Tag Archives: Pan-Asian

Audience Award Winner announced for SBIFF’s The Wave!

JIN MOYOUNG’S “MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER” WINS AUDIENCE AWARD AT SBIFF’S THE WAVE FILM FESTIVAL
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SBIFF’s “The Wave Film Festival” concluded this past weekend with Jin Moyoung’s MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER from South Korea winning the Audience Award sponsored by the Santa Barbara Independent. This Wave highlighted 11 brand new Asian films from South Korea, Japan, China, the Philippines and Taiwan.

MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER is a South Korean documentary by Jin Moyoung and stars Jung Jaeyoung, Kim Minhee. MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER out-grossed INTERSTELLAR in its opening weekend in South Korea and went on to become the highest grossing indie/doc in Korean history.

Mickey Duzdevich, The Wave Director, commented, “Jim Moyoung’s documentary is the type of quality foreign film that we strive to bring audiences through the Wave Film Festival. It is so well deserving of the audience award, and there is no question why it is one of the most successful South Korean docs to date.”

An intimate portrait of an elderly couple nearing the end of life, MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER is as delicate as it is raw. Observing this fragile couple in their South Korean home, director Jin Moyoung’s camera acts as a fly on the wall, capturing a deep love painted through simple acts of affection—from a good-natured leaf fight to a gentle caress of the cheek. No filmmaking tricks are necessary, as the honest and tender feelings expressed by this husband and wife are all that’s needed to tell this story of true love.

“The Wave Film Festival” will return this summer on July 13th through July 17th and will highlight eleven new French Films over its five day run at the Riviera Theatre. Passes go on sale next week at www.sbiff.org.

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Akira Kurosawa: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Paper by Lawrence Gleeson.

I will be analyzing the three films, Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1957), and Ran (1985), in relation to how these Akira Kurosawa films represent men and their relationship to social structures, and to violence in reference to historical truth and to socio-economic realities. In Rashomon, Kurosawa breaks the traditional narrative mold of his earlier films with Arthouse Cinema depicting a murder of a samurai and the rape of his Lady by a bandit. The samurai is depicted as a clean cut, upright guardian as he walks carrying the reigns of the horse that his properly attired Japanese Lady rides upon in traditional ruling class attire complete with hat and facial netting protecting her delicate, porcelain-like skin from the harmful rays of the sun. The bandit, on the other hand, is dressed with tattered garb, no shirt, unshaven and a general unkempt appearance and he is frequently swatting and defending himself from the attention of big flies evidenced by his scratching and swatting at the loud buzzing of the flies. As the samurai and the Lady make their way through the woods, the bandit slowly watches like a snake watching his prey. Eventually, the bandit confronts the samurai in broad-action, sword dueling scenes and in hand to hand combats as daggers are brandished and eventually the bandit subdues the samurai and forcefully takes the Lady’s honor. (People: Akira Kurasawa)

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The men this film is focusing on are men that take care of the weaker sexed women and use violence to get what they want and need. (Prince) The use of violence to protect the weak and to get what is wanted will be seen again and again in Seven Samurai, in Ran, as well as in the remainder of Rashomon, as four varying versions of the same crime are presented with one version containing a hidden secret. In my opinion, this film is a reflection of Japanese society in 1950. The Japanese samurai has been killed as democratization is the driving force behind the new society and that the new culture is at risk of becoming a society of thieves and bandits. (People: Akira Kurasawa)

Americanization has been taking place with a new constitution being implemented. Furthermore, the Japanese “sword,” the army, has been removed. It is my belief the four versions represent varying perspectives on WWII. Yet, by the end of Rashomon, an acceptance of the past has taken place and hope for the future is being put forth symbolized by the wood cutter’s willingness to trade the valuable, pearl-handled dagger he kept for himself, in return for the safety and well-being of the newborn. (Prince, The Warrior’s Camera: The cinema of Akira Kurosawa) This, in my opinion, is Kurosawa showing through the woodcutter’s action that there is there is hope for the future of Japan without the weapons of the samurai and the army.

