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 sbiff.org.