SBIFF Santa Barbara Award Honors Saoirse Ronan

SBIFF Santa Barbara Award Honoring Saoirse Ronan, courtesy photos.

SBIFF Santa Barbara Award Honoring Saoirse Ronan, courtesy photos.

Golden Globe Award winner Saoirse Ronan will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) Santa Barbara Award, presented by UGG, for her critically acclaimed role in Lady Bird. Given to a person in the entertainment industry who has made a great contribution to film, she will receive the award at a ceremony on Sunday, February 4, at 8 p.m., at the Arlington Theatre (1317 State St.).

Saoirse Ronan, whose first name rhymes with “inertia,” has numerous film credits, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hanna, The Lovely Bones and The Way Back. She has received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Atonement and Brooklyn, and recently was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for her performance in Lady Bird.

“In Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan has once again proven that she is a force of nature and one of her generation’s most exciting young talents,” states SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “She embodies her characters with a poignant accuracy and ease every time she appears on screen.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

Past recipients of the award include Isabelle Huppert, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Bill Condon and Naomi Watts. For more information, visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 28, 2018.

SBIFF Unveils World Premiere Film Lineup

The 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) offers 200+ films representing 58 countries, 45 World premieres, and 53 U.S. premieres, along with tributes with the year’s top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach programs.

Below is the list of world premiere features at the 2018 SBIFF.


A Sniper’s War, USA, Ukraine, Russia

Directed by Olya Schechter

A Sniper's War, courtesy photo.

A Sniper’s War, courtesy photo.

Acid Horizon, USA

Directed by Ivan Hurzeler


Broke: The Santa Barbara Oil Pipeline Spill of 2015, USA

Directed by Gail Osherenko

Chasing the Thunder, USA

Directed by Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin


The Doctor From India, USA

Directed by Jeremy Frindel


The End of Meat (Eine welt ohne fleisch), Germany

Directed by Marc Pierschel


The Independents, USA

Directed by Greg Naughton


Living in the Futures Past, USA

Directed by Susan Kucera


Making Babies, USA

Directed by Josh Huber

Making Babies, courtesy photo.

Metamorphosis, Canada

Directed by Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper


My Indiana Muse, USA

Directed by Ric and Jen Serena


My Indiana Muse (official trailer) from Serena Creative on Vimeo.

¡Oh Mamy Blue!, Spain

Directed by Antonio Hens


Off the Menu, USA

Directed by Jay Silverman


One Last Night, USA

Directed by Anthony Sabet


the public, USA

Directed by Emilio Estevez


The Push, USA

Directed by Grant Korgan


Scotch: A Golden Dream, USA

Directed by Andrew Peat


Silicon Beach, USA

Directed by Max Gold


Threesome (Le trip à trois), Canada

Directed by Nicolas Monette


Waiting for the Drop: Rise of the Superstar DJs, USA

Directed by Alexei Barrionuevo


The War in Between, USA

Directed by Riccardo Ferraris


We Are Galapagos, USA

Directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani


The White Orchid, USA

Directed by Steve Anderson


U.S. PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS (listed alphabetically)


