Tag Archives: Virtuosos

Santa Barbara Announces First Set of Virtuosos Award Honorees #SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson



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



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

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

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

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

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 34 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 95,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.

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



(Source: Press release provided Sunshine Sachs)






Virtuosos shake, rattle and roll in Santa Barbara

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Last night the 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) hosted its biggest Virtuosos Awards presented by UGG® in recent memory at the historic Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Virtuosos Awards is an honor created to recognize a select group of talent who have distinguished themselves through breakthrough performances in film. This year’s honorees were Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Hong Chau (Downsizing), John Boyega (Detroit), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name).




Excitement was abuzz outside the Arlington with the arrivals of this year’s talent. But it Dania Ramirez, lead actress in Jay Silverman’s Off The Menu, who was the doll of the red carpet with Hong Chau, being the evening’s debutante – and that’s not taking anything away from Mary J. Blige, Daniel Kaluuya, Timothy Chalamette, John Boyega, Kumail Nanjiani and wife, Emily Gordon or the evening’s presenter, Christopher Lloyd.


Inside Dave Karger led a panel discussion and one on one Q&A with the honorees. Blige, who made Oscars history by becoming the first person ever to be nominated for an acting performance and an original song in a single year, shared with the audience what went through her mind the morning of the announcement. “I didn’t even watch. I tried to sleep completely through the whole thing and my channel wasn’t on any of the channels that were announcing anything,” she said. “Things like this just don’t happen. I was so grateful. The grace of God is just everything because this is all the grace of God. I can’t even give it to anyone else.”

Boyega explained the unique casting process the actors went through for “Detroit” as they didn’t know who they would play until after being cast. “When they gave us the description for the audition, they told us to read a particular scene and it was from “In the Heat of the Night.” I was confused for a second, but it was about tone, it was about the message. And after the audition and getting the part, then I found out who I was playing”

Chalamet, one of the youngest actors to be nominated for an Academy Award, talked about striving to be authentic in acting. “’Call Me by Your Name’ is based on a book and there were already a lot of fans of that book, so the idea of acting in it was just to be as faithful to the adaptation as possible,” he said. “As an actor it becomes your chief responsibility staying as faithful to that and just being true.”

Chau shared with the crowd her experience of reading the script for “Downsizing” for the first time and her strong desire to be selected for the role. “I was blown away because it was such a creative story that had so much going on,” she said. “I was ready to cage fight somebody for this role.”

Kaluuya touched on overcoming the challenge which was Jordan Peele’s want to cast an American actor for his thriller “Get Out” which focused on racism. “He had reservations because, for him, it felt like an African-American story,” said Kaluuya. “But then I opened up to him about my experience as a black man. I just talked to him about my experiences and my life. I get it, I understand it. That’s my life.”

Nanjiani, who wrote the screenplay for “The Big Sick” with wife Emily Gordon, hilariously expressed how strongly they felt about the project. “Emily and I just really wanted to tell this story. I was like, “I want to see this movie and no one else can make this movie.” You know you when you get old ketchup and you have to slam the back of it and then the congealed piece comes out? And then the rest of it can come out? To me, this story was the congealed piece. If I don’t get this out, nothing else will come out.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.00.52 PM


2018 SBIFF Virtuosos Award Tribute

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Virtuosos Award presented by UGG®, an honor created to recognize a select group of talent who have distinguished themselves through breakthrough performances in film this past year – will be presented to: Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Hong Chau (Downsizing), John Boyega (Detroit), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name). The award presentation, which will be moderated for the eighth year by Dave Karger, will take place tonight at 8PM, February 3, 2018, at the Arlington Theatre during the 33rd edition of the festival, which runs January 31 to February 10, 2018.

“2017 has seen a variety of breakout performances,” stated Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF. “We are thrilled to celebrate this diverse group of actors who have earned their place as some of the most talented individuals working in the industry today.”

The group will be recognized for their breakthrough roles in 2017 and careers thus far. Daniel Kaluuya gives a star-making performance as the unsuspecting yet resourceful Chris Washington in the speculative thriller Get Out. Bringing to life the enduringly popular comic book character of the same name, Gal Gadot balances formidable prowess and a genuine sense of hope in her role in this summer’s critically praised, conversation-changing Wonder Woman. Hong Chau delivers an inspiring performance in the social satire Downsizing, in which she brings humor and compassion to the role of Ngoc Lan Tran. In Detroit, John Boyega gives a captivating turn as Melvin Dismukes, a security guard who is falsely accused of killing three men on one of the most horrific nights in American history. Based on a true story that he co-wrote, Kumail Nanjiani brings comedy, pathos, and dramatic stakes to The Big Sick as a man whose girlfriend falls into a mysterious coma. Renowned singer/songwriter Mary J. Blige delivers a powerful and solemn turn as Florence Jackson, a mother struggling to maintain land in 1940s Mississippi. In Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet gives a brilliant and heartfelt performance as Elio, a teenage boy who begins a relationship with his father’s assistant.

Prior recipients for the award include Dev Patel, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Ruth Negga, Alicia Vikander, Rosamund Pike, J.K. Simmons, Eddie Redmayne, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy, Andrew Garfield, John Hawkes, Hailee Steinfeld, Jacki Weaver, Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, Viola Davis, Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Melissa Leo, Ellen Page, Amy Ryan, Michael Shannon, Brie Larson, Jared Leto, and June Squibb.

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SBIFF Adds Second Group To 2016 Virtuosos

              Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) just announced Alicia Vikander, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. and Geza Rohrig as the second group of recipients for its 2016  Virtuoso Award. The Viruoso Award recognizes performers who have distinguished themselves through their film performances in the past year. Vikander has had a sizzling year with searing roles in the sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina,” the coming-of-age “Testament of Youth,” and in the groundbreaking transgender saga “The Danish Girl.”  O’Shea Jackson, Jr. is receiving accolades for his work in “Straight Outta Compton,”  while Geza Rohrig is being honored for his work in “Son of Saul.”

            In addition to the recently announced second group, SBIFF had previously announced Elizabeth Banks (“Love & Mercy,” ) Joel Edgerton (“Black Mass,” ), Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy,” & “Youth,” ) and Jacob Tremblay (“Room” ) would be honored for their respective work. Past recipients of the award include Ellar Coltrane, Rosamund Pike, Jared Leto, David Oyelowo, Eddie Redmayne, Rooney Mara, Brie Larson and Marion Cotillard. The award presentation is scheduled for February 6th, 2016, 8 PM, at the historic Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara.This year’s talented and diverse and talented honorees are being recognized for their overall career as well as their breakout year.

Festival Executive Director, Roger Durling, says, ““These performers have used their craft and respective roles to transport us through the varied lives of their characters. We have followed them along their artistic pursuits and are excited to join them in next steps of their journeys.”

 Click here for more information and for tickets

alicia-vikander-759(Alicia Vikander)

O'SheaJackson(O’Shea Jackson, Jr.)

GezaRohrig(Geza Rohrig )

elizabeth-banks-movies-wallpaper-1(Elizabeth Banks)


(Joel Edgerton)


(Paul Dano)

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.56.23 PM(Jacob Tremblay with J.J. Abrams)

            If air travel is required, Alaska Airlines, the official airline for the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival, is offering 10% discounts on airfare between Santa Barbara, Los Angeles or Burbank, California and any of Alaska Airlines departure cities (excluding Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica and Prudhoe Bay) from February 2nd through February 16th, 2016. Book by February 16, 2016.  Click here. Discounts are automatically applied. Restrictions apply. See site for details.