SBIFF In Motion

 2020 Fab Film Fest Gets Underway

Illustration by Ben Ciccati

by Michelle Drown | Published January 15, 2020

“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland) in The Wizard of Oz. Thanks to that 1939 Oscar-winning film, the adage has become one of the most recognized movie lines. This time of year, it’s a particularly apt saying for Santa Barbara cinephiles, as our hamlet becomes host to an 11-day feast of movie morsels. 

On Wednesday, January 15, the 35th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicks off with the screening of A Bump Along the Way, a comedy from Northern Ireland about a woman in the middle of life who gets pregnant from a one-night stand. Thursday morning, State Street theaters whir to life with screenings that begin at 8 a.m. and continue into the wee hours of night. The breadth and depth of films on this year’s roster is grand and offers something for most every viewing taste.

In addition to film viewing, the festival has its usual stellar lineup of actors, directors, screenwriters, artisans, and producers who will be talking to audiences about their craft. Renée Zellweger will receive the American Riviera Award for her turn as Judy Garland in Judy on Thursday, January 16, followed by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, who will take the stage the next night. Other honorees include Lupita Nyong’o, Laura Dern, eight Virtuosos, and Modern Master honoree Brad Pitt, all of whom will be feted throughout the festival. 

In this week’s Independent, we offer a peek at some of the upcoming fare via interviews with director Andrew Davis, Virtuosos host Dave Karger, and documentary subject Gracie Fisher. Also, find out what’s on the Screen Cuisine menu, what’s being offered by Santa Barbara filmmakers, and Indy staff recommendations in Films to Find. 

For daily coverage of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, see