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With the 1955 film Seven Samurai, ten years have passed since the end of WWII. Japan is struggling to find it’s own identity. For the most part, Japanese society has all but turned its back on the samurai way and is leaning heavily toward a full embrace of Western ideals and economics. Kurosawa sees the ideals of the samurai as a way for Japan to embrace the past taking the strong, good ideals of the legendary samurai and reinventing the samurai as a present day, or contemporary figure as he fears Japan is losing its identity. (People: Akira Kurasawa) The film opens with the bandits coming to rob the peasant farmers of their grain and barley. The peasants can’t defend themselves and fear for their survival. They decide to hire a samurai to protect and help defend them from the marauding bandits. Interestingly, Kurosawa depicts the first samurai as out of work true to a struggling contemporary Japanese economy. The samurai prepares himself as a priest and rescues a baby from a crazed kidnapper. The kidnapper is impaled by a sword and stumbling from the hut and in slow-motion drops dead to the ground. The samurai emerges and holds the baby aloft. The samurai uses violence to protect and safeguard the baby. I believe Kurosawa uses the baby again here in Seven Samurai, as he did in Rashomon, to foreshadow a hopeful future for Japan.

The men in Seven Samurai, are distinctly drawn into two classes, the upper class samurai and the peasant farmers and bandits. Kurosawa depicts the samurai living almost exclusively by a code of loyalty, duty responsibility and honor. He embodies these men as transcending selfishness and individualism, sacrificing themselves to protect the peasants. In addition, he includes a peasant who was not born into the samurai class as the possibility of social mobility in post WWII Japanese society and through the samurai and the hard work, sense of duty and fighting loyalty of the peasants victory is possible. Kurosawa uses violence as abstract realism. The fight scenes are very physical, very kinetic. His use of the long lens and camera angles draws the viewer’s eye in and creates a very contemporary feel. (Giddens) Furthermore, in the final scenes, Kurosawa is linking the ideals of the samurai at the film’s end with the buried samurai on the hillside with the future of Japan. As Japan is struggling to find its identity Kurosawa is showing them a way through the abyss- the dirty, muddy fight scenes – through the surviving samurai tradition of loyalty, self-sacrifice and sense of duty. In the closing moments of Seven Samurai, the surviving samurai agree that they survived and that the peasant farmer’s are the ones who have won. Kurosawa is saying that the Japanese can have a better future if they are willing to reach for it and work for it.

With his final epic film, the Shakespearean Japanese interpretive, Ran, based on “King Lear,” Kurosawa has pulled away from such overt optimism of Seven Samurai, and the darker themes from his earlier Shakespearean Japanese interpretive, Throne of Blood, based on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” have taken hold. Kurosawa sees his government taking sides with huge corporations at the expense of the Japanese people. A truly authentic Japanese identity post WWII is becoming very difficult. Kurosawa has for all intents and purposes lost faith in the Japanese government and it’s chance at a more hopeful, authentic Japan based on the ideals of the samurai society. Kurosawa has seen the Japanese samurai ideals subverted almost entirely into the corporation. (Nolletti) His film Ran, (1965) is a white flag to the winds of fate – the lost hope of an independent, authentic Japan. (IMDB: Akira Kurosawa) The sons of Lord Hidetora are, in my opinion, representative of the sons of Japan after WWII. Not to be content with their individual kingdoms, each is driven to conquer, capture and unify the people by a woman, Lady Kaede who is hell bent on revenging her family’s demise at the hand of Lord Hidetora years earlier. A case can be made Japan had come full circle from the civil warring era that Kurosawa sets these films, with serfdoms battling one another and samurais waging the battles for the lord of the serfdom, much like the warriors that served the three castles and the Lord of each castle to the economic juggernaut that Japan became in the 1970’s and early 1980’s following WWII. (Prince, “Remaking Kurosawa: Translations and Permutations in Global Cinema”)

Seemingly, Kurosawa has thrown his hands up in the air with Ran, and has reached the conclusion that Japan is fated and his efforts to see his native country return to, or even evolve into, a strong, masculine state again will not be fulfilled. Japanese suffering is just the way the world works. Kurosawa conveys this with the image of a castle burning with horsemen rushing in and killing is everywhere. Moreover, the ending of Ran, depicts Taramaru on the top of his family’s burned out castle ruins. A drastic cut pull out gives appearance Taramaru is part of the ruin and poses the adage that Justice is blind. Seemingly, Kurosawa feels modern Japan, like, the Japan depicted in Ran, is being decided on the whims of a feminized bureaucracy attempting to avenge a humiliating defeat through the economic windfalls of hue corporations. Kurosawa’s films after this period moved into dreamlike states and fantasia.

The messages Kurosawa sets forth in these masterpieces are relevant today. Economically, Japan is struggling due to a global recession, a major earthquake and a resultant three-story tsunami (possibly fate) along with a nuclear release of radioactive material occurring at the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Notwithstanding, Japan as a culture, has succeeded in maintaining aspects of the samurai culture in its work ethic and in its value of loyalty. Nevertheless, as a nation, Japan did not invite the international community to participate in assessing and containing the nuclear spillage nor in rectifying the leakage from the Fukushima Daiichi reactor. As Kurosawa elegantly, and eloquently shows, the Japanese people are a people steeped in a strong, rich and powerful tradition. One can only hope that when they need to, they ask for help in overcoming an adversary to ensure the health and survival of its people despite class differences. In closing, I believe Japan still looks to the West before it charts its course for the future – much like Kurosawa’s western genre influence in these films. And despite the great film director’s dismay, the Japanese people and the strong ideals of the samurai remain vibrant, alive as they work, struggle and fight for a better future.

