Category Archives: #SBIFF

SBIFF’s Maltin Modern Master Award announced!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

BILL MURRAY
MALTIN MODERN MASTER AWARD
FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2021
TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON

Academy Award-nominated actor and American film legend Bill Murray is set to receive the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award at the 36th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Murray will be honored on Friday, April 2nd for his long-standing contributions to the film industry, most recently in the role of Felix Keane in Sofia Coppola’s ON THE ROCKS opposite Rashida Jones and Marlon Wayans, for which he received Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice nominations. Leonard Maltin will return for his 30th year to moderate the evening.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 02: Leonard Maltin and Glenn Close speak onstage at the Maltin Modern Master Award Honoring Glenn Close during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 2, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

“Bill Murray is one of a kind,” says Leonard Maltin. “He developed a comic persona early on that’s still as potent as ever, while expanding his reach and range as an actor. The boyish goofball in CADDYSHACK has become a playboy dad in ON THE ROCKS, with many dazzling and daring stops along the way. I have been an unabashed fan, from GHOSTBUSTERS to LOST IN TRANSLATION, so it is a privilege and honor to present Bill Murray with this year’s Maltin Modern Master Award.”

Murray, who received his first Academy Award nomination for Coppola’s LOST IN TRANSLATION in 2004, is also a six-time Golden Globe Award nominee, and a three-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee. His iconic filmography includes roles in MEATBALLS, CADDYSHACK, STRIPES, TOOTSIE, GHOSTBUSTERS, THE RAZOR’S EDGE, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, SCROOGED, WHAT ABOUT BOB?, GROUNDHOG DAY, MAD DOG AND GLORY, ED WOOD, KINGPIN, WILD THINGS, RUSHMORE, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, LOST IN TRANSLATION, COFFEE AND CIGARETTES, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, BROKEN FLOWERS, THE DARJEELING LIMITED, FANTASTIC MR. FOX, GET LOW, MOONRISE KINGDOM, HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, ST. VINCENT, ISLE OF DOGS, and THE DEAD DON’T DIE.

Murray, who is a comedy and acting icon, began his career in 1975 on the ABC Variety Show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. One year later, Murray joined the cast of NBC’s long-running and award-winning Saturday Night Live, which then was only in its second season. In 1979, Murray landed his first lead role in a feature film as Tripper Harrison in Harold Ramis’ MEATBALLS. He has gone on to star in nearly 70 feature films, for directors ranging from Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson, to Tim Burton and Frank Oz, Ivan Reitman and Peter and Bobby Farrelly, to Richard Donner and Sofia Coppola. His role in Coppola’s LOST IN TRANSLATION, opposite Scarlett Johansson, earned Murray a Screen Actors Guild nomination, a Golden Globe and BAFTA award, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

In his latest role as Felix Keane in Coppola’s ON THE ROCKS, which made its world premiere at the 2020 New York Film Festival, Murray received some of the best reviews of his career. Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Coppola brings out all of Murray’s many colors, sometimes all at once – his flippancy, his authority, his warmth, his isolation, his expressiveness, his inability to say everything he wants to say.” Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post said, “in the pantheon of perfect Bill Murray roles – ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Groundhog Day,’ ‘Lost In Translation’ – his smooth-talking character in the new comedy ‘On The Rocks’ ranks as one of the best.” Justin Chang at the Los Angeles Times wrote, “You see in Felix the deadpan anarchic streak that has made Murray a force in American comedy for decades.” Alonso Duralde at The Wrap wrote, “One suspects we will think of Murray’s work here alongside the likes of Bette Davis in All About Eve.”

ON THE ROCKS was released in Fall 2020 by Apple TV+ and A24, produced by Coppola and Youree Henley, and features an original screenplay by Coppola.

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 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.

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place March 31st through April 10th, 2021. More information as well as Festival passes and tickets, will be available in the coming weeks at www.sbiff.org.

 

SBIFF’s Montecito Award announced!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Actress Amanda Seyfried will receive the Montecito Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). Seyfried will be honored on Friday, April 9th, 2021, and will be recognized for her impressive career and performance in David Fincher’s MANK from Netflix, for which she recently received Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice nominations.

