

Viva Pedro! is a retrospective leading up to Almodovar’s November 1st release of his newest film, PAIN AND GLORY, where Almodovar reflects on his life and his filmmaking career. See below for a list of films with showtimes. This retrospective is sure to be a good time.

See you at the movies!

Passes and Tickets are Available Here

Patron Pass ~ $110
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• 10% OFF Popcorn and Soda
• Recognition on-screen before each film
• A portion of this purchase may be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by lawCinephile Pass ~ $56
• Access to ONE screening of each Film (8 films total)Individual Tickets
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8
• Member $6

Law of Desire
Law of Desire – La ley del deseo (1987)

When porn director Pablo reluctantly breaks up with his boyfriend, Juan, he encourages him to stay in touch. Juan moves away to live in a lighthouse and eventually writes his ex, but in the interim Pablo has taken up with a psychotic new lover, Antonio. Antonio intercepts their correspondence and flies into a towering rage, terrifying Pablo, but also inspiring him creatively as he works on a play about his transsexual sister.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Eusebio Poncela, Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Miguel Molina
Country: Spain
102 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Friday 10/25 – 5:00pm
Monday 10/28 – 5:00pm

Women on the Verge

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Mujeres al borde de un ataque de “nervios” (1988)
Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

When Pepa Marcos’ lover Ivan suddenly leaves her without any explanation, she embarks on a strange journey to discover why. On the way she meets a variety of eccentric characters, including Ivan’s son from a previous relationship, his fiancee Marissa and a Shiite terrorist cell who have been secretly holding her best friend Candela hostage. It’s a film noir take on the romantic comedy.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma, María Barranco
Country: Spain
88 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Friday 10/25 – 7:30pm
Monday 10/28 – 7:30pm

All About Mother

All About My Mother – Todo sobre mi madre (1999)

Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film

A Greek saying states that only women who have washed their eyes with tears can see clearly. This saying does not hold true for Manuela. The night a car ran over her son Esteban, Manuela cried until her eyes ran completely dry. Far from seeing clearly, the present and the future become mixed up in darkness. She begins looking for his father who has become a transvestite.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Penélope Cruz, Candela Peña, Antonia San Juan, Rosa Maria Sardà, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Fernando Guillén, Toni Cantó, Eloy Azorin, Carlos Lozano
Country: Spain, France
101 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Saturday 10/26 – 2:30pm
Tuesday 10/29 – 5:00pm

Talk to Her

Talk To Her – Hable con ella (2002)

Academy Award Winner for Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Academy Award Nominee for Best Director

Male nurse Benigno becomes infatuated with a complete stranger when he watches dancer Alicia practicing from the anonymity of his apartment. After being injured in a car accident, Alicia is brought to a nearby hospital, where Benigno serendipitously happens to be her caregiver. When wounded bullfighter Lydia is brought into the same ward, her companion, writer Marco, begins to bond with Benigno.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Geraldine Chaplin, Rosario Flores
Country: Spain
112 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Saturday 10/26 – 5:00pm
Tuesday 10/29 – 7:30pm

Bad Education

Bad Education – La mala educación (2004)

When an old friend brings filmmaker Enrique Goded a semi-autobiographical script chronicling their adolescence, Enrique is forced to relive his youth spent at a Catholic boarding school. Weaving through past and present, the script follows a transvestite performer who reconnects with a grade school sweetheart. Spurred on by this chance encounter, the character reflects on her childhood sexual victimization and the trauma of closeting her sexual orientation.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Fele Martinez, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Javier Cámara, Petra Martínez, Leonor Watling
Country: Spain
106 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Saturday 10/26 – 7:30pm
Wednesday 10/30 – 5:00pm

Director:  Pedro Almodóvar

Volver (2006)

Academy Award Nominee for Penelope Cruz for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Raimunda works and lives Madrid with her husband Paco and daughter Paula. Her sister Sole lives nearby and they both miss their mother Irene, who died several years ago in a house fire along with their father. A former neighbor from their hometown reports that she has seen the ghost of Irene and both daughters do not believe her. After a murder and a family tragedy, Irene’s spirit materializes around her daughters to help comfort them.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave
Country: Spain
121 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Sunday 10/27 – 2:30pm
Wednesday 10/30 – 7:30pm

Broken Embraces

Broken Embraces – Los abrazos rotos (2009)

