From the SBIFF Closing Night Film ‘I Like Movies’ | Credit: Courtesy

A stunner of a poster has been revealed, the movie selections have been made, and the celebs (or at least most of them) have been announced. The early verdict: The 38th edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) looks like another winner!

Kicking off on Wednesday, February 8, with the world premiere of Miranda’s Victim, a true crime drama about the 1963 kidnapping and rape case that ultimately established the laws regarding “Miranda Warnings,” the notifications given by police to criminal suspects in custody that advise them of their right to silence (the perpetrator in this case was named Ernesto Miranda). The film is directed by Michelle Danner and stars Abigail Breslin, Ryan Phillippe, Luke Wilson, Donald Sutherland, Mireille Enos, and Andy Garcia.

Miranda’s Victim is the first of 52 world premieres and 78 U.S. premieres from 43 countries on the program, which can be viewed in full here. Then of course, we’ve got the tributes, which are always fan favorites and an important showcase for Academy Award frontrunners (based on their track record, I would bet on the SBIFF team of Oscar prognosticators every time).

The SBIFF 2023 Poster by artist Patricia Chidlaw | Credit Courtesy

We’ve got the Montecito Award honoring Angela Bassett (Wakanda Forever) on Thursday, February 9; Outstanding Performer of the Year Award honoring Cate Blanchett (Tár) on Friday, February 10; Maltin Modern Master Award honoring Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once) on Saturday, February 11; Variety Artisans Award on Monday, February 13 (honorees TBA); American Riviera Award honoring Brendan Fraser (The Whale) on Tuesday, February 14; Virtuosos Award honoring Austin Butler (Elvis), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Danielle Deadwyler (Till), Nina Hoss (Tár), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Jeremy Pope (The Inspection), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), and Jeremy Strong (Armageddon Time) on Wednesday, February 15; Cinema Vanguard Award honoring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson on Thursday, February 16; and Outstanding Directors of the Year Award on Friday, February 17 (honorees TBA, but don’t hesitate to put this one on your calendar, it’s always an incredible night). All of the tributes take place at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre.

Also worth noting are the industry panels — whose participants will be announced mid-fest — which always feature an impressive list of people from the world of film, including many Oscar contenders. Annual favorites include the Writers Panel (Saturday, February 11, 11 a.m.), Women’s Panel (Saturday, February 11, 2 p.m.), and Producers Panel (Sunday, February 12, at 11 a.m.). There is also a new International Directors Panel on Sunday, February 12 at 7 p.m., which sounds intriguing. According to the SBIFF website, “the directors of this year’s Oscar-nominated International Films will share their diverse perspectives on the craft and business of filmmaking,” and not only that — admission is FREE! All of the panels take place at the Arlington Theatre as well.

The festival culminates on closing night (Saturday, February 18) with the U.S. premiere of I Like Movies, the story of a socially inept 17-year-old movie lover, described by some as “Ladybird for film nerds.” Directed by Chandler Levack and starring Isaiah Lehtinen, Romina D’Ugo, Krista Bridges, and Percy Hynes White, it certainly looks entertaining. 

We’ll have plenty more coverage of individual films and filmmakers, as well as the numerous educational programs and free community offerings from SBIFF in the weeks to come, so stay tuned for updates.

From the SBIFF Opening Night Film Miranda’s Victim | Credit: Courtesy

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