 

 

“Amanda gives one of the best performances of 2020 in “Mank,” and makes us do a double-take about her whole career. This is a defining moment for her, and a rediscovery for us,” comments SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling.

SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling delivers introductory remarks at the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 16th, 2020, at the historic Arlington Theatre, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

The Montecito Award is named after one of the most beautiful and stylish areas in Santa Barbara. Past recipients include 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.

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from March 31st through April 10th, 2021. More information, as well as Festival passes and tickets, will be available in the coming weeks at www.sbiff.org.

 

(Source: SBIFF News Release)

SBIFF’s Outstanding Performer of the Year announced!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SACHA BARON COHEN
OUTSTANDING PERFORMER OF THE YEAR AWARD
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 2021
TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON

Sacha Baron Cohen will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Baron Cohen will be honored on Wednesday, April 7 for his critically acclaimed work in both Aaron Sorkin’s THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 from Netflix and BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM from Amazon Studios.

Roger Durling (photo by Clint Weisman Studio)

“In 2020, Mr. Cohen twice was able to capture our interest, our imagination as well as the zeitgeist. His work in both films is timely, urgent, and nuanced,” noted SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling.

An Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Golden Globe-winning actor, Sacha Baron Cohen is unmatched in his skills as a multi-hyphenate actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of iconic characters Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno Gehard, Admiral General Aladeen, and Erran Morrad. Baron Cohen has also starred in Adam McKay’s TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBYMartin Scorsese’s HUGO, Tom Hooper’s LES MISÉRABLES, and Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET.

Most recently, Baron Cohen starred in two politically driven and emotionally resonate films. Among a brilliant ensemble of actors in Aaron Sorkin’s THE TRIAL OF CHICAGO 7, Baron Cohen shines as real-life yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Critics hailed his performance noting he is “savvy and soulfully aware of his urgency” and that he “brought deep resonance” with his performance as Hoffman. Similarly, Baron Cohen returned as his iconic character, “Borat,” in the global hit satire BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime For Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which he produced and co-wrote, and according to The New York Times’ AO Scott was “the best film of the year.” Additional critics declared Baron Cohen is “a brave comic genius, a new-age Peter Sellers” and “a master.”

Sacha Baron Cohen, above, named the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Outstanding Performer of the Year for his work in two socio-political films, The Chicago 7, and, Borat Subsequent Movie Film. The award will be presented on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Photo: LA Times)

“It’s an honor to be recognized and to stand in the company of such incredible past recipients,” said Baron Cohen. “I’m very grateful to Roger, SBIFF, and everyone who believes that cinema, whether drama or satire, can shine a light on injustice and bigotry and even provide a laugh or two along the way.”

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 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.

Margot Robbie, left, and Allison Janney, are introduced at the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award Tribute for the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, at the Arlington Theatre, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from March 31st through April 10th, 2021. More information, as well as Festival passes and tickets, will be available in the coming weeks at www.sbiff.org.

(From SBIFF news release)

 

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL SHIFTS DATES TO MARCH 31 – APRIL 10, 2021

Posted By Larry Gleeson

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES DATE SHIFT TO MARCH 31 – APRIL 10, 2021 FOR 36TH ANNUAL EVENT

SANTA BARBARA, CA (June 17, 2020) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, today announced a shift in dates for the 36th annual event, which will now take place from March 31 – April 10, 2021.

The festival, which typically occurs in January, has adjusted its 2021 dates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the concern for the health and well-being of the community. This shift from the previously announced dates (January 27 – February 6, 2021) recognizes the impact the global pandemic has had on the film community and beyond.

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SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

“Like so many other prestigious ceremonies and events, we’ve had to adjust our plans in this extremely unprecedented era,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “There has never been a more critical time to celebrate cinema and its ability to get us through extremely challenging circumstances, whether on a personal level or on a global scale, by keeping us entertained, informed and inspired.”