3 Things (3 ting), Denmark

Directed by Jens Dahl


A Land Without Borders, Israel

Directed by Michael Alalu and Nir Baram


Adventures in Public School, Canada

Directed by Kyle Rideout


Before I Forget (Antes que eu me esqueça), Brazil

Directed by Tiago Arakilian


Beyond – An African Surf Documentary, Austria

Directed by Mario Hainzl


Beyond Dreams (Dröm vidare), Sweden

Directed by Rojda Serkersöz


Big Wata, Netherlands

Directed by Jan Paul Van der Velden


Bingo: The King of the Mornings (Bingo: O rei das manhãs), Brazil

Directed by Daniel Rezende


Black Kite, Canada, Afghanistan

Directed by Tarique Qayumi


The Butterfly Tree, Australia

Directed by Priscilla Cameron


Cardinals, Canada

Directed by Grayson Moore & Aidan Shipley


Catch the Wind (Prendre le large), France

Directed by Gaël Morel


Darling, Denmark

Directed by Birgitte Stærmose


Daybreak (Dita zë fill), Albania

Directed by Gentian Koçi


The Double Lover (L’amant double), France

Directed by François Ozon


Edie, UK

Directed by Simon Hunter


The Eternal Road (Ikitie), Finland

Directed by Antti-Jussi Annila


Euthanizer (Armomurhaaja), Finland

Directed by Teemu Nikki


The Faithful Son (La part sauvage), Belgium

Directed by Guérin van de Vorst


Fence Your Best, Israel

Directed by Liat Mer


Fifty Springtimes (Aurore), France

Directed by Blandine Lenoir


Filthy (Spina), Czech Republic, Slovakia

Directed by Tereza Nvotová


Get the Weed (Misión no oficial), Uruguay

Directed by Denny Brechner, Alfonso Guerrero and Marcos Hecht


Giant (Handia), Spain

Directed by Jon Garaño and Aitor Arregi


Grace and Splendor (Donaire y esplendor), Panama

Directed by Arturo Montenegro


Grand Cru, Canada

Directed by David Eng


Guerrero, Mexico

Directed by Ludovic Bonleux


Imposed Piece (Opgelegd Werk), Belgium

Directed by Brecht Vanhoenacker

Imposed Piece, courtesy photo.

Imposed Piece, courtesy photo.

