Tag Archives: Claudia Puig

SBIFF 2023 Press Conference

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Patrica Chidlaw unveils her artwork for the Official 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival Poster. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)


The 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is just around the corner with its slated run from February 8th to the 18th. While Santa Barbara is historically known as a Hollywood film premiere town, SBIFF announced this morning at its 2023 press conference, held at the Sullivan Goss Art Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara, a whopping 52 world premiere films as well as 78 US premieres! In all 43 countries will be represented through the visual medium of film. Los Angeles-based critic, Claudia Puig, is back as the festival’s programming director.


SBIFF 2023 will kick off on Opening Night Wednesday, February 8 with the WORLD Premiere of MIRANDA’S VICTIM. Directed by Michelle Danner and starring Abigail Breslin, Ryan Phillippe, Luke Wilson, Donald Sutherland, Mireille Enos and Andy Garcia.

It’s 1963 when eighteen-year-old Patricia “Trish” Weir is kidnapped and brutally raped at knife-point. Committed to putting Ernesto Miranda in prison, Trish’s life is destroyed by America’s legal system as she triggers a law that transforms the nation.


SBIFF 2023 will close on Saturday, February 18 with the US Premiere of I LIKE MOVIES. Directed by Chandler Levack and starring Isaiah Lehtinen, Romina D’Ugo, Krista Bridges, Percy Hynes White.

Lawrence, a socially inept, 17-year-old cinephile, gets a job at a video store, where he forms a complicated friendship with his older female manager.

SBIFF Festival Roger Durling provides a sneak peek of the 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, slated to run from February 8th to February 23rd, 2023, this morning January 18th, at the Sullivan Goss Art Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Larry GLeeson/HollywoodGlee)

During his tenure as festival director, Roger Durling, a master of his craft, has shown an uncanny ability in guiding the Santa Barbara Film Festival to a very organic, unique and distinct flavor. And, this year seems to be no exception. Mexican film auteur, Guillermo del Toro, has signed on to mentor a master class with his latest film, Pinocchio,  to 3rd graders as part of the ever-expanding Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies (named after long-time festival advocate Mike DeGruy). In addition, SBIFF staffer Claire Waterhouse is spearheading the festival’s Film Studies Program to 30 student recipients from across the country. SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling stated this morning, “At a time where there’s a dwindling of movie theater attendance, the role of film festivals has never been more important. At SBIFF, with the 38th edition, our marching orders are clear, to celebrate movies and to nurture and exalt the film community, the artists as well as the cinephiles. It’s a great slate with 43 countries represented.”

Moreover, the festival has a formidable lineup of panels, tributes, and filmmaker seminars in store. Stay tuned for more!

Passes and tickets are available here.

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 Announces Award-winning Films!

Posted by Larry Gleeson



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)



The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), comprised of professional film critics working in the Los Angeles print and electronic media, has announced it will Shirley MacLaine with its Career Achievement Award on January 17th, 2017 in Century City, California at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Ms. MacLaine, one of Hollywood’s legendary leading ladies, has an extensive body of work beginning with her breakthrough performance in The Apartment (1960)  and includes strong performances in Sweet Charity, Irma LaDouce and Terms of Endearment.  MacLaine won an Oscar with Terms of Endearment for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Aurora Greenway. More recently MacLaine played Marjorie Nugent alongside Jack Black in the dark dramedy, Bernie (2011). Her next role in The Last Word can be seen starting in the spring of 2017.  MacLaine is also a prolific writer having authored several books.

The 35th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Inside
Pictured above is Claudia Puig, LAFCA President (Photo credit: lacfa.net)

LAFCA President Claudia Puig lauded MacLaine by saying,



“We are very excited to be giving the award to someone who has had such an illustrious, versatile acting career, and who has contributed so much to our collective enjoyment of movies.”


MacLaine responded saying, “I’m thrilled with the honor by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the recognition and the encouragement.”

Here’s a brief snippet from Shirley on criticism and Billy Wilder:

According to LAFCA’s website other top awards will be decided by the membership on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, and those honorees will join MacLaine at the January dinner.

This year’s awards ceremony is dedicated to director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys), who died on Sept. 20.

(Sources: http://www.lafca.net, HollywoodGlee archives)