Santa Barbara International Film Festival Unveils 2023 Programming

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Unveils 2023 Programming

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced plans Wednesday for 52 world premieres and 78 U.S. premieres spanning a total of 43 countries throughout the 11-day event.

“At a time where there’s a dwindling of movie theater attendance, the role of film festivals has never been more important,” said SBIFF executive director Roger Durling. “At SBIFF, with the 38th edition, our marching orders are clear, to celebrate movies and to nurture and exalt the film community, the artists as well as the cinephiles. It’s a great slate with 43 countries represented.”

The festival starts Feb. 8 with the world premiere of “Miranda’s Victim” from director-producer Michelle Danner. The period piece is set in the year 1963 and documents the true story of Patricia “Trish” Weir (Abigal Breslin), who attempts to put her abuser behind bars after being kidnapped and sexually assaulted at 18 years old.

Director Chandler Levack’s “I Like Movies” will close out the festival with its U.S. premiere on Feb. 18. Isaiah Lehtinen stars in the feature as Lawrence Kweller, a 17-year-old introvert and lover of cinema who befriends the manager of a video store.

Academy Award frontrunners and performers like Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Fraser, Austin Butler, Kerry Condon, Danielle Deadwyler, Nina Hoss, Stephanie Hsu, Jeremy Pope, Ke Huy Quan, Jeremy Strong and Colin Farrell are set to receive tribute awards during the festival at the Arlington Theatre. The awards schedule is available for viewing on the SBIFF website. More honorees will be announced leading up to the event.

Another award will be presented to a dramatic film at the festival that aligns with the mission of the Anti-Defamation League “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”

SBIFF also announced the implementation of an all-new International Directors Panel at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 with free admission. Three other panels will return to the historic Arlington Theatre this year: the Writers Panel at 11 a.m. on Feb. 11; the Women’s Panel at 2 p.m. on Feb. 11; and the Producers Panel at 11 a.m. on Feb. 12.

Other highlights of SBIFF 2023 include educational programs like the Film Studies Program for undergraduate film students, the 10-10-10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition for high school and college filmmakers, Mike’s FieldTrip to the Movies for kids in grades four through six and free filmmaker seminars at Tamsen Gallery.

For a complete lineup of films screening at the event, visit the SBIFF website or app. For a list of features premiering at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, see below.

World Premiere Feature Films

21 Miles in Malibu

Directed by Nic Davis

United States

American Outlaws

Directed by Sean McEwen

United States

Bringing Back Our Wetland

Directed by Michael Love

United States

Bullets

Directed by Peter Pontikis

Sweden

Call Me Dancer

Directed by Leslie Shampaine, Pip Gilmour

United States

Commitment to Life

Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz

United States

Dancing with Mom

Directed by Trish Neufeld

Canada

The Dirty Divide

Directed by Paul Freedman

United States

Dr. Tony Fauci

Directed by Mark Mannucci

United States

Full Circle

Directed by Josh Berman

United States

Go On, Be Brave

Directed by Miriam McSpadden, Brian Beckman

United States

Grace Point

Directed by Rory Karpf

United States

The Harvest

Directed by Caylee So

United States

HELEN|BELIEVE

Directed by Dylan Mulick

United States

The House Band

Directed by Laura Brownson

United States

Ibiza Blue (La corriente)

Directed by Jesús Lloveras

Spain

Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection

Directed by Randy Martin

United States

Killing Me Softly With His Songs

Directed by Danny Gold

United States

The Legend of MexMan

Directed by Josh Polon

United States

Miranda’s Victim

Directed by Michelle Danner

United States

Rachel Hendrix

Directed by Victor Nuñez

United States

Rachel’s Farm

Directed by Rachel Ward

Australia

The Right to Read

Directed by Jenny Mackenzie

United States

Samichay, in Search of Happiness (Samichay, en busca de la felicidad)

Directed by Mauricio Franco Tosso

Peru

The Team (El equipo)

Directed by Bernardo Ruiz

United States

Tove’s Room (Toves værelse)