In Love and In Hate (Los que aman, odian), Argentina

Directed by Alejandro Maci


The Island, Israel

Directed by Adam Weingrod


The Last Suit (El último traje), Argentina

Directed by Pablo Solarz


Maracaibo, Argentina

Directed by Miguel Angel Rocca


Mary Goes Round, Canada

Directed by Molly McGlynn


Meditation Park, Canada

Directed by Mina Shum


Modified, Canada

Directed by Aube Giroux


The Order of Things (L’ordine delle cose), Italy

Directed by Andrea Segre


Sad Hill Unearthed, Spain

Directed by Guillermo de Oliveira


Secret Ingredient (Iscelitel), Greece

Directed by Gjorce Stavreski


Soviet Hippies, Estonia, Germany, Finland

Directed by Terje Toomistu


Sunshine That Can Move Mountains, China

Directed by Qiang Wang


Star Boys (Kaiken se kestää), Sweden

Directed by Visa Koiso-Kanttila


The Swan (Svanurinn), Iceland, Estonia, Germany

Directed by Ása Hjörleifsdóttir


The Unseen (Los últimos), Argentina

Directed by Nicolás Puenzo

Unwanted (T’padashtun), Kosovo, Netherlands

Directed by Edon Rizvanolli


Wall, Canada

Directed by Cam Christiansen


While We Live (Mens vi lever), Denmark

Directed by Mehdi Avaz




All You Can Eat Buddha, Canada, Cuba

Directed by Ian Lagarde


Angels Wear White (Jia nian hua), China, France

Directed by Vivian Qu


Arrhythmia (Aritmiya), Russia, Finland, Germany

Directed by Boris Khlebnikov


Back to Burgundy (Ce qui nous lie), France

Directed by Cédric Klapisch


Beartrek, USA, Canada, Indonesia, Peru

Directed by Chris Morgan & Joe Pontecorvo


Blue, Australia

Directed by Karina Holden


Borg vs. McEnroe, Sweden, Denmark, Finland

Directed by Janus Metz


Breath (Nafas), Iran

Directed by Narges Abyar


Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, USA, Canada, China

Directed by Dave O’Leske

Elish’s Notebooks, Israel

Directed by Golan Rise


The Essential Link – The Story of Wilfred Israel, Israel

Directed by Yonatan Nir


Faces Places (Visages, villages), France

Directed by JR and Agnès Varda


The Future Ahead (El futuro que viene), Argentina

Directed by Constanza Novick


The Gospel According to André, USA

Directed by Kate Novack


Gutland, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium

Directed by Govinda Van Maele


Holy Camp! (La Llamada), Spain

Directed by Javier Ambrossi & Javier Calvo


Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhawan), India

Directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani


Icarus, USA

Directed by Bryan Fogel


In Syria (Insyriated), Belgium, France, Lebanon

Directed by Philippe Van Leeuw


The Insult (L’insulte), Lebanon

Directed by Ziad Doueiri


Just Like Our Parents, Brazil

Directed by Laís Bodanzky


Killer Bees, USA

Directed by Ben & Orson Cummings


Kim Swims, USA

Directed by Kate Webber

Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy, USA

Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer


The Line (Čiara), Slovakia, Ukraine

Directed by Peter Bebjak


Love Means Zero, USA

Directed by Jason Kohn


Miracle on 42nd Street, USA

Directed by Alice Elliott


Montana, Israel

Directed by Limor Shmila


Nelson Algren Live, USA

Directed by Oscar Bucher


Oh Lucy!, USA, Japan

Directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi


The Party, USA

Directed by Sally Potter


Point of No Return, USA

Directed by Quinn Kanaly & Noel Dockstader


The Quartette (Kvarteto), Czech Republic

Directed by Miroslav Krobot


Racer and the Jailbird (Le fidèle), Belgium

Directed by Michaël R. Roskam


Scaffolding (Pigumim), Israel, Poland

Directed by Matan Yair


Scary Mother, Georgia, Estonia

Directed by Ana Urushadze


Skid Row Marathon, USA

Directed by Mark Hayes


Sky and Ground, USA, Serbia/Montenegro, Macedonia, Hungary, Greece, Germany, Austria

Directed by Joshua Bennett & Talya Tibbon


Something New (Qualcosa di nuovo), Italy

Directed by Cristina Comencini

Something New, courtesy photo.

Something New, courtesy photo.

Soufra, Singapore, USA, Lebanon

Directed by Thomas A. Morgan


The Starry Sky Above Me, (Le ciel étoilé au-dessus de ma tête), France

Directed by Ilan Klipper


Streetlight Harmonies, USA

Directed by Brent Wilson


The Third Murder, (Sandome no Satsujin), Japan

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda


Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle (Tulipani: Liefde, Eer en een Fiets), Netherlands

Directed by Mike van Diem


Triumph: The Untold Story of Perry Wallace, USA

Directed by Rich Gentile


Under the Tree (Undir Trénu), Iceland, Denmark, Poland & Germany

Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson


Wife and Husband (Moglie e marito), Italy

Directed by Simone Godano


You Disappear (Du forsvinder), Denmark, Sweden

Directed by Peter Schønau Fog



72%, Spain – US Premiere

Directed by Lluis Quilez


Abroad, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Zayn Alexandar


Aeris, USA

Directed by Paul Castro Jr.


Afterwork, Spain, Peru, Ecuador – World Premiere

Directed by Luis Uson


The Artist & The Great Bear, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Jeff Mcloughlin


As Long As It Takes (Le temps qu’il faut), Canada

Directed by Abeille Tard


Audition, USA

Directed by Richard Van


Bargain, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Clifford Miu


Basha Man, China

Directed by Daniel Chein


Bigfoot’s Love Slave, USA

Directed by Heather Tom


The Cannonball Woman, (La femme canon), France, Switzerland, Canada – US Premiere

Directed by David Toutevoix and Albertine Zullo


Cascarón, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Casey McGarry


Catacomb, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Alex Z. Avila


Couch for Sale, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Takashi Doscher


Cowboy of Mount Laurier (Le cowboy du mont Laurier), Canada – US Premiere

Directed by Gabriel Vilandré


Crossing the Channel, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Ryan Slattery


Cuba: Music Revolution, USA

Directed by Juan Ponce de León


Dancing with Dragons, USA, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Mexico, Belize

Directed by Mark Romanov


Don’t Mind Alice, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Maude Apatow & Olivia Rosenbloom


The Driver Is Red, USA

Directed by Randall Christopher


Field Song (Canción de Campo), USA

Directed by Brad Bischoff


Fern, UK – US Premiere

Directed by Johnny Kelly


Ferryman at the Wall, USA

Directed by David Freid


Fingerprints, USA

Directed by Don Hardy


From Golf Course to Wetland, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Michael Love


Hide and Seek (Bújócska), Hungary

Directed by Gábor Benő Baranyi


Home Shopper, USA

Directed by Dev Patel

Dev Patel directs Home Shopper, courtesy photo.

Dev Patel directs Home Shopper, courtesy photo.