SBIFF will once again bring 200+ films featuring over 120 world and US premieres, industry panels, celebrity tributes, and educational and free community programs to Santa Barbara, with screenings and events held throughout the city, including the Arlington and Lobero Theatres.

Last year’s 35th annual festival included nightly tributes honoring artists including Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Laura Dern, Bong Joon-ho, Aldis Hodge, George MacKay, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Taron Egerton, Awkwafina, Florence Pugh, Taylor Russell, and more.

For more information and to purchase tickets, festival passes, and packages, please visit www.sbiff.org.

*Featured photo: Writer/Director Vanessa Filho on the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival Red Carpet for the U.S. Premiere of Baby Face, starring Marion Cotillard and Ayline Aksoy-Etaix. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

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 35 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.

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.

sbiff3

(Source: Press release provided by Blair Bender, Sunshine Sachs)

Santa Barbara Film Festival Wraps A Successful 2020

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SBIFF35_Durling_Gallagher-1
SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, left, and Bronagh Gallgher, of the 2020 Opening Night Film, A Bump Along the Way, onstage at the historic Arlington, Theatre, in Santa Barbara, Calif., January 15th, 2020. (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) exploded with Opening Night film, A Bump Along the Way, and hit a new benchmark with its fan-adoring tributes and special programming – and that’s in addition to the well established and diversified international offerings, the Writers Panel, Producers Panel and Women in the Biz Panel.

A Bump Along the Way delivered a raucous and thought-provoking narrative about “a middle-aged woman whose unexpected pregnancy after a one-night stand acts as the catalyst for her to finally take control of her life and become the role model her teenage daughter needs and craves.” Moments of emotionally taut sequences followed by well-timed comic relief set a high benchmark for the rest of the festival offerings.

Bong
Parasite Director Bong Joon Ho (Photo courtesy of SBIFF)

A highpoint of this year’s fest was 2020 Oscar-winning Parasite Director Bong Joon Ho accepting the Outstanding Director of the Year Award at SBIFF. Before receiving the award, Joon-Ho, — accompanied by filmmaker and interpreter Sharon Choi — sat down with The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg for an insightful conversation. Afterward, Director Bong Joon Ho accepting the award commented,

 

35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Directors Of The Year
Translator Sharon Choi, left, and Bong Joon-ho speak onstage at the Outstanding Directors of the Year during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theatre on January 23, 2020, in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

“It’s been 26 years since I’ve been working as a filmmaker. Because I write all of my scripts myself, I’m quite slow, so personally I’m a little disappointed that I’ve only created seven feature films until now, but when I look back on my past 25 years my life has been quite simple. It’s been about watching films and making films. Only those two things…Ever since I got here and Santa Barbara, I’ve kept looking back trying to figure out if I’m truly outstanding as this award says. But I still think I have a lot of opportunities left. I don’t really want to talk about my age, but recently I’ve been meeting Scorsese very often, and I still have 25 years considering how he is doing right now.”

With over 200 films screening, it’s always a challenge to pick award winners. Here is a list of this year’s award-winning films:

Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent:

Richard Hobert’s The Birdcatcher’s Son (Fågelfångarens son)

Best Documentary Short Film Award:

Henry Roosevelt’s Sixth of June

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film:

Jianna Maartin’s Sin Cielo

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film:

Jonathan Langager’s Cosmic Fling

Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International:

Brian Morrison’s Bastards’ Road

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film:

Fatos Berisha’s The Flying Circus (Cirku Fluturues)

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema:

William Nicholson’s Hope Gap

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema:

Gerardo Herrero’s The Goya Murders

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film:

Jesper W. Nielsen’s The Exception (Undtagelsen)

ADL Stand Up Award sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties:

Lydia Dean Pilcher’s Liberté: A Call to Spy

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film:

Katherin Hervey’s The Prison Within

One of my favorite films was Gutterbee (open link for a full review) from Danish filmmaker Ulrich Thomsen.