Works Cited

Prince, Stephen. The Warrior’s Camera: The cinema of Akira Kurosawa. Princeton University Press, 1999.
Giddens, Gary. Kurosawa in Action. 22 July 2015 .
Nolletti, Arthur. “”Perspectives on Kurosawa”.” Film Quarterly Summer 1996: 52-54.
Prince, Stephen. “”Remaking Kurosawa: Translations and Permutations in Global Cinema”.” The Journal of Japanese Studies 37.1 (2011): 229-233.
People: Akira Kurasawa. 19 July 2015 .
IMDB: Akira Kurosawa. 18 July 2015 .

#SBIFF The Wave ~ Pan-Asia Full Lineup

All 11 exciting new Asian films and the schedule have been announced!
We are looking forward to sharing this cinematic journey with you this week. Films start today. Get your passes and tickets to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia now!

Full Lineup Here

 

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Ready to take a trip to Asia!

Patron Pass ~ $250
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
– Tuesday May 10 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
• VIP Giftbag
• Pass is non-transferable
Cinephile Pass ~ $80
• Access to Eleven (11) Film Screenings (one screening of each film)
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
– Tuesday May 10 – 5:30pm – 7:30pmIndividual Tickets
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8 (available at the door only)

Passes Here

 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

(Source: sbiff.org)

2 More Films Added To #SBIFF The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia

Two more films have been announced for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s The Wave ~ Pan-Asia Film Festival opening May 11, 2016 at the Riviera Theater located in the scenic hills of the Santa Barbara, California Riviera. The festival now has nine of the eleven new and exciting films lined up. Tickets are available HERE!

Check out the newest films to be added:

THE LAUNDRYMAN

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Directed by Chung Lee
Written by Chung Lee, Yu-Hsun Chen
Starring CHANG Hsiao-Chuan, WAN Qian, SUI Tang, YEO Yann Yann
Country: Taiwan
Runtime: 112 min

The film is an audacious combination of black comedy and action, telling the story of a laundry shop that secretly provides a service other than doing laundry. The beautiful shop owner A-Gu enlists a group of contract killers for hire in the disguise of laundry service. One of these professionals, “No.1, Chingtian Street”, is haunted by the ghosts of his victims. He seeks the help from Lin Hsiang, a medium introduced by A-Gu. It turns out Lin Hsiang is the only one that can also see the ghosts troubling “No.1, Chingtian Street.” She tries to help him get rid of the ghosts, but the laundry shop hides more secrets than she bargains for. And what “No.1, Chingtian Street” runs from is not the ghosts of others but the ghosts from his past.

ZINNIA FLOWER

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Directed by Tom Shu-Yu LIN
Written by Tom Shu-Yu LIN,Wei-Jan Liu
Starring Karena LAM, SHIH Chin-Hang “Stone”
Country: Taiwan
Runtime: 96 min

Wei and his wife, a piano teacher, are expecting a baby in three months. In three months, Ming with be married to Yuo, a cook and the love of her life. Yet all of this ends in a horrible car crash leaving Wei and Ming alone to face the world in emptiness.

Everything that was left behind seems unchanged, but is forever different. They choose different paths, different ways of mourning. Like two mice lost in a labyrinth, Wei runs around in circles, hitting walls, and still ends up where he began. Ming calmly and slowly creeps down a determined path, seemingly moving forward, but towards a fatal dead end. Days go on not feeling like days and the only thing that lets them know that time is still moving forward is the weekly seven-seventh ritual that they both go to up in a mountain temple. It is only there that their paths cross. In a crowd of hundreds of mourners, Wei and Mind notice each other and recognize that pain within the other.

Embarking on separate journeys, Wei decides to visit the homes of all his wife’s piano students, returning their tuition fees for the lessons that will never be taught. Ming decides to go to Okinawa, the honeymoon she and her fiancée will never go to together. In the end, they discover that the only end to their journey is the end of the journey itself, nothing more.