Hybrids, France

Directed by Florian Brauch, Kim Tailhades, Matthieu Pujol, Romain Thirion and Yohan Thireau


Keep Calm and Tampon, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Claudia Lonow


Killing Games: Wildlife in the Crosshairs, USA

Directed by Camilla H. Fox


The Last Man You Meet, USA

Directed by Chris Bone


Long Term Delivery, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Jake Honig


Los Comandos, USA

Directed by Joshua Bennett


Lunch Ladies, USA

Directed by J.M. Logan


Mariela, UK

Directed by Victoria Romero


Martien, Switzerland

Directed by Maxime Pillonel


Me, My Phone and I, USA

Directed by Luke Mullen


Mott Haven, USA

Directed by Kyle Morrison


Negative Space, France

Directed by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata


Online Shopping, Iran

Directed by Ghasideh Golmakani


Out of the Ashes, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Hallie Brown


Poles Apart, USA

Directed by Paloma Baeza


Phototaxis, USA

Directed by Melissa Ferrari


The Red Flag, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Mike Winger


RFLKTR, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Matt K. Turner


Santa Claus, USA

Directed by Jeff Man


Sequin, Taiwan – US Premiere

Directed by Yachi Yang


Siren Song: Women Singers of Pakistan, USA, Pakistan, and India

Directed by Fawzia Afzal-Khan


Shadow Boxer (Skyggebokser), Denmark – World Premiere

Directed by Andreas Bøggild Monies


Shark Bight, USA – US Premiere

Directed by Stephanie Foster


The Shift, USA

Directed by Elivia Shaw


Simularity, USA

Directed by Ryan O’Nan


Soul of the City, USA – World Premiere

Directed by John Klein


Souls of Totality, USA

Directed by Richard Raymond


Space Butthole, USA

Directed by David Chai


The Take Off, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Ryan Kalil


The Tesla World Light, (Tesla: Lumière Mondiale), Canada

Directed by Matthew Rankin


Tigerstyle, United Kingdom, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Elliott Powell, Jordyn Romero, Paloma Young, Rachel Lattin, and Riani Singgih


The Tipping Point, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Danielle Cohen


Toward the North (Hacia el norte), USA

Directed by Elivia Shaw, Jessica Chermayeff, and Joshua Bennett


Towards the Sun (Hacia el sol), United Kingdom

Directed by Monica Santis


Two Balloons, USA – US Premiere

Directed by Mark C. Smith


Under Her Wing, USA

Directed by Keenan McGuckin


Undiscovered, USA

Directed by Sara Litzenberger


Virtually Yours, USA – World Premiere

Directed by Andrea Lithner


Wildlife and the Wall, USA

Directed by Ben Masters


You Are Here, United Kingdom

Directed by Nicholas Jones


Yours Sincerely, Lois Weber, USA

Directed by Svetlana Cvetko


“Yours Sincerely, Lois Weber” Trailer from David Scott Smith on Vimeo.

For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events please visit and download the SBIFF app for the latest updates and schedule changes.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 25, 2018.



SBIFF American Riviera Award Honors Sam Rockwell

SBIFF American Riviera Award honoring Sam Rockwell, courtesy photos.

SBIFF American Riviera Award honoring Sam Rockwell, courtesy photos.

Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award winner Sam Rockwell is being honored with the 2018 American Riviera Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF).

Rockwell’s tribute celebrates his acclaimed performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

“In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, audiences are treated to the kind of mesmerizing and extraordinary performance we have come to expect from Sam Rockwell,” states Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF. “We are long overdue to celebrate this tremendous talent who has lit up the screen for decades.”

The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. Rockwell will join a prestigious group of past recipients, including Jeff Bridges, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke, Tommy Lee Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane.

The 33rd edition of the Festival runs from January 31 to February 10 and the American Riviera Award takes place on Wednesday, February 7, at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St..

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2018.

“The Public” is Opening Night Film at SBIFF

The Public will open the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 31. Courtesy photos.

The Public will open the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 31. Courtesy photos.

Opening night of the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG, is the worldwide premiere of The Public at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, January 31.  Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, the film stars Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Taylor Schilling, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Gabrielle Union, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams and Jeffrey Wright.

“I’ve long admired Emilio Estevez as an artist-actor-director.  With The Public, I feel he has done his most personal and fully realized work. the public speaks wonderfully about our current divided country – but it also does not preach – it keeps us cinematically immersed.  I can honestly say this is the proudest choice for opening during my tenure at SBIFF.  I cherish the friendship with Emilio and admire his accomplishment with the public,” says Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF.

The Public puts the spotlight on the issues of homelessness, mental illness and drug addiction as it follows a group of homeless library patrons, who, after learning that emergency shelters are at capacity during a brutal Midwestern cold front, refuse to leave Cincinnati’s downtown public library at closing time.

