Category Archives: Santa Barbara International Film Festival

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.

 

Nitram

 

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

Belfast

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

Selena

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!

 

 

FILM REVIEW: Caleb Landry Jones’s performance in NITRAM is brilliant!

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson. Viewed as part of the 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Based on real events and nominated for a whopping fifteen Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards with eight wins, the Caleb Landry-Jones-led Nitram, directed by Justin Kurzel, and written by Shaun Grant,  tells the story of the worst mass-killing in modern-day Australia’s history, the Port Arthur Massacre on Tasmania, April 28-29, 2006, where 35 people were killed and 23 others wounded by lone gunman Martin Bryant.

Landry-Jones portrays the mentally-challenged character known as Nitram (Martin spelled backward). Nitram, the son of an overbearing, and often condescending mother, portrayed by Judy Davis, and a compassionate and loving father portrayed by Anthony LaPaglia, suffered from depression and displayed positive psycho-social characteristics.

With an adult physical appearance and long, disheveled hair, Nitram is shown going door-to-door selling a lawnmowing service. One homeowner with her small daughter told Nitram through a cracked-opened front door that her husband cut the lawn. Nitram pushed against the door as the woman attempted to shut the door asking, “how much does your husband charge you to cut the grass?”

Landry embodied the character of Martin Bryant with a physicality displaying a slowness in mannerisms and a disassociated personality. Nevertheless, Nitram did find a homeowner, a wealthy heiress, Helen, portrayed by Essie Davis, who Nitram up on his offer to cut the grass. Helen proceeded to invite Nitram into her home and into her life. A special relationship evolved bringing joy to the socially awkward couple, seemingly.

As time passed. Nitram developed an obsession with guns after losing his father and probably causing a tragic car accident that took Helen’s life. Nitram’s mother seemingly did not possess a full capacity to exhibit love and Nitram spiraled down a dark and dangerous path culminating in a series of murders and ended with the Port Arthur Massacre on Tasmania.

Nitram will not be in the running for the feel-good film of the year. Deft cinematography combines Hollywood framing with some handheld Verite-style work and a powerful narrative give the film a polished and highly-stylized look. At its core essence, Nitram is a character-driven, cautionary tale full of challenging scene work. Moreover, Jones was named Best Actor at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and the AACTA  Best Lead Actor in Film, for his efforts as Nitram

While Nitram is not a feel-good film and has several disturbing and a couple of very violent scenes, it does attempt to shed light on the backstory of the dark days of the Port Arthur Massacre on Tasmania in its one-hour and fifty-two-minute runtime. The massacre itself was handled delicately with a closing scrolling text:

“On April 28th 1996, thirty-five people were killed and another twenty-three wounded in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The lone gunman was sentenced to thirty-five life sentences. The events of that day resulted in an overhaul of Australia’s gun laws and the introduction of a National Firearms Agreement. The reforms were agreed to in twelve days. Over 640,000 firearms were bought back by the government and destroyed. No State or Territory has been fully compliant with the National Firearms Agreement. There are now more firearms owned in Australia than in 1996.”

 

Caleb Landry Jones’s performance is brilliant and the supporting cast is superb. Nitram is highly recommended.

 

SBIFF Women’s Panel

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) Women’s Panel took place on Saturday, March 12th, featuring Diane Warren (Composer, “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days) Jessica Kingdom (Director, Ascension), Lynn Harris (Producer, King Richard), Amber Richards (Set Decorator, Power of the Dog) and Elizabeth Mirzaei (Director, Three Songs for Benazir) in a conversation led by Madelyn Hammond, Hollywood’s ‘Job Whisperer’.

 

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)

 

Highlights from the conversation included:

Harris on working with Will Smith: “He was so kind and wonderful, and generous. Generous to the other actors, especially to the young girls, it was their first big movie with a movie star… we shut down seventeen days into the pandemic… when we did come back, Will, truly as a leader, kept morale up at a time when it was very difficult and scary.”

Mrzaei on the timeliness of her documentary: “We can see what’s happening in Ukraine right now… we feel like it just can’t be an accident that we feel an ability for us to speak about the way that the world looks at the people who are considered the ‘other’. That’s why we feel this movie is important right now in a time when the world is confronting multiple wars… we hope this film helps…”

Warren on not taking ‘no’ for an answer: “Everybody on this panel has been told ‘no, you can’t do this, it’s not gonna work’. I’ve been told that so many times, it’s like ‘fuck you, yes I’m gonna do it!’ …I read something once that said you’ve gotta be dyslexic when you hear the word ‘no’ so then, it’s ‘on’!”

Jessica Kingdom on persevering to get her documentary completed: “When we first got our funding from our sales agent, they gave us a small loan to go and do the initial shoot…. We didn’t know if we could pull this off or not because the vision was so ambitious… I told the other producer, ‘the loan says we have to deliver a movie by this date, but it doesn’t say it has to be a good movie!’ …that was the mindset I was going into it with, just try to finish it. You don’t have to shoot for greatness, you just have to shoot for finishing it. And this is what we ended up with!”