Festival Director Roger Durling had this to say about this year’s edition:

roger-durling-photo-by-clint-weisman-studio-200x300
SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling

“It’s been a wonderful 35 years celebrating international cinema as well as our local roots.  We are grateful for all of the staff, volunteers, audiences and filmmakers that were able to join us at SBIFF to come together as a community to celebrate over 200 films – forge a sense of community and love that defies boundary,” SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

SBIFF honorees were well represented at the 92nd Oscar Awards on Sunday, February 8th. Here is a run-down with a few pictures for effect:

Best Picture ~ Parasite – Kwak Sin Ae was on the Producers Panel

Rene
Renee Zellweger (Photo courtesy of SBIFF)

Best Actress ~ Renée Zellweger was honored with the American Riviera Award

Best Director and Best Original Screenplay ~ Bong Joon Ho was honored with the Outstanding Director of the Year Award

Dern
Laura Dern (Photo courtesy of SBIFF)

Best Supporting Actress ~ Laura Dern was honored with the Cinema Vanguard Award

Brad
Brad Pitt (Photo courtesy of SBIFF)

Best Supporting Actor ~ Brad Pitt was honored with the Maltin Modern Master Award

Best Animated Feature ~ Toy Story 4 – Director Josh Cooley joined us for Mike’s FieldTrip to the Movies

Best Production Design ~ Barbara Ling was honored with the Variety Artisans Award

Documentary Feature ~ American Factory – Director Julia Reichert was on the Women’s Panel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling ~ Bombshell – Kazu Hiro was honored with the Variety Artisans Award and Anne Morgan was on the Women’s Panel

Best International Feature Film ~ Parasite was featured as a free screening along with the Bong Joon Ho retrospective

 

Admittedly, I had some fun this year on the red carpet. Here are a few snippets:

Actor Daniel Stern philosophizes on James vs His Future Self.

 

Mayor Cathy graces the Opening Night red carpet!

 

SBIFF35_Mayor Cathy-1
Santa Barbara Mayor, Cathy Murillo, at the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s  Opening Night red carpet, on January 15, 2020, at the historic Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

What is a Gutterbee? Ulrich Thomsen lets it fly…and it’s quite a ride!

 

A lovely cast and director – The Marijuana Conspiracy.

 

 

Yes, it’s a real falcon looking for prey! Yikes!!!

 

 

The closing night program featured Santa Barbara short documentaries spotlighting locals places and peeps including the Carrizo Plain and a parking garage guitar player! Only in Santa Barbara will you see such a diverse and dazzling display of art and talent.

Next year’s dates have been announced: The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, will return for the 36th edition January 27th – February 6th, 2021. Mark your calendars!

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

sbiff3

 

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.

Sponsors of the 35th SBIFF include: UGG®, Belvedere Vodka, Netflix, Toyota Mirai, City of Santa Barbara, ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties, Montecito Bank & Trust, Union Bank, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, Sephora, Bentson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, SEE International, Manitou Fund, Patagonia, Winchester Mystery House, Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin, Volentine Family Foundation, Boxed Water Is Better, Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation, California Arts Council and many more supporting through trade.

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.

 

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES WINNERS AND 2021 DATES

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SANTA BARBARA, CA (January 25, 2020) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, will return for the 36th edition January 27th – February 6th, 2021. 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.

SBIFF35_Durling-1-2
SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling delivers remarks during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Riviera Award Tribute honoring Rene Zellwegger at the  histporic Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

“It’s been a wonderful 35 years celebrating international cinema as well as our local roots.  We are grateful for all of the staff, volunteers, audiences and filmmakers that were able to join us at SBIFF to come together as a community to celebrate over 200 films – forge a sense of community and love that defies boundary,” SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Also announced today were the award-winning films for the 35th 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 Richard Hobert’s The Birdcatcher’s Son (Fågelfångarens son). The films were chosen by jury members Jason Baffa, Max Barbakow, Lisa Black, Alex Carter, Geoff Green, Paul Kurta, Perry Lang, Artie Schmidt, Rita Taggart, Diego Tinoco, John Williams, and Anthony & Arnette Zerbe.