The death of Ernesto Martel sets off a chain of events that forces one man to come to terms with his past. Before he went blind, Harry Caine was Mateo Blanco, a film director who often worked with Ernesto. Ten years ago, Ernesto and Mateo’s friendship became a battle for Lena, Ernesto’s mistress and Mateo’s secret object of affection. When the former recruits his son to spy on the latter, things quickly spiral out of control.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Penélope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluís Homar, Lola Dueñas, Ángela Molina, Rossy de Palma
Country: Spain
127 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Sunday 10/27 – 5:00pm
Thursday 10/31 – 5:00pm

Julietta

Julieta (2016)

After a chance meeting, middle-aged Julieta learns that her long-lost daughter has resurfaced in Madrid. This begins a painful reflection by Julieta into her checkered past, flashing back to the moments of pain that defined her current life.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte
Country: Spain
99 minutes
Subtitled

SHOWING:
Sunday 10/27 – 7:30pm
Thursday 10/31 – 7:30pm

Viva Pedro

 

Santa Barbara Announces First Set of Virtuosos Award Honorees #SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Virtuosos Award Presented by UGG®
honoring
Awkwafina (The Farewell),
Taron Egerton (Rocketman),
Florence Pugh (Midsommar),
and Taylor Russell (Waves)

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SANTA BARBARA, CA (10/18/2019) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today the first wave of recipients to receive the Virtuosos Award presented by UGG®, an honor created to recognize a select group of talent whose noteworthy performances in film have elevated them into the national cinematic dialogue. Awkwafina (The Farewell), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), and Taylor Russell (Waves) will receive the award on Saturday, January 18th, which will be moderated for the tenth year by Turner Classic Movies host and IMDb special correspondent host Dave Karger. The tribute will take place at the historic Arlington Theatre during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

“Awkwafina, Taron, Florence, and Taylor are four of the most exciting rising talents and they’re all breaking through in a major way this year,” says Dave Karger. “I can’t wait to see all of them, plus our yet-to-be-announced honorees, up in Santa Barbara.”

Last year’s recipients of The Virtuosos Award were Yalitza Aparicio, Sam Elliott, Elsie Fisher, Claire Foy, Richard E. Grant, Thomasin McKenzie, John David Washington, and Steven Yeun.

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place January 15th through 25th, 2020.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) 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 34 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 95,000 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.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community throughout many free educational programs and events. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.

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(Source: Press release provided Sunshine Sachs)

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Barbara American Riviera Award honoring Renée Zellweger #SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

This is one to see!

Renée Zellweger is set to receive the illustrious American Riviera Award in January 2020. Zellweger will be recognized for her many attributes to the art of film over the years, and most recently, her work as Judy Garland in LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions’ JUDY. The tribute will take place at the historic Arlington Theatre during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

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Roger Durling

“Ms. Zellweger has always displayed a deep commitment and discipline in her performances which has always made me root for her and admire her deeply. In Judy – she adds a ferocity that solidifies her as one of the greatest actors of her time.” says Santa Barbara International Film Festival Executive Director, Roger Durling.

Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.”

The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. Zellweger will join the list of previous recipients which includes Viggo Mortenson, Sam Rockwell, Jeff Bridges, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke, Tommy Lee Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane.The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place January 15th through 25th, 2020.  

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

 

Sam Award-1
2018 American Riviera Award recipient, Sam Rockwell, holds aloft the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s statuette for outstanding achievement in American film, at the historic Arlington Theatre, February 7th, 2018. (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

 

 

(Sourced from: SBIFF news release)

Santa Barbara Film Festival 2020 Dates

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, will return for the 35th edition January 15 – 25, 2020. 200+ Films featuring over 120 World and US premieres, Industry Panels, Celebrity Tributes, and Educational and Free Community Programs will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including the Arlington and Lobero Theatres.

See you at the movies!

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SBIFF Director Roger Durling, left, on the red carpet at the Opening Night Film ‘Diving Deep:The Life And Times Of Mike deGruy’ during 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the historic Arlington Theatre, January 31, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

ABOUT THE SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) 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 33 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 95,000 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 34th SBIFF include: UGG®, Toyota Mirai, Belvedere Vodka, City of Santa Barbara, Amazon Studios,  ADL, Montecito Bank & Trust, IMDbPro, Union Bank, Driscoll’s, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, Bentson Foundation, SEE International, Manitou Fund, Patagonia, Winchester Mystery House, Netflix, Mary Beth Riordan, Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin, Volentine Family Foundation, and many more supporting through trade.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community throughout many free educational programs and events. In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day.