Richards on picking out set décor from the United States: “I got to come over and go to prop houses here, because we don’t have that in New Zealand. I was completely blown away by the access that you have here to critical collections. I spent four and a half days here and filled a forty-foot container!”

Watch the full panel  HERE!

The 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival ran from March 2nd to March 12th.

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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. 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.

(Press release from Sunshine Sachs, Michelle Tarangelo)

SBIFF WRAPS UP WITH A SCREENING OF DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE 37TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL WRAPS UP WITH  A SCREENING OF DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER 

[Director Dave Wooley at the 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival]
(Photo Credit: Getty/Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

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 follows Warwick as she smashed through cultural, racial, and gender barriers to become the soundtrack for generations and a voice fighting for humanitarian causes. Featuring interviews with Burt Bachrach, Gladys Knight, Gloria Estefan, Snoop Dogg, Bill Clinton, and many more.

Check out director Dave Wooley’s red carpet interview:

 

 

The 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival ran from March 2nd to March 12th. Stay tuned for more!

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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. 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.

(Press release courtesy of Sunshine Sachs, Michelle Tarangelo)

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: SBIFF.org/Ukraine.

 

(News release courtesy of Michelle Tarangelo, Sunshine Sachs)

SBIFF Announces Award-winning Films!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

2022 SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

AWARD-WINNING FILMS ANNOUNCED

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, is excited to announce the award-winning films for the 37th edition. Awards were announced at a ceremony this morning hosted by Maune Contemporary Gallery in Santa Barbara with Jury and Filmmakers in attendance.

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.

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.

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.

(News release provided  by Michelle Tarangelo, Sunshine Sachs)

 

JAVIER BARDEM AND NICOLE KIDMAN ACCEPT  MALTIN MODERN MASTER AWARD AT THE 37TH ANNUAL  SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

JAVIER BARDEM AND NICOLE KIDMAN ACCEPT 

MALTIN MODERN MASTER AWARD AT THE 37TH ANNUAL 

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (March 10, 2022) – The final tribute of the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG featured a tribute to Academy Award winners, Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman, who received the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award. Bardem and Kidman were recognized for their long-standing contributions to the film industry, most recently in the roles of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s BEING THE RICARDOS from Amazon Studios, for which they both received individual Lead Actor SAG Award nominations.

They sat down with Leonard Maltin, who returned for his 32nd year to moderate the evening for an insightful conversation and look back at their careers.

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 10: Todd Black (R) presents Javier Bardem with the Maltin Modern Master Award during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on March 10, 2022, in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Following the conversation with Maltin, Producer Todd Black presented both with the Maltin Modern Master Award. Todd remarked: “You’re [Nicole] probably one of the most humble people I’ve ever met in my career, and very kind…Every day walking on that set with Javier and being completely present, kind, and personable to every crew member…and delivering it 100% every day. It was kind of a dream come true for me,” and “Who he [Javier] is here is who he is. He’s as humble and sweet and gracious and funny and professional as any person I’ve ever met in my career.”

 

Upon accepting the award, Bardem said: “I’m very honored, I don’t want to leave this stage! …seeing these images on the big screen after two years, in a theater full of people… it’s a joy for an actor.”

The Modern Master Award was established in 1995 and is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Past recipients include Bill Murray, Judy Garland, Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, George Clooney, and Peter Jackson.

Still upcoming is the women’s panel. The 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG®, will take place IN-PERSON through March 12, 2022. 200+ films, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. This year’s lineup is available on SBIFF’s mobile app. For additional information or to buy passes, visit sbiff.org.

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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. 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.

(Press release courtesy of Michelle Tarangelo, Sunshine Sachs)

Jane Campion Presents Benedict Cumberbatch with Cinema Vanguard Award at 37th SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

JANE CAMPION PRESENTS BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

 WITH CINEMA VANGUARD AWARD AT THE 37TH ANNUAL 

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (March 9, 2022) – Day 8 of the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG featured a tribute to Benedict Cumberbatch, who received the Cinema Vanguard Award. Cumberbatch was honored for his remarkable career and most recent performance in Jane Campion’s THE POWER OF THE DOG on Netflix.

THE POWER OF THE DOG: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG. (Photo credit: KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021)

 

During Cumberbatch’s conversation with Hammond, guests enjoyed clips from his acting career, including 12 Years A Slave, The Imitation Game, Sherlock, Dr. Strange, Patrick Melrose, Stephen Hawking’s Universe, and Power of the Dog.

Following Cumberbatch’s conversation with Hammond, Jane Campion presented him with the Cinema Vanguard Award. When presenting, Campion told Cumberbatch, “Every generation has their wunderkinder. First, there was Olivier, then there was Daniel Day-Lewis… and now there is you.”

