Click here for the complete list of films, along with their descriptions and a preliminary screening schedule. Please note that times are subject to change.

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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by, announces its stellar line-up for 2012. The 27th edition offers a vast array of films representing 44 countries and a rich selection of films sure to delight audiences from all reaches of the globe. SBIFF is proud to welcome many promising and established filmmakers, as well as honorees to join in its grand tradition of celebrating independent film. The Festival begins Thursday, January 26 and continues through Sunday, February 5, 2012.

“Our program this year reflects invigorating change,” remarks SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “When I joined SBIFF ten years ago, I set out to bring the festival’s program and its sidebars to reflect the city of Santa Barbara as a city, and its community. This year we’ve taken that concept even further. We have a fantastic, quirky, all encompassing program.”


SBIFF 2012 will kick off at the historic Arlington Theatre with the World Premiere of the Sony Pictures Classics film Darling Companion, directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, and Ayelet Zurer. In Darling Companion, Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. When Joseph loses the dog after a wedding at their vacation home in the Rockies, the distraught Beth enlists the help of the few remaining guests and a mysterious young woman (Ayelet Zurer) in a frantic search. Each member of the search party is affected by the adventure, which takes them in unexpected directions – comic, harrowing, and sometimes deeply emotional. Lawrence Kasdan and cast will be in attendance.

The Opening Night film will be preceded by the new Pixar animated short film, La Luna, written and directed by Enrico Casarosa. La Luna is a fable of a young boy who heads to sea for a most unusual rite of passage. Following the Opening Night screening, the festivities will continue with a party at Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara. Opening Night Film and Gala is sponsored by Studio 7 and The Hollywood Reporter.

On Closing Night, SBIFF proudly presents the West Coast Premiere of Where Do We Go Now? directed by Nadine Labaki. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and Broadcast Film Critics Association nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this anti-war comedy offers a wildly creative take on the intractable religious conflict in a remote village. Fed up with mourning their husbands and sons, the women of the village, where Christians and Muslims live side by side, concoct inventive schemes to prevent sectarian violence from further corrupting their loved ones. To quash interreligious conflicts, the women are not above sabotaging the village’s sole television, colluding with the priest and imam, nor enlisting a busload of sexy Ukrainian strippers to distract their men. Through Labaki’s wonderfully insightful comic eye, Where Do We Go Now? confronts the hard truths of a fractured society, offering an alternate vision of transcendence and unity. The Closing Night film is sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent.


The Centerpiece Gala will feature the U.S. Premiere of Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke. Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience! Samsara reunites Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose previous films Baraka and Chronos were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry. Samsara expands on their effort to portray the connections between humanity and nature in a bold way. Filmed for over four years and in more than twenty countries, the film transports us through multiple cultures to sacred grounds, disaster sites, industrialized zones and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, the filmmakers subvert our expectations of a documentary. Instead, they encourage our own interpretations inspired by images and musical compositions that infuse the ancient with the modern. Samsara is a Tibetan word that means “the ever turning wheel of life,” and Fricke describes the film as a “guided meditation on the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.”


SBIFF continues its tradition of honoring the year’s standout performers with The 2012 Virtuosos Award.
The actors who were selected to be recognized for their exceptional performances are: Demián Bichir for his earnest portrayal as Carlos, a virtuous father struggling to provide for his son in A Better Life; Rooney Mara for her dark and provocative performance as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Melissa McCarthy for her role as the hilariously outspoken Megan in Bridesmaids; Patton Oswalt for masterfully navigating between the realms of comedy and drama as Matt Freehauf in Young Adult; Andy Serkis for stepping into the mind and body of an ape through his master of performance-capture technology in his role as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; and Shailene Woodley for bringing an emotional complexity to a character rarely seen at her age as Alexandra in The Descendants.

Comments Durling, “I’m ecstatic about this strong line-up of Virtuosos. They all gave us indelible performances.”

The Virtuosos Award was created to recognize a select group of actors who have distinguished themselves through performances