(Source: SBIFF news release)

 

The Wave Film Festival is Back: France

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Putting a smile on the film going community in Santa Barbara and surrounding areas, The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) announces ticketing and programming for its exquisite Wave Film Festival: France! With eleven films and twenty-two screenings from July 12th-18th, 2019, at the acoustically pleasing and recently renovated Linda and Bruce’s Riviera Theatre, The SBIFF Wave Film Festival: France is a must-see exhibition of French cinema nestled in the American Riviera of Santa Barbara, California!

According to the festival office passes are selling out fast. Multiple options are offered to attend including Cinephile and Sponsor passes (both include access to the Passholder Reception at the Belmond El Encanto – Friday July 12: 5:30pm – 7:30pm). Check out the links and see below for a sneak peek at the French films screening this year. See you at the movies!

Tickets and passes are available here

Program/Schedule for French Wave 2019

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Escape From Raqqa (Exfiltrés)

Misleading her husband about her travel plans, Faustine leaves Paris with their five-year-old son for Raqqa, an ISIS-controlled city. Finding herself in a desperate situation, Faustine sends an urgent plea to get them out. With French authorities powerless to help, her husband arranges a high-risk exfiltration operation to save his wife and son. Tense and timely, this gripping drama is based on a true story.

Directed by Emmanuel Hamon
Written by Benjamin Dupas
Starring Swann Arlaud, Finnegan Oldfield, Jisca Kalvanda, Charles Berling
102 minutes

SCREENING:
Sunday 7/14 @ 9:30pm
Thursday 7/18 @ 2:30pm

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 4.35.49 PM

A Faithful Man (L’homme fidèle)

In this oh-so-French romantic comedy about three impossibly attractive Parisians, Abel is a dashing journalist whose pregnant girlfriend, Marianne, leaves him to marry Paul, the father of her baby (who happens to be Abel’s best friend). So begins a tale that stretches over years until Marianne reappears, as does Eva, Paul’s impetuous younger sister. Winner, Jury Prize for Best Screenplay, San Sebastián International Film Festival.

Directed by Louis Garrel
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière and Louis Garrel
Starring Laetitia Casta, Lily-Rose Depp, Louis Garrel
75 minutes

SCREENING:
Sunday 7/14 @ 5:00pm
Thursday 7/18 @ 7:30pm

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Father and Sons (Deux fils)

Joseph and his sons form a close-knit family but fail to see that each is losing control of his life. One son spends most of his time daydreaming about his ex-girlfriend. The other is a misfit at school despite being smart. Joseph has secretly left medicine to become a writer. While there is plenty of affection at home, all three are also, clumsily, searching for love.

Directed by Félix Moati
Written by Félix Moati, Florence Seyvos
Starring Vincent Lacoste, Benoît Poelvoorde, Anaïs Demoustier, Mathieu Capella
90 minutes

SCREENING:
Sunday 7/14 @ 7:30pm
Thursday 7/18 @ 5:00pm

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The Freshman (Première année)

Antoine starts his first year of medical school—for the third time. Benjamin, fresh out of high school, will have his first stab at it. He soon realizes that it’s more difficult than he thought. With nights dedicated to hard studying, rather than hard partying, the two will have to adapt and find a middle ground between despair for the present and hope for the future. From the Writer/Director of HIPPOCRATES: DIARY OF A FRENCH DOCTOR and THE COUNTRY DOCTOR.

Written & Directed by Thomas Lilti
Starring Vincent Lacoste, William Lebghil, Michel Lerousseau, Darina Al Joundi
92 minutes

SCREENING:
Saturday 7/13 @ 7:30pm
Monday 7/15 @ 5:00pm

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An Impossible Love (Un amour impossible)

Rachel, a young office clerk in a provincial town, meets Philippe, a well-educated man from a wealthy family. They share an intense but short-lived romance, leaving Rachel a single mother. Over the next 50 years, their lives are shaped by love—between a mother and daughter, by a woman for a man who rejects her, and by a daughter for an absent and abusive father.