“I’m absolutely delighted, thrilled, and humbled to be chosen by Roger Durling for the great honor of kicking off SBIFF 2018 with The Public. Roger’s long standing commitment of supporting independent filmmakers makes the Santa Barbara International Film Festival a vital showcase for artists. Once again, the festival will screen a wide and wonderful variety of distinguished films and our picture has indeed, found itself in some lovely company,” says Emilio Estevez.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 4, 2018.

SBIFF Announces Virtuosos Award Winners

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuosos Award—honoring (clockwise from top left) Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman),
Hong Chau (Downsizing),
 Mary J. Blige (Mudbound),
Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick),
and John Boyega (Detroit)—takes place on Saturday, February 3, at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre. Courtesy photos.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuosos Award—honoring (clockwise from top left) Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman),
Hong Chau (Downsizing),
 Mary J. Blige (Mudbound),
Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick),
and John Boyega (Detroit)—takes place on Saturday, February 3, at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre. Courtesy photos.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuosos Award will once again honor many of the most notable performances in Hollywood this year. The award, presented by UGG, takes place on February 3 at the Arlington Theatre.

“2017 has seen a variety of breakout performances,” states 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. In Mudbound, 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.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 20, 2017.

Val Kilmer Presents Cinema Twain LIVE

Val Kilmer as "Citizen Twain," courtesy photo.

Val Kilmer as “Citizen Twain,” courtesy photo.

Val Kilmer will be at the Lobero Theatre this Friday night (Jun. 30) at 8 p.m. to present a screening of his play about Mark Twain. The one-man show, Citizen Twain, played to sold-out houses at several performing arts venues in Los Angeles.

Kilmer transforms himself into Twain in a comedic and moving performance based on the life of the man, Samuel Clemens, and of course his writings as Mark Twain. From his thoughts on politics (including his famous disdain for the U.S. Congress), to his family and ultimately his faith and God, Twain spins a series of yarns with his timeless satire and incomparable wit.

Kilmer will conduct a question and answer period with the audience following the screening.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Special meet and greet tickets are still on sale at the Lobero Box Office and here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 28, 2017.

SBIFF Variety Artisans Awards


Suicide Squad Hair and Makeup Artist Alessandro Bertolazzi is honored at the SBIFF Variety Artisans Awards on Feb. 6. Courtesy photo.

Suicide Squad Hair and Makeup Artist Alessandro Bertolazzi is honored at the SBIFF Variety Artisans Awards on Feb. 6. Courtesy photo.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival‘s Variety Artisans Awards celebrates those essential to the filmmaking process and who have exhibited the most exciting and innovative work of the year in their respective fields. The Tribute evening takes place on Monday, February 6, at the Lobero Theatre and will be moderated by Variety’s Senior Vice President Awards Editor, Tim Gray.

The Variety Artisans Award will be presented to the following 2017 Oscar nominees:

Alessandro Bertolazzi for Makeup and Hair for the Warner Brothers film Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer.  This marks Bertolazzi’s first Academy Award nomination.  His previous credits include Skyfall, Biutiful, and Babel.

Jess Gonchor, for Production Design in the Universal Pictures film Hail, Caesar! directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Gonchor was previously nominated for an Academy Award for his work on True Grit, which was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards. Gonchor has worked with the Coen Brothers on each of their films since No Country For Old Men.

Oh Hail, Caesar from CityofIrving on Vimeo.

Justin Hurwitz, for original score in the Lionsgate musical La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle. Hurwitz received both the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award for Best Original Score for the film. He is a first time Oscar nominee this year.

Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul for Original Song “City of Stars” in the Lionsgate musical La La Land.  The song received both the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award for Best Original Song this year.

Mary Zophres for Costume Designer in La La Land. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the Coen Brother’s film True Grit. In 2016, she received the Key West Film Festival’s Career Achievement Award for costume design.

James Laxton for Cinematographer in A24’s Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins. Laxton won the Los Angeles Film Critics,  New York Film Critics, and San Francisco Film Critics award for Best Cinematography for his work on the film.

Robert Legato for Visual Effects in the Disney live-action film The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau. Legato has won two Academy Awards (and has been nominated a total of four times) for his work on Titanic and Hugo.