Congratulations to ALL the Winners:

Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent: 

Richard Hobert’s The Birdcatcher’s Son (Fågelfångarens son)

Best Documentary Short Film Award: 

Henry Roosevelt’s Sixth of June

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film:

Jianna Maartin’s Sin Cielo

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: 

Jonathan Langager’s Cosmic Fling

Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International:

Brian Morrison’s Bastards’ Road

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film:

Fatos Berisha’s The Flying Circus (Cirku Fluturues)

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: 

William Nicholson’s Hope Gap

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: 

Gerardo Herrero’s The Goya Murders

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film: 

Jesper W. Nielsen’s The Exception (Undtagelsen)

ADL Stand Up Award sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties: 

Lydia Dean Pilcher’s Liberté: A Call to Spy

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: 

Katherin Hervey’s The Prison Within

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.

Sponsors of the 35th SBIFF include: UGG®, Belvedere Vodka, Netflix, Toyota Mirai, City of Santa Barbara, ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties, Montecito Bank & Trust, Union Bank, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, Sephora, Bentson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, SEE International, Manitou Fund, Patagonia, Winchester Mystery House, Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin, Volentine Family Foundation, Boxed Water Is Better, Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation, California Arts Council and many more supporting through trade.

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.

SBIFF35 Poster

(Source: SBIFF Press release)

LAURA DERN ACCEPTS CINEMA VANGUARD AWARD AT 35TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SBIFF35 Poster

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (January 22, 2020) – Day 7 of the 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presented by UGG featured an insightful tribute to Laura Dern, who received the lauded Cinema Vanguard Award for her remarkable career and most recent performances in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. Pete Hammond, Deadline’s Awards Editor and Chief Film Critic, moderated the evening, and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos presented Dern with the award.

Highlights from the conversation included: 

  • On why she currently wants to be an actress: “I’m having so much damn fun, it’s amazing. And it wasn’t so fun as a teenager. I think I was caught up in the angst of it all. And trying to chase this idea of being an artist instead of realizing the privilege of doing what you love and the privilege of telling stories, and working with amazing storytellers. To not feel that it was overstated or arrogant to talk about the potential of the healing through art. For us that make art, for those that witness art – we have a very broken home and we’re all trying to figure it out. To have fierce and radical storytellers in film and television and documentaries is the work. We’re so blessed. So to have anything to do with that just radical good fortune.”
  • On the famous Ellen episode when she comes out as a lesbian: It spoke to a moment. We have this opportunity to talk about what matters and I think Citizen Ruth gave birth to that longing in me, why I fell in love with movies, and had that opportunity… and be a part of something profoundly historic. We all had a life-changing experience being a part of that episode in terms of backlash and how radically different we hoped the world looked then.”
  • On her experience filming Star Wars with modern day technology: It was an amazing experience. I’ll never forget walking on the set and [the director] saying ‘action,’ and looking up to say my lines – all of which I expected – but then R2D2 and C-3PO are standing in front of me and it’s crazy. I never need to take a hallucinogenic, I did a Star Wars film.”
  • On a possible Season 3 of Big Little Lies in the works: “I’ll never say no to Renata Klein, she’d kill me. I love that character and we’ll see what they come up with. I fell so in love that character.”
  • On her love for Marriage Story: It was an incredible gift just to witness the movie. I read the script and cried for 20 minutes. I’ve seen the movie five times – I cry every time. I often forget my involvement in it because I find it so deeply personal.”

During Dern’s conversation with Hammond, the audience was treated to various clips from her career, including the films Citizen Ruth, Blue Velvet, Wild Angels, Wild, 99 Homes, Marriage Story, Little Women and more.

Following Dern’s one-on-one conversation with Hammond, Sarandos took the stage to present her with the Cinema Vanguard award, stating: “I had the privilege of being close to Marriage Story from the very beginning. I , like Laura, cried from the very beginning, I knew that this role was written for her, and that she brought that character to life like nobody else in the world could.

The audience was on their feet as Dern and approached the podium to accept her award. In her remarks, Dern recognized Sarandos’s support of art and artists, saying: “I’ve watched artists just fight fight fight to get their stories told and made, and [Ted’s]  just waiting with open arms to make sure artists get the stories told.”