On the 100th day, they travel up to the mountain again for the final ritual. After the last prayer, they meet again, finding both pain and comfort in the other person, a total stranger, but the only stranger who knows what the other has been through. Sunset, on the bus down the mountain, sitting side by side, they weep in silence.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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(Source: News release sbiff.org)

3 More Films Announced for the #SBIFF The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia

Take a five day trip to Asia by seeing eleven brand new Asian films including the recently announced Collective Invention, The Chronicles of Evil, and The Accidental Detective!

Collective Invention

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Written & Directed by Oh-Kwang Kwon, Starring: Cheon-hee Lee, Kwang Soo Lee, Bo-yeong Park, from South Korea with a running time of 92 minutes.

 

“It all starts when idealistic aspiring journalist Sang-won (Lee Chun-hee) accepts an on-spec assignment to investigate what is surely an urban legend: the rumour of a man who turned into a fish after participating in clinical trials for a major pharmaceutical company. It’s only upon interviewing the irreverent Ju-jin (Park Bo-young) that Sang-won discovers the legend is all too real: Ju-jin’s boyfriend Gu (Lee Kwang-soo) is a bona fide fish-man, complete with webbed fingers and a giant fish head. Gu rapidly becomes a media sensation, and an enterprising young human-rights lawyer endeavours to nail the scientists who rendered him a monster — though there are others who feel they deserve the Nobel Prize. It’s only upon reaching the height of his fame that Gu is caught doing something that reminds his fans that, for all his outward weirdness, he is all too human and perhaps not as perfect a role model as the world wants him to be.

Hero or con man? Victim or poseur? The more his renown grows, the more Gu comes to represent whatever is projected upon him.

Riddled with witty twists and goofy detours, Collective Invention examines how popular culture operates by its own capricious logic, and proposes that our best option is to flee the hype and simply get on with life — no matter how wacky that life becomes. – Giovanna Fulvi, tiff

 

The Chronicles of Evil

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Written & Directed by Baek Woon-hak
Starring: Son Hayun-Joo, Daniel Choi, Park Seo-Joon, Ma Dong-Seok
Country: South Korea
Runtime: 102 min

Highly decorated homicide detective Choi Chang-sik has an enviable record and the respect of his peers. Days before a promotion, he dozes off on his way home after a celebratory drink with his colleagues. He wakes up to find that his taxi driver has taken him to a remote mountain trail and has pulled a knife on him. The two struggle, and Choi manages to kill the taxi driver in self-defense. Afraid that the incident would negatively impact his career, he covers up the crime scene and flees. The next day, the taxi driver’s dead body has been strung up on a crane in front of the police station, and Choi is assigned to the case amidst widespread media attention. Realizing that he is caught in a trap, he must now untangle past mistakes to figure out why he was targeted in the first place.

The Accidental Detective

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Written & Directed by Kim Jung-Hoon
Starring: Kwon Sang-Woo, Sung Dong-Il, Seo Young-Hee, Park Hae-Joon
Country: South Korea
Runtime: 120 min

Kang Dae-man is a popular blogger who writes about cold cases, and head of a profiling online forum. But in real life, he runs a comic book shop, is always scolded by his wife and assumes the role of a glorified babysitter. His Sherlock Holmes-level deduction skills are of no use in his daily life. His only joy is hanging around at a local police station and interfering with ongoing police investigations. Nicknamed ‘the White Shark’, homicide veteran detective Noh Tae-su was a legend in his heyday but was demoted many years ago and is now forced to work under his junior. One day, a horrific murder takes place and Dae-man’s friend and Det. Noh’s partner, Joon-su, is framed for the murder. Time of death is clearly given away by the broken wristwatch of the victim, and the murder weapon was discovered wrapped in Joon-su’s clothing. Not wanting to see Joon-su rot in prison for 30 years, Dae-man and Det. Noh have no choice but to partner up and uncover the plot behind the murder. As more bodies surface without any solid connection between them, the two men know that they are running out of time…

Stay tuned for more film announcements!

Patron Pass ~ $250
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
Tuesday May 105:30pm7:30pm
• Access to daily Patron Pass Happy Hours from 6:30pm – 7:30pm
• Pass is non-transferable

Cinephile Pass ~ $80
• Access to Eleven (11) Film Screenings (one screening of each film)
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
Tuesday May 105:30pm7:30pm

Individual Tickets
• Not available for purchase until film schedule is released in early May
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8

Passes to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia are available: Click here!

(Source: Press release courtesy of sbiff.org)

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Two films announced for #SBIFF The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia

 

 

Take a five day trip to Asia by seeing eleven brand new Asian films including the recently announced Mr. Six and Sweet Bean!