Alan Murray for Sound Editing in the Warner Brothers film Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood.  He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and won for his work on Eastwood’s films, American Sniper and Letters from Iwo Jima.

Kevin O’Connell for Sound Mixing in the Lionsgate Film Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson. This is his 21st Academy Award nomination for films that include Top Gun and Transformers.

Joe Walker for Editor in the Paramount Film Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve, for which he is nominated for an Oscar. Walker was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on 12 Years A Slave.  Arrival is his second collaboration with Villeneuve following last year’s critically-acclaimed Sicario, and they are currently working together on the upcoming Bladerunner.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 6, 2017.

SBIFF is on the Way With Another Excellent Lineup

Here's the poster for the upcoming Santa Barbara International Film Festival feb. 1-11. It spotlights the historic Riviera Theatre which is the new home of the festival's year round activities. Lots of great things are in store for us this year. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Here’s the poster for the upcoming Santa Barbara International Film Festival feb. 1-11. It spotlights the historic Riviera Theatre which is the new home of the festival’s year round activities. Lots of great things are in store for us this year. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost time for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) to begin on February 1. At last week’s press conference, Executive Director Roger Durling revealed the poster (once again designed by local graphic artist Barbara Boros) as well as an impressive slate of programming, including films representing 50+ countries, 51 world premieres and 64 U.S. premieres, along with tributes with the year’s top Oscar-contending talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach programs.

To download the film program, click here.

SBIFF 2017 kicks off on February 1 at the historic Arlington Theatre with the World Premiere of the documentary film Charged (sponsored by UGG).

Directed by Phillip Baribeau, Charged chronicles the journey of chef and outdoorsman, Eduardo Garcia and his recovery after being electrocuted by 2400 volts of electricity miles from help in the Montana backcountry.  Garcia had his hand amputated, lost ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. Charged tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.

SBIFF features the U.S. Premiere of Heal the Living (Réparer les vivants), a French–Belgian drama directed by Katell Quillévéré and written by Quillévéré and Gilles Taurand. Starring Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past, Grand Central, The Informant), Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus in Fur, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Anne Dorval (Mommy, Heartbeats). Three seemingly unrelated stories are masterfully woven together in this family medical drama. A French teenager takes a road trip to the sea with friends to go surfing; a woman learns her heart is failing; and the staff at a regional hospital struggles through another day of saving lives.

The Festival will close with the Lone Scherfig’s period comedy–drama Their Finest at the Arlington Theatre on February 11 in advance of the film’s March 24 stateside release. The Closing Night Film is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.

The year is 1940, Britain. With the nation devastated by the war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home. Realizing their films could use “a woman’s touch,” the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue. Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin’s natural flair quickly gets her noticed by charming lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin). Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Battle of Dunkirk starring pretentious fading movie star Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation.

In addition to the wonderful films, SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy–Award frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film.  The complete list of 2017 Honorees (in order of appearance) is:

  • Viola Davis will present Denzel Washington with the Maltin Modern Master Award, moderated by longtime friend and film historian Leonard Maltin on Thursday, February 2.
  • The Outstanding Performers of the Year Award sponsored by Belvedere Vodka will be awarded to Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The tribute will be moderated by Roger Durling on Friday, February 3.
  • The Virtuosos Award presented by UGG, will be awarded to Aaron Taylor Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Dev Patel (Lion), Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures, Moonlight), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Ruth Negga (Loving), Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences) in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Dave Karger on Saturday, February 4.
  • Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award, moderated by Scott Feinberg, on Sunday, February 5.
  • The Variety Artisans Awards will take place on Monday, February 6 and will be moderated by Variety’s Sr. VP Awards Editor, Tim Gray. Honorees to be announced.
  • The Outstanding Director of the Year Award sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter will be Tuesday, February 7 and will be moderated by Pete Hammond. Honorees to be announced.
  • Isabelle Huppert will be presented with the Montecito Award on Wednesday, February 8, moderated by Anne Thompson.
  • Jeff Bridges will receive the American Riviera Award sponsored by Bella Vista Designs on Thursday, February 9, moderated by Scott Feinberg.

All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre except the Variety Artisans Award, which will be at the Lobero Theatre.


The panel series begins on Saturday, February 4 with the “Movers and Shakers,” (Producers Panel), bringing together the industry’s most prolific producers to talk about current projects, hopes for the future of filmmaking, and insight into the creative process. Moderated by Glenn Whipp.

