SBIFF Outstanding Directors of the Year Award

Posted on Feb 6 by SEASONS Magazine

Courtesy SBIFF.

Courtesy SBIFF.

From the films that swept audience members off of their feet, four of the most affluent directors are recognized for their remarkable cinematic and poetic displays that not only won various awards, but the hearts of the viewers. Pushing the boundaries of cinema with innovative approach, these four directors receive the The Outstanding Directors of the Year Award for their mastery of storytelling and bringing their visions to life.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) honors Damien Chazelle for his beautiful, rhythmic, spunky, and charming masterpiece of two L.A dream chasers in his latest release La La Land. After making history for the most Golden Globe Awards won by a single film, Chazelle will be one of the honorees receiving the Outstanding Directors of the Year Award.

Also receiving honors is director Barry Jenkins for capturing the mental and emotional odyssey of an African American, homosexual man growing up in Miami. After eight years since Jenkins’s last movie (Medicine for Melancholy), his 2016 poetic film, Moonlight, won several dozen honors including the Golden Globe for Best Picture and is a well-deserved recipient of this year’s award.

By capturing the tides of grief and personal development of an uncle and his nephew, Kenneth Lonergan also receives honors for his 2016 film, Manchester by the Sea. The film’s mildly sentimental presentation of the complicated process of forgiveness was first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received six nominations for the 89th Academy Awards. Lonergan’s seat-gripping film displays his brilliance as a playwright and makes him a recipient of the Best Directors of the Year Award.

Also being honored is director Denis Villenueve for his outstanding, epic science-fiction film, Arrival. The film’s mystical story of a linguistics professor and the elite team who discover gigantic spaceships that lead the world staggering a line of a potential world-ending war earned a multitude of nominations in the Oscar and Golden Globes. Villenueve’s eye-opening mixture of realism and imagination in his 2016 film makes him a rightful honoree in this year’s ceremony.

These four exceedingly creative and immensely talented directors will be celebrated on stage at the historic Arlington Theater on Tuesday, February 7, at 8 p.m.

These directors are true visionaries, with a body of work that exemplifies excellence in filmmaking,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “We are thrilled to honor this group for their indelible contributions to cinema.” Taking the stage individually, each director will charm the audience with the landscapes and crafts of modern-day film making, followed by the celebrations of their exceptional films.


Past recipients include of the Directors of the Year Award:

2016 – Lenny Abrahamson (ROOM), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (THE REVENANT), Tom McCarthy (SPOTLIGHT), Adam McKay (THE BIG SHORT), and George Miller (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)

2015 – Damien Chazelle (WHIPLASH), Richard Linklater (BOYHOOD), Bennett Miller (FOXCATCHER), Laura Poitras (CITIZENFOUR), and Morten Tyldum (THE IMITATION GAME)

2014 – David O. Russell (AMERICAN HUSTLE)

2010 – Kathryn Bigelow (THE HURT LOCKER)

2009 – Danny Boyle (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE)

–Danielle Hazlett



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