With drive-in theaters by the beach and celebrity tributes, filmmaker panels, and most screenings happening digitally, the 36th annual edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will be a departure from the raucous red carpets and crammed movie theaters of years past. But the slate of films, which were announced on Tuesday morning, are as strong as ever, with 47 world premieres and 37 domestic premieres featured amid films from 45 different countries.
“This year’s festival will look different on many fronts, but we are unchanged when it comes to what’s most important: our love of film, and our dedication to bringing forward a program of unmatched quality and sharing it with our community,” said longtime executive director Roger Durling in a press release. “We are so excited to have the opportunity to be a source of joy and optimism.”
SBIFF 2021 kicks off on Wednesday, March 31, with the opening night selection Invisible Valley, a documentary by Aaron Maurer about the farmworkers, snowbirds, and Coachella Festival partiers of the Coachella Valley. Closing night on Saturday, April 10, will once again feature a full lineup of Santa Barbara documentarians, showcasing Chumash pilgrimages, eco-minded shepherds, outdoor dancing, roller skaters, and diorama art.
This year’s awardees, who are often further rewarded weeks later at the Academy Awards, include Bill Murray on April 2, Carey Mulligan on April 5, Sacha Baron Cohen on April 7, Delroy Lindo on April 8, and Amanda Seyfried on April 9. On April 3, eight actors will be honored as Virtuosos, including Andra Day from The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Riz Ahmed from Sound of Metal, and Kingsley Ben-Adir from One Night in Miami. More awardees will be announced soon.
Albeit in a pandemic-friendly manner, SBIFF is also hosting the usual industry panels, children’s programs, student curriculum, and screenwriting/filmmaking competitions.
See sbiff.org for a full schedule, updates, and details on how to attend this year.
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