Two-time Academy Award® nominee, Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Dern has touched audiences and critics alike with her moving and heartfelt performances. Currently starring in two of the biggest films of the year Netflix’s Marriage Story and Sony’s Little Women, Dern has also won four Golden Globe Awards with seven nominations, as well as earned a Primetime Emmy Award and seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations.  On television, Dern was most recently seen as Renata in the second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” which aired on HBO this past summer.

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 Michael B. Jordan, 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.

The 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs from January 15-25, 2020. For more information, and to purchase tickets, festival passes and packages, please visit www.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. 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 panels, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire people through the power of film. We celebrate the art of cinema and provide impactful educational experiences for our local, national and global communities.

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. In May 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.

 

SBIFF 35

(Source: SBIFF Press Release)

 

BONG JOON HO TO BE HONORED WITH OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD AT 2020 SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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SANTA BARBARA, CA (JANUARY 21, 2020) – Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG is thrilled to present auteur filmmaker Bong Joon Ho with the prestigious Outstanding Director of the Year Award on Thursday, January 23 for his six-time Oscar nominated film PARASITE. After making history at the SAG Awards for the first foreign language film to win Best Ensemble, SBIFF will be honoring Director Bong with a day long career retrospective, culminating in an evening tribute. He will be only the fourth recipient to receive this solo honor in the festival’s history. The event will take place at the Arlington Theatre.

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SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

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“As an international film festival, director Bong and his film PARASITE transcend every category and genre globally. Funny, poignant, and thrilling, the film has been embraced around the world and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is ecstatic to continue to shine the light on one of the best filmmakers there is and his remarkable oeuvre,” states Executive Director Roger Durling.

SBIFF will be screening MEMORIES OF MURDER, THE HOST, MOTHER and PARASITE leading up the Outstanding Director of the Year tribute.
Parasite is the seventh feature film from the acclaimed Bong Joon Ho, following on from Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), Memories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2013), and Okja (2017). The modern-day classic Memories of Murder delves into the investigation behind a well-known serial murder case that was never solved, depicting the authoritarian era of the time with satire and sharp insight. The Host takes as its basis the abduction of a young girl by a strange creature that crawls out of the Han River, turning the monster movie genre on its head while also issuing stinging social commentary. And finally, Mother, the story of a woman trying to protect her son from a murder charge, is a dark portrait of motherly love taken to the extreme.

Known for his cutting, socially incisive wit and twisting of genre conventions, Bong Joon Ho has continually raised questions about social institutions and societal inequalities with his unique blend of humor, emotion and suspense. In this sense, Parasite is both highly characteristic of Bong Joon Ho’s work, while at the same time evolving to a new level.

Making history as the first South Korean film to win the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and to be nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Production Design, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite lit a fire among audiences and critics alike. Over 250 critics have anointed this masterwork as one of the best films of the year. More than 75 of those have ranked it #1 in their annual “top 10 lists.” Parasite won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the SAG Award for Best Ensemble. Bong has earned nominations from DGA for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film; WGA for Best Original Screenplay; PGA for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures; and BAFTA for Best Film, Film Not in the English Language, Director, and Original Screenplay.

The Outstanding Director of the Year Award has previously been presented to Danny Boyle (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE), Kathryn Bigelow (HURT LOCKER), David Fincher (BENJAMIN BUTTON) and David O ‘Russell (AMERICAN HUSTLE).

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 by SBIFF.org)

 

FILM CAPSULE: A WORM IN THE HEART

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A riveting journey!

A WORM IN THE HEART, an extraordinary documentary about LGBTQ+ life in Russia, world premiered at the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival on Friday, January 17th.

A WORM IN THE HEART details the extraordinary lives and brave stories of the diverse LGBTQ+ communities across Russia. Shot in six cities along the Trans-Siberian railway and utilizing intimate interviews about current Russian life, this documentary features deeply personal and moving accounts from activists and non-activists alike. The film follows Paul Rice and Liam Jackson Montgomery, a gay couple from Ireland and Wales, as they meet with the many heroic members of the LGBTQ+ community who risk their lives living authentically under oppressive laws and prejudices – from Nobel Peace prize nominees and international activists to drag queen performers thriving in remote Siberia. A WORM IN THE HEART is a never before seen collection of emotionally driven stories captured on their journey that poignantly documents the current state of the Russian LGBTQ+ community.