 

Mr. Six 

This thrilling new film from gifted auteur Guan Hu (Cow) immerses us in the crime-riddled labyrinth of Beijing’s rapidly changing underworld. Based on actual events, Mr. Six is the story of a fascinating man whose life reflects the history of a nation.
In a welcome return to acting, great Beijing writer-director Feng Xiaogang stars as the mysterious Mr. Six. Many years ago Mr. Six was a notorious gangster. That was back when there was still such a thing as honour among thieves, when criminals earned respect and maintained principles. These days Mr. Six is all but forgotten, a living relic residing in a hutong, or narrow alley.

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Feng Xaiogang as Mr. Six  (Credit: China Lion Film)

One day Six’s son, Xiaobo (Li Yifeng), is abducted by some spoiled punks after scratching their precious Ferrari. Mr. Six, who has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition, realizes that he must do whatever it takes to get his son back and forge a meaningful bond with him while there is still time — even if that means returning to the life he thought he had left behind. Beijing’s new generation of thugs are all flash and no ethics, but Mr. Six, calling on a few friends from his past for assistance, finds that the old ways can still be used to get a difficult job done.

With Guan’s impeccable narrative power behind the camera and Feng’s subtle character-making magic in front of it, Mr. Six sees a panoply of diverse talents come together to tell a gripping story that bridges Chinas old and new. – Giovanna Fulvi, tiff

 

Sweet Bean

Adapted from the novel by Durian Sukegawa, the new film by Naomi Kawase is a graceful ode to the invisible essences of existence — to the beauty and joy we can discover once we learn to listen to nature and feel the life that is coursing through and all around us.

“Sweet Bean” is a delicious red bean paste, the sweet heart of the dorayaki pancakes that Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) sells from his little bakery to a small but loyal clientele. Absorbed in sad memories and distant thoughts, Sentaro cooks with skill but without enthusiasm. When seventy-six-year-old Tokue (Kirin Kiki) responds to his ad for an assistant and cheerfully offers to work for a ridiculously low wage, Sentaro is skeptical about the eccentric old lady’s ability to endure the long hours. But when she shows up early one morning and reveals to him the secret to the perfect an — listening to the stories of wind, sun and rain that the beans have to tell — Sentaro agrees to take her on, trusting her strange ability to connect with nature. With Tokue’s new home-cooked an recipe, Sentaro’s business begins to flourish — but along with her smiles and culinary skill, Tokue is afflicted with an illness that, once revealed, drives her into isolation once again.

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Credit – NYTimes.com

Using cookery to explore her perennial theme of communion with nature, in An Kawase also poignantly addresses the discrimination that condemns many like Tokue to live their lives segregated from the rest of society. Beautifully shot and quietly moving, An is a humble masterpiece from a singularly accomplished filmmaker.  – Giovanna Fulvi, tiff

Stay tuned for more on this exciting new Wave!

 

Passes to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia  are available now here: http://sbiff.org/product-category/the_wave/

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(Source: SBIFF)

 

#SBIFF’s “The Wave” Film Festival Returns

SANTA BARBARA, CA (March 2016) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) has confirmed the dates for the next two editions of the “Wave Film Festival”. The first segment will run from Wednesday, May 11th through Sunday, May 15th, and will highlight new Pan-Asian films. The second segment will run from Wednesday, July 13th through Sunday, July 17th, and will highlight new French films. Each Wave Festival will take place at the historic Riviera Theater.

“With increasingly diverse lineups each year, The Wave has become a pivotal tradition of SBIFF,” stated Mickey Duzdevich, director of the Wave Film Festival. “The Pan-Asian and French film canons are filled with countless classics, and we have no doubt that this year’s lineup will continue to dazzle and inspire audiences.”

In addition, SBIFF has announced Wednesday, February 1st through Saturday, February 11th as the dates for the 32nd annual festival.

“Though we are just wrapping up this year’s festival, we are already looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us in Santa Barbara” said Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF. “We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished thus far, and we plan to make our 32nd installment the best festival yet.”

In addition to screening numerous films over the years, including countless US and World Premieres, SBIFF is known for programs such as the prestigious Tribute honor which counts Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Alicia Vikander, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Sylvester Stallone among recipients, and the acclaimed Panel Series, where accomplished industry guests come together for lively and revealing discussions, which make the festival a key stop in the award season race.

Passes and tickets for each wave will be available once the lineup is announced. SBIFF passes are offered at 25% off beginning August 1st.

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 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. SBIFF offers 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums that transforms beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, CA into a rich destination for film lovers which attract more than 90,000 attendees.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. In recent years SBIFF has expanded its year round presence with regular screenings and Q&As with programs like Cinema Society, The Showcase and its Wave Film Festivals.

(Press release courtesy of SBIFF Press Office)