 

 

Upon accepting his award, Cumberbatch said: “Vanguard means to be at the front of something, doesn’t it? You can’t really be at the front of anything without anyone behind you… I do feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of many, many people… I thank every single one of you that has paid for a ticket and gone to a theater…”

 

 

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 Carey Mulligan, Laura Dern, Michael B. Jordan, William DeFoe, Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, Nicole Kidman, Peter Sarsgaard, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stanley Tucci, and Ryan Gosling.

Upcoming live conversations and tributes will include presentations to Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem and the women’s panel. The 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG®, will take place IN-PERSON through March 12, 2022. 200+ films, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. This year’s lineup is available on SBIFF’s mobile app. For additional information or to buy passes, visit sbiff.org.

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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. 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.

(Press release courtesy of Sunshine Sachs, Michelle Tarangelo. Video courtesy of YTS Film)

SOPHIA LOREN PRESENTS PENELOPE CRUZ WITH MONTECITO AWARD AT THE 37TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SOPHIA LOREN PRESENTS PENELOPE CRUZ WITH MONTECITO AWARD AT THE 37TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (March 8, 2022) – Day 7 of the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG featured a tribute to Penelope Cruz, who received the Montecito Award. Cruz was recognized for her impressive career and performance in Pedro Almodóvar’s PARALLEL MOTHERS from Sony Pictures Classic.

Cruz sat down with SBIFF Executive Director, Roger Durling, for an in-depth discussion about her journey to stardom and her impressive career in film and television.

Upon accepting her award, Cruz said, “It’s really difficult not to cry after seeing my friend Sophia dedicate those words to me. I love her with all my heart… Thank you, Santa Barbara International Film Festival. I have so many great memories because I was here many years ago with Roger, who is always so kind and so generous to us… I want to share this with Pedro and use this opportunity to thank him again for his trust, for pushing me, for being able to imagine me doing things that I cannot even imagine myself doing.”

 

The Montecito Award is named after one of the most beautiful and stylish areas in Santa Barbara. Past recipients include Amanda Seyfreid, Lupita Nyong’o, Melissa McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan, Isabelle Huppert, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Bill Condon, and Naomi Watts.

Upcoming live conversations and tributes will include presentations to Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the women’s panel. The 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG®, will take place IN-PERSON through March 12, 2022. 200+ films, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. This year’s lineup is available on SBIFF’s mobile app. For additional information or to buy passes, visit sbiff.org.

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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. 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.

(Press release courtesy of Sunshine Sachs)

Will Smith’s Big Personality on Full Display in Santa Barbara

Posted by Larry Gleeson

WILL SMITH AND AUNJANUE ELLIS ACCEPT OUTSTANDING PERFORMER OF THE YEAR AWARD AND ANIMATORS IN CONVERSATION AT THE 37TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (March 6, 2022) – Day 5 of the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival featured a tribute presented by Manitou Fund to Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis, who received the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award, for their outstanding performances in this year’s “King Richard” from Warner Bros Pictures.

Smith and Ellis sat down with The Hollywood Reporter’s longtime awards columnist and host of its popular Awards Chatter podcast, Scott Feinberg for an in-depth discussion about their cinematic careers.

Following their conversation with Feinberg, King Richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green presented them with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award. Reinaldo opened his remarks by saying: “It is absolutely my pleasure and honor to present tonight’s award for Outstanding Performers of the Year to the stars of King Richard, Will Smith, and Aunjanue Ellis. Working with these two was like sitting in on a master class every day. We’ve all seen Will knock it out of the park for years, so I expected greatness. But when he stepped into the role as Richard Williams, I was blown away. The way he embodied this man, this father, with a commitment, it was truly special to see. Aunjanue Ellis, wow. As my mentor Spike Lee would say, she’s da truth. She brought this quiet intensity and absolutely crushed every scene she was in. Working with both Will and Aunjanue was truly one of the joys of my early career.”

 

 

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 Sacha Baron Cohen, Adam Driver, 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.

Earlier in the day featured the newest panel at the festival, the Animation Panel. Attendees gathered for Charise Castro Smith – Co-Writer/Co-Director (ENCANTO), Charlotte De Le Gournerie – Producer (FLEE), Enrico Casarosa – Co-Writer/Director (LUCA) Mike Rianda – Co-Writer/Co-Director (THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES), Don Hall – Co-Director (RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON) in conversation, led by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Upcoming live conversations and tributes will include presentations to Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Oscar-nominated artisans. The 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG®, will take place IN-PERSON through March 12, 2022. 200+ films, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. This year’s lineup is available on SBIFF’s mobile app. For additional information or to buy passes, visit sbiff.org.

 

 

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 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ 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. 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.

(Press release provided by Michelle Tarangelo, Sunshine Sachs)