Said director Paul Rice, “The people I met with along this journey have profoundly impacted mine and my partner Liam’s life, and I hope that this documentary will spread their stories and messages further afield. The LGBTQ+ community is not confined to national borders, and I believe it is entirely our global responsibility to use our voices and talents to support the rights of LBGTQ+ communities in Russia.”

The film will be playing festivals throughout the year.

 

FILM REVIEW: Gutterbee (Ulrich Thomsen, 2019), Denmark

Posted by Larry Gleeson

First film I see for the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) sponsored by UGG, packs an unexpected, invisible wallop to the sensibilities. Making its US Premiere at SBIFF following its World Premiere at the São Paulo International Film GutterbeeFestival, Gutterbee, a character-driven, “social satire about the nexus of identity fear, where religion becomes an intellectual cul-de-sac, and racism, homophobia and intolerance reign supreme,”  provides, at a minimum, a snapshot of what life in small town, rural America looks like from an international perspective. It also reveals a solution on how to forge an elevated pathway into a better, more inclusive existence without forgetting who we are and where we came from.

Writer/director/producer Ulrich Thomsen encases his deeply felt messaging inside two dreamers who set out to open the “ultimate German Sausage restaurant: The Gourmet House of Refuge.” Anthony Starr (The Boys) portrays Mike Dankworth McCoid, a good-hearted bloke who has just been granted a prison release, while Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) portrays Edward Hofler, a German sausage zealot. The two complement and play off one another as well as American film comedy duo, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Gutterbee opens with a simple black and white title frame coupled with non-diegetic, Western music. With noir-style composition, Thomsen immediately begins exposing the dark aspects of rural life and culture spouting throughout the Americana landscape with a voice-over narrative of the town sheriff, played by Chance Kelly. Deftly, he reveals current topics of discussion including gender conversion therapy, greed disguised in the form of wealth gospel preachers, racism, xenophobia, bestiality, superstitions, and bullying, and how these behaviors continue to thrive.

Gutterbee is, by choice, not a major film studio production. It is a filmmaker’s truth. Thomsen derived the material and created his art from his experience including many years working in the United States, his monitoring of presidential tweets, and historical trivia on the art of sausage-making. Nevertheless, it is a professionally orchestrated production.

Oscar-winner Anthony Dod Mantle’s cinematography [Best Achievement in Cinematography Slumdog Millionaire (2008)] is stellar. The cast is strong with authentic performances from W. Earl Brown (Preacher, Deadwood: The Movie), Pia Mechler, Joshua Harto, Clark Middleton, and Gareth Williams. Scott Christopher Clark’s art direction, via the mise-en-scene, keeps the viewer wary and engaged. The costuming, designed by Suzanne Barnes, is spot on. And, the music from George Kallis, Breakthrough Composer of the Year 2018, International Film Music Critics Award, captivates.

In addition to the very noirish low key lighting and dramatic use of shadows, Gutterbee employs high key lighting, augmenting a plethora of comedic relief juxtaposed against the garishness of the depicted rural culture. Savvy writing allows for a natural and rhythmic flow adroitly addressing social concerns. The editing from Soren B Ebbe is expertly carried out and the use of jump cuts, a verified comedic device, is nicely woven into the film’s fabric.

Thomsen’s artistic snapshot of Americana in Gutterbee left me dumbfounded. In a brilliantly executed film, a message of hope is revealed amidst the human condition of rural Americans. Important to note, the majority of rural dwellers in the United States are of Germanic descent. Having grown up in a German-American community, I appreciated the inclusion of Germanic cultural artifacts including, but not limited to, lederhosen and the St. Pauli Girl-style costuming. Seemingly, the hope for the future of America lies within their rich, cultural hands. Ask, or in the case of Gutterbee, knock, and it shall be opened. Highly recommended film and wildly entertaining!