Directed by Catherine Corsini
Written by Catherine Corsini and Laurette Polmanss
Starring Virginie Efira, Niels Schneider, Jehnny Beth, Estelle Lescure
135 minutes

SCREENING:
Saturday 7/13 @ 4:45pm
Monday 7/15 @ 7:30pm

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In Safe Hands (Pupille)

When baby Theo’s birth mother surrenders him to adoption, the officers of child protection services are called into action. The baby is entrusted to Jean—no stranger to the foster system—who takes the newborn until a suitable home can be found. Alice, who has wanted to be a mother for a long time, faces the prospect that her dream could finally come true.

Written & Directed by Jeanne Herry
Starring Sandrine Kiberlain, Gilles Lellouche, Élodie Bouchez, Miou-Miou, Stéfi Celma
107 minutes

SCREENING:
Monday 7/15 @ 2:30pm
Wednesday 7/17 @ 5:00pm

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Mothers’ Instinct (Duelles)

In this suspenseful psychological thriller, Alice and Céline live in adjoining houses, leading parallel bourgeois lives in 1960s Belgium. They are best friends, as are their boys, who have grown up like brothers. This perfect harmony is broken when tragedy strikes Céline’s son, with Alice as the only witness. As Céline’s behavior becomes more and more suspicious, Alice fears her friend is seeking revenge.

Directed by Olivier Masset-Depasse
Written by Olivier Masset-Depasse, Giordano Gederlini
Starring Veerle Baetens, Anne Coesens, Mehdi Nebbou
97 minutes

SCREENING:
Friday 7/12 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday 7/16 @ 5:00pm

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The Prayer (La prière)

Thomas is a drug addict who joins a community of former addicts living in the mountains who use prayer as a way to cure themselves. Thomas gradually accepts a life of discipline, abstinence, hard work, and frequent prayer. He discovers faith, but also love—and a new kind of torment. Winner, Silver Bear for Best Actor, 2018 Berlin International Film Festival

Directed by Cédric Kahn
Written by Cédric Kahn, Samuel Doux, Fanny Burdino
Starring Anthony Bajon, Damien Chapelle, Alex Brendemühl, Hanna Schygulla
107 minutes

SCREENING:
Sunday 7/14 @ 2:30pm
Tuesday 7/16 @ 7:30pm

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Real Love (C’est ça l’amour)

Mario is back to square one after his wife leaves home, and he now must raise his two adolescent daughters on his own. Niki, at seventeen, is about to leave the nest. Fourteen-year-old Frida blames her dad for her parents’ separation—and begins to explore her sexuality. Through it all, Mario must find ways to redefine himself as the women in his life create lives of their own.

Written & Directed by Claire Burger
Starring Bouli Lanners, Justine Lacroix, Sarah Henochsberg
98 minutes

SCREENING:
Saturday 7/13 @ 2:30pm
Wednesday 7/17 @ 7:30pm

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Treat Me Like Fire (Joueurs)

When she meets Abel, Ella’s life is turned upside down. Irresistibly drawn to this elusive lover, the young woman discovers the cosmopolitan, underground world of the gaming circles of Paris, where adrenaline and money reign supreme. Their love story, begun as a mere bet, turns into a devouring passion. Filled with plot twists and lots of action, this film was a Directors’ Fortnight selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Marie Monge
Written by Marie Monge and Julien Guetta
Starring Tahar Rahim, Stacy Martin
105 minutes

SCREENING:
Friday 7/12 @ 9:30pm
Wednesday 7/17 @ 2:30pm

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The Trouble With You (En liberté!)

Yvonne is a police detective and the widow of police chief Santi, a local hero. When she learns that her husband was a crooked cop, she sets out to right the wrongs he committed. Crossing paths with a man who was unjustly imprisoned leads to a sequence of wild mishaps—and a mixture of action, romance, and screwball comedy. Winner, SACD Prize, Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Pierre Salvadori
Written by Benjamin Charbit, Benoît Graffin, Pierre Salvadori
Starring Adèle Haenel, Pio Marmaï, Damien Bonnard, Audrey Tautou, Vincent Elbaz
108 minutes

SCREENING:
Saturday 7/13 @ 9:30pm
Tuesday 7/16 @ 2:30pm

See you at the movies!