Directed by Martin Zandvliet

Denmark

Vishniac

Directed by Laura Bialis

United States

Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever

Directed by Bernardo Ruiz

Wade in the Water: A Journey Into Black Surfing and Aquatic Culture

Directed by David Mesfin

United States

U.S. Premiere Feature Films

Alam

Directed by Firas Khoury

Palestine

Autobiography

Directed by Makbul Mubarak

Indonesia

Baby Ruby

Directed by Bess Wohl

United States

A Bit of Light

Directed by Stephen Moyer

United Kingdom

Black Mambas

Directed by Lena Karbe

Germany

Bones of Crows

Directed by Marie Clements

Canada

Bread and Salt (Chleb i sól)

Directed by Damian Kocur

Poland

A Bunch of Amateurs

Directed by Kim Hopkins

United Kingdom

The Chambermaid (Sluzka)

Directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská

Slovakia

Coyote (Le coyote)

Directed by Katherine Jerkovic

Canada

Daughter of Rage (La hija de todas las rabias)

Directed by Laura Baumeister

Nicaragua

Dear Memories

Directed by Nahuel Lopez

Germany

Everybody Wants to Be Loved (Alle wollen geliebt werden)

Directed by Katharina Woll

Germany

Exodus

Directed by Abbe Hassan

Sweden

Fathers & Mothers (Fædre og mødre)

Directed by Paprika Steen

Denmark

Filip

Directed by Michał Kwiecinski

Poland

The Hotel (Lu guan)

Directed by Wáng Xiăoshuài

Chinese Hong Kong

How is Katia? (Yak Tam Katia?)

Directed by Christina Tynkevych

Ukraine

I Like Movies

Directed by Chandler Levack

United States

Into My Name (Nel mio nome)

Directed by Nicolò Bassetti

Italy

Jane Campion, The Cinema Woman (Jane Campion, la femme cinéma)

Directed by Julie Bertuccelli

France

La jauría

Directed by Andrés Ramírez Pulido

Colombia

Lakelands

Directed by Robert Higgins, Patrick McGivney

Ireland

Leila’s Brothers

Directed by Saeed Roustaee

Iran

A Letter from Helga (Svar við bréfi Helgu)

Directed by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir

Iceland

Lyra

Directed by Alison Millar

Ireland

Maestro(s)

Directed by Bruno Chiche

France

A Man (Aru otoko)

Directed by Kei Ishikawa

Japan

Manuela

Directed by Clara Cullen

United States

My Name is Happy

Directed by Nick Read, Ayse Toprak

United Kingdom

The Nannies (Les femmes du square)

Directed by Julien Rambaldi

France

Narcosis

Directed by Martijn de Jong

Netherlands

North Circular

Directed by Luke McManus

Ireland

The Other Widow (Pilegesh)

Directed by Ma’ayan Rypp

Israel

Pinto

Directed by Narges Abyar

Iran

Red Shoes (Zapatos rojos)

Directed by Carlos Eichelmann Kaiser

Mexico

Retreat (Réduit)

Directed by Leon Schwitter

Switzerland

Sanaa

Directed by Sudhanshu Saria

India

Savoy

Directed by Zohar Wagner

Israel

Second Act (Andra akten)

Directed by Mårten Klingberg

Sweden

Semret

Directed by Caterina Mona

Switzerland

The Sixth Child (Le sixième enfant)

Directed by Léopold Legrand

France

Stay With Us (Reste un peu)

Directed by Gad Elmaleh

France

Stellar (Ananghoonska)

Directed by Darlene Naponse

Canada

Summerlight And Then Comes The Night (Sumarljós og svo kemur nóttin)

Directed by Elfar Aðalsteins

Iceland

T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets

Directed by Sophie Fiennes

United Kingdom

The Taste of Apples is Red (Ta’am al tufah, ahmar)

Directed by Ehab Tarabieh

Israel

Three Nights A Week (Trois nuits par semaine)

Directed by Florent Gouëlou

France

Traces (Tragovi)

Directed by Dubravka Turić

Croatia

Valeria is Getting Married (Valeria mithatenet)

Directed by Michal Vinik

Israel

The Volunteer (La voluntaria)

Directed by Nely Reguera

Spain

Wild Flowers (Girasoles silvestres)

Directed by Jaime Rosales

Spain

Woman at Sea (Grand marin)

Directed by Dinara Drukarova

Iceland

The Young Arsonists

Directed by Sheila Pye

Canada

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