That same day proceeds with “It Starts With the Script” (Screenwriters Panel), bringing together top writers to discuss their craft. The panel will be moderated by Anne Thompson.

On Saturday, February 11, Creative Forces: Women in the Business (Women’s Panel), will be moderated by Madelyn Hammond.

All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre.

The 2017 Film Program addresses timely themes including a focus on environmental activism, feminism in the Middle East, efforts to thwart ISIS around the world including, Mali and Kurdistan, the fight for democracy in Ukraine and the global refugee crisis. In addition, some of the new highlights in the program include:

  • Nordic Cinema Competition: A diverse showcase of contemporary cinema From Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
  • Crime Scenes: An international selection of crime thrillers and neo-noirs filled with gritty underworlds and moral nihilists.
  • Documentary Shorts: Refugees: A program of short documentaries featuring compelling stories from refugees living in Malawi, Syria, West Africa, Greece, Sweden and the United States.

For more information and festival updates, visit

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 20, 2017.

UCSB Arts & Lectures Presents Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour

Mountainfilm Tour Poster, the Accord.

Mountainfilm Tour Poster, the Accord.

Film and nature collide when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Telluride Mountainfilm was launched more than 30 years ago by a group of climbers and friends dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth sustaining. Still true to the core idea that friends, adventure, passion and powerful ideas are as tantalizing as ever, this 134-minute program offers a six-senses experience of art, adventure, culture and the environment in an eclectic and exciting program of nine short films. 

The show is emceed by a Mountainfilm presenter who guides the audience through the program, often sharing personal stories from his or her interactions with the filmmaker or the film’s subjects.

An image from Lindsay Branham and Jon Kasbe's film "Nascent," courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

An image from Lindsay Branham and Jon Kasbe’s film “Nascent,” courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Films in the UCSB program will explore the struggle to reach the highest peaks on the planet; marathon life lessons; a BASE jumper’s dream; the triumphs and tribulations of surfing in Iceland; the near-impossibility of skateboarding on the wild, cold Norwegian coast; the power of hope to overcome the greatest differences; discovering a lifeline in the unlikeliest of pursuits; the mental and physical strain of pushing a sport to new heights (literally); and a skier who takes delinquency to new limits.

Here is what to expect:


Wasfia Nazreen doesn’t just climb for the thrill; she climbs for a cause. The first Bangladeshi to scale the Seven Summits, Wasfia has made it her purpose to brave these climbs for the sake of something larger – for the women of Bangladesh. Lyrical and poetic, this short documentary is a reflective character portrait that takes us from the depths of Wasfia’s struggles to the highest peaks on the planet, as we explore what it means to pursue the unknown (Sean Kusanagi, 2016, 11 min.)

Mile 19

Since the inception of the Los Angeles marathon in 1986, 178 runners have completed every race. They’re called “Legacy Runners.” Johnnie Jameson is a member of this special group, but he’s not an elite runner: He’s a working man, a postal employee. But what he lacks in speed, he makes up in creativity. He ran his first marathon backward, finishing in last place. He dribbled a basketball the next year. Each race, wearing his signature Payless shoes, he stops and talks and takes his sweet time. And over the years, the marathon has become a form of therapy for Jameson, who was scarred deeply from serving as an infantryman in Vietnam. The annual challenge of running 26.2 miles has helped him cope, grow and recover from those traumatic experiences. “It’s not about how long you out there, it’s about completing the race,” he says. “You gotta grind it out, because life ain’t nothing but a grind.” This poignant film from Vincent DeLuca conveys a lifetime of lessons in 10 short minutes, spinning a powerful story of resilience, humor and healing. (Vincent DeLuca, 2016, 10 min.)

A still image from Vincent DeLuca's film "Mile 19," courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

A still image from Vincent DeLuca’s film “Mile 19,” courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

The Mysteries

The vision came to Krystle Wright in a dream: a bird’s-eye view of BASE jumpers in flight over a stark desert landscape. When she awoke, the adventure photographer resolved to make that vision into reality. And with that, the dream turned into an obsession – one that led her on a four-and-a-half-year journey of failed attempts, uncooperative weather, disappointments and inward examination. The Mysteries follows a tenacious, and perhaps crazy, quest to chase down an elusive image and provides a glimpse into the kind of singular passion that drives people to reach their goals, regardless of what stands in the way. (Skip Armstrong, 2015, 8 min.)