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(Sourced from sbiff.org)

 

REVIEW: IN LOVE AND WAR (Torsting, 2018): Denmark

Posted by Larry Gleeson

In Love and War Takes Audience Award and Captures Nordic Cinema Competition at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 10.23.06 AMIn Love and War, from Director Kasper Torsting and Producer Ronnie Fridthjof, who co-wrote the screenplay together about a soldier in Denmark who returns home after three years of fighting on the front lines in WWI, harks back to Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogme 95, a film movement orchestrated to compete with Hollywood’s domination of the industry. Dogme 95 focused filmmakers on story, acting and theme and away from special effects and “MTV style editing.” Torsting and Fridthjof’s efforts seem to have brought von Trier and Vinterberg’s vision to fruition with In Love and War, winner of the coveted Audience Award for the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival as well as winner of the strong-fielded Nordic Cinema Competition.

The mise-en-scene and production design are at once gorgeous and stunning in this character-driven story that unfolds in dramatic fashion as lead character, Ebsen, portrayed by Sebastian Jessen, after already serving a three-year stint refuses to return to the front in order to renew and rebuild his family life. Consequently, Ebsen’s refusal forces him into hiding and to watch as a German Army officer, Gerhard, portrayed by Tom Wlaschiha, woos Ebsen’s wife, Kirstine, portrayed by Rosalinde Mynster, while winning the affection and admiration of Ebsen’s young son, Carl, portrayed by Axel Homann.

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Interestingly enough, this is the first Danish film to address the German occupation of southern Denmark during WWI. Many of the Germans stayed in the area after the war and started families living side-by-side their Danish comrades. And, according to Director Torsting, it’s a part of Danish history that is washed over and hasn’t been addressed until now. Torsting made the film in an attempt to enlighten the present generation of a largely forgotten past.

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With a painter’s touch, In Love and War’s cinematographer, Jesper Toffner, paints a remarkable canvas of landscape scenes coupled with period costuming that invites and encapsulates the viewer into the world of Ebsen and his quadrapalegic battle-buddy, Jes, portrayed by Morten Brovn, as both men try to not only survive but to hold on to their sense of self while everyone and everything around them is changing due to the formidable German influence.

Much more than an historical treatment, In Love and War digs into the human condition and what men and women do when faced with the difficult choices the cruelty of war posits onto the less fortunate. In addition, the film is in two languages, German and Danish, with English subtitles. Featuring stellar acting from the cast, including Ulrich Thomsen, Thurle Lindhardt, with Natalie Madueno and a driving musical score from Robin Hoffman that heightens the film’s suspense as Ebsen reaches the moment that will decide his fate and the fate of his family.

In Love and War is a highly compelling, emotionally moving film with a run time of 135 minutes and made its North American Premiere at the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG.

Highly recommended.

 

Santa Barbara Wraps 34th Edition of Its International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presented by UGG has come and gone. With its many tributes, panels, forums, educational and free community programs, and films, this year’s festival offered a little something for everyone.

34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Opening Night Film -
Lynda Weinman, left, and Mimi deGruy attend the Opening Night Gala during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2019, in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SBIFF)

The festival opened with one of the most emotionally riveting first night films in recent memory as SBIFF Board member, Mimi deGruy, unveiled her film Deep Diving: The Life and Time s of Mike deGruy featuring her deceased husband’s treasure trove of underwater footage as well as delving into his passion and activism for the dark ocean water and its inhabitants.

Without missing a beat, the Breakfast Club (the nickname given by SBIFF Director Roger Durling for the first movies of the day starting at 8:00 AM) kicked off with The Biggest Little Farm, a beautifully constructed documentary that follows a young couple, John Chester, a writer and filmmaker, and his wife, Molly, a culinary writer, as they make the transition from urbanites to traditional farmers. The Biggest Little Farm was one of the festival darlings.

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Birds of Passage

A personal favorite film of mine this year was the tragic, genre-bending Birds of Passage, a cartel film on the Northern Colombian Wayuu tribes in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Filmmakers Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra weave together a tapestry of cultural artifacts with a Shakespearean-style delivery that accentuates the early beginnings of cartel life.

Yet, one of the most mesmerizing aspects of the festival was contained in the Nordic Cinema Sidebar. Harking back to Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogme 95, a film movement orchestrated to compete with Hollywood’s domination of the industry, that focused filmmakers on story, acting and theme and away from special effects and “MTV style editing.” Their efforts seem to have come to fruition with In Love and War, winner of the coveted Audience Award for this year as well as winner of the formidable Nordic Cinema Competition.

First-time, feature-length,  movie-maker/director, Vanessa Filho traveled in from Paris, France, with her deep, introspective work, Angel Face, featuring Marion Cotillard. A delightful presence at this year’s festival, Filho also participated in the Women Directors Forum, in addition to walking the red carpet at the Outstanding Performer of the Year tribute. I had the good fortune to sit with Filho in the Hotel Santa Barbara’s Garden Room shortly after her arrival for a brief interview.

Unfortunately, the one that got away, A Seed for Change, from one-man production team, Alexandros Ikonomidis, was a film about his experience in dealing with the financial crisis of 2008 and its life-altering, economic fallout. Due to pressing circumstances I could not attend screenings for this selection. However, I did communicate with Ikonomidis, albeit too late to see his film and its overriding themes of self-sufficiency and survival.

34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Performer Award Honoring Rami Malek
Rami Malek speaks onstage at the Outstanding Performer Award tribute during 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 1, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SBIFF)

In addition to the traditional Opening Night and Closing Night Films, SBIFF has loaded several tributes into its Phase 2 Oscar cannon. This year had Rami Malek as its Outstanding Performer of the Year recognizing his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek is sweeping award ceremonies thus far and continues to be the front-runner for a Best Actor Oscar from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science later this month. We shall see!

Next year’s dates have been announced for January 15 -25, 2020, along with all festival award winners.

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

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Announces 2020 Dates + 2019 Awards

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, will return for the 35th edition January 15 – 25, 2020. 200+ Films featuring over 120 World and US premieres, Industry Panels, Celebrity Tributes, and Educational and Free Community Programs will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including the Arlington and Lobero Theatres.

11162014-Roger-Durling_t479“We’re so grateful to all of our honorees, filmmakers, attendees, sponsors, press and volunteers for making the 34th edition our best yet. We’re adjusting our dates and we’re already looking forward to celebrating our 35th anniversary! – SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Also announced today were the award winning films for the 34th Festival at a breakfast held in their honor at Belmond El Encanto. All awards were announced, culminating in the coveted Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent, which went to Kasper Torsting’s In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed). The films were chosen by jury members Anthony and Arnette Zerbe, David and Sandy Wasco, Joe Medjuck, Katharine O’Brien, Leslie Zemeckis, Margaret Lazarus, Olivia Hamilton, Paul Brickman, Roger Avary, and Tamara Asseyev.

Congratulations to ALL the Winners:

Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent: Kasper Torsting’s In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed)Best Documentary Short Film Award: Leslie Iwerks’s Selling Lies
Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live Action Short Film: Christopher Wollebekk’s My Brother Amal (Min bror Amal)
Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: Rachel Johnson’s Henrietta Bulkowski
Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International: Johnny Sweet’s Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story
Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film: Bettina Oberli’s With the Wind (Le vent tourne)
Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: Sam Friedlander’s Babysplitters
Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: Celia Rico Clavellino’s Journey to a Mother’s Room (Viaje al cuarto de una madre)
Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film: Kasper Torsting’s In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed)
ADL Stand Up Award: Javier Fesser’s Champions (Campeones)
Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei’s Laila at the Bridge

Three awards were handed out for short films. The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film went to Christopher Wollebekk’s My Brother Amal (Min bror Amal). The Jury remarked “My Brother Amal displayed shining performances, brilliant directing and quite simply – it made us feel.“ The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short Film went to Rachel Johnson’s Henrietta Bulkowski. The Jury awarded the film “for it’s inventive story, craft and heart – it is a film that sticks in your mind long after you see it.“ Best Documentary Short Film was awarded to Leslie Iwerks’s Selling Lies. The Jury called the film “eye opening and chilling, Selling Lies clarified, disturbed and shifted our perspective.”

Sponsored by SEE International, the Best Documentary Film Award went to Johnny Sweet’s Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story. The jury remarked that “The power of this Doc cannot be denied, a testament to it’s subject and all involved. The gathering of top notch Interviewees and historical footage, the editing, camera, sound, all make for perfectly paced and gripping film.”Bettina Oberli’s With the Wind (Le vent tourne) is the recipient of the Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for Best International Film. The Jury remarked that “With extraordinary moments of natural life beautifully captured, and equal portions dystopic nightmare, director Bettina Oberli’s eulogy for luddite optimism acknowledges that only part of us is sane and wanting for creation, while simultaneously exists an opposing primal need to burn one’s own house down until the foundations are blackened.”

Sam Friedlander’s Babysplitters took home the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. The Jury remarked that “Babysplitters was presented to the festival as a work in progress. Even so, we appreciated the strong comic timing, the good heart, and a  slew of laugh-out-loud moments.  With some editorial discipline, this has the potential to become a true comic treat.”

The Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema went to Celia Rico Clavellino’s Journey to a Mother’s Room (Viaje al cuarto de una madre). The Jury remarked that the film “A very delicately composed film. Beguilingly simple in it’s reach yet totally engrossing. Beautiful to look at, beautifully acted.”

The Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film was awarded to Kasper Torsting ‘s In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed). The Jury remarked that the film “Intricate tale of the anguish of war. Totally unpredictable, highly original. Amazing Photography, editing and acting.”

Sponsored by Santa Barbara and Tri-Counties ADL, The ADL Stand Up Award went to Javier Fesser’s Champions (Campeones). “Campeones champions the value of inclusion, which is a touchstone of ADL’s worldwide effort to embrace diversity, to foster mutual respect, and to fight hate,” said Regional Director, Cyndi Silverman. “This is also a film about community,” she continued, “and we are thrilled for our community to see it.”

The Social Justice Award for Documentary Film went to Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei’s Laila at the Bridge. The jury remarked that “The filmmaker’s access to life and death events that unfolded right in front of our eyes, the personal force and dynamism of Laila fighting the powers that control money and drugs in Afghanistan on behalf of the addicts kept us riveted. Laila’s openness and deep understanding of addiction combined with the horror of the police keeping the addicts under a bridge and letting them die there was astounding.”

The Audience Choice Award sponsored by the Santa Barbara Independent went to Kasper Torsting’s In Love and War (I krig & kærlighed). 1917: A Danish soldier fighting under the German regime fakes his own death to escape the horrors in the trenches and return to his wife and son—only to find that everything has changed.

ABOUT THE SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) 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 33 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 95,000 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 34th SBIFF include: UGG®, Toyota Mirai, Belvedere Vodka, City of Santa Barbara, Amazon Studios,  ADL, Montecito Bank & Trust, IMDbPro, Union Bank, Driscoll’s, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, Bentson Foundation, SEE International, Manitou Fund, Patagonia, Winchester Mystery House, Netflix, Mary Beth Riordan, Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin, Volentine Family Foundation, and many more supporting through trade.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community throughout many free educational programs and events. In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN TO RECEIVE CINEMA VANGUARD AWARD AT SANTA BARBARA FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Cinema Vanguard Award
honoring
Michael B. Jordan

Thursday, February 7, 2019
8:00pm
Arlington Theatre

Michael B. Jordan is set to receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Cinema Vanguard Award for his work in two of the year’s critically acclaimed, culturally significant and record-breaking box office hits, Marvel’s Black Panther and Annapurna’s Creed II. Jordan will be honored Thursday, February 7th, 2019, at the historic Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, CA.

11162014-Roger-Durling_t479“It’s thrilling to honor Michael B. Jordan this year for the emboldened way he’s shown us what it means to be a movie star for the 21st century – mixing sensitivity with swagger, choosing important material that remains full of integrity yet become world phenomenon, and forging a cinematic partnership with visionary director Ryan Coogler,” says Roger Durling, Executive Director, Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Jordan first garnered industry-wide attention for his breakout role in Fruitvale Station, his first collaboration with Ryan Coogler. In 2016, Jordan launched his own production company, Outlier Society Productions, with a multiyear first-look deal with Skydance Media. In 2018, Jordan returned to the silver screen as the tormented and revenge driven Erik Kilmonger in Marvel and Disney’s Black Panther which ignited a cultural movement and went on to become the 9th highest growing film of all time at $1.3 Billion among other accolades. Additionally, Jordan got back into the producer’s seat for the highly anticipated sequel Creed II, which broke the box-office record for highest grossing Thanksgiving opening, where he also returned to his starring role as Adonis Creed. Earlier this year, Jordan was also instrumental in implementing a broad diversity and inclusion policy which has been adapted by Warner Media for all productions from HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner.

The Cinema Vanguard Award recognizes actors who have forged their own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film. Previous honorees include William DeFoe, Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jean Dujardin, Bernice Bejo, Nicole Kidman, Peter Sarsgaard, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stanley Tucci and Ryan Gosling.

Tickets Here

sbiff poster