The Accord

Iceland is an island in the very north Atlantic where the wind is unpredictable at best, where perfect waves are almost as rare as albino elephants and where frigid temps require a full wetsuit arsenal. In other words, being a surfer in Iceland requires a particular mix of hardiness, patience, passion and insanity. And more than anything, it requires befriending that mercurial, capricious, wildly drunken and occasionally benevolent wind. (RC Cone, 2016, 18 min.)

Mot Nord

Ice, driftwood, foamy waves and … skateboards? In this poetic short film by Jørn Nyseth Ranum, four skaters head north to the cold Norwegian coast, applying their urban skills to a wild canvas of beach flotsam, frozen sand and pastel skies. The result is a beautiful mashup – biting winds and short days, ollies and one ephemeral quarterpipe. (Jørn Nyseth Ranum, 2016, 10 min.)


Nascent is proof of how short films can impart big messages. It’s a simple premise: two children, a Christian boy and a Muslim girl, give their perspectives on growing up in the divided and desperately poor Central African Republic. Despite differences in their upbringings and religious backgrounds, the pair share a hopeful vision of peace that would allow them to be friends. This could have been an awkward film or, worse, a treacly one. But in the hands of director Lindsay Branham (who attended school in Telluride in 5th and 6th grade), the result is a thoughtful and powerful documentary that asks the simple question: Why can’t we all just get along? (Lindsay Branham and Jon Kasbe, 2015, 7 min.)


Growing up in East Baltimore surrounded by poverty and violence is hard enough, and Coffin Nachtmahr had the added challenge of being different. He stutters. He never quite fit in, and he was picked on. Then he discovered a lifeline in the unlikeliest of pursuits: yo-yoing. In the subculture of “throwers,” he found purpose, acceptance and community. Today, Coffin is the city’s best, transforming the simple activity of yo-yoing into a transfixing dance of creativity, innovation and connection. (Darren Durlach and Dave Larson, 2016, 10 min.)

High and Mighty

The no-fall zone: It’s what makes highball bouldering the new cutting edge of climbing, where miniscule holds and overhanging routes can stretch more than 30 feet above the ground with no protection beyond a pile of crash pads below. But the thing about pushing bouldering to new heights – literally – is that the consequences also rise. Broken bones, concussions and trips to the hospital are among the more unfortunate results. And sometimes, the mental toughness required is even more strenuous than the actual climbing. This documentary from Sender Films follows the wild personalities who are pushing bouldering into high and mighty places it’s never been before. (Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer and Josh Lowell, 2015, 20 min.)

One of Those Days 3

A manhunt is underway in the Alps to arrest French skier Candide Thovex. His crime? Where do we start? Dude skis over a helicopter, into camera vans, hits trees, interrupts races and busts through barns. In One of those Days 3, he takes his POV delinquency to new limits. (Candide Thovex, 2016, 5 min.)

Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

2016 Intro by Stash Wislocki from Tour Screeners on Vimeo.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for UCSB students and youths 18 & under (Current ID required). For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 15, 2016.

Warren Beatty to Receive SBIFF’s Kirk Douglas Award

Legendary filmmaker Warren Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in RULES DON’T APPLY, which Beatty wrote, directed and produced. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel.

Legendary filmmaker Warren Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in RULES DON’T APPLY, which Beatty wrote, directed and produced. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will honor Academy Award winner Warren Beatty with the 11th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Bacara Resort & Spa on December 1, with all funds raised supporting SBIFF’s free year-round educational programs.

Known for his iconic roles in films such as Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds and Dick Tracy, all of which he produced; Beatty’s next film, Rules Don’t Apply—an original story which he wrote, directed, produced and stars—will be released on November 23.

“Warren Beatty upholds the highest artistic standards of the film industry,” says Kirk Douglas, original award recipient. “His choice of material has entertained us as well as made us think more deeply about the world we live in. I’m delighted he is accepting this recognition of his extraordinary talent.”

Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, which this year coincides with Douglas’s 100th birthday, has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta. All funds raised from the event will be used to support SBIFF’s free educational 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.

The 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place February 111. For more information, please visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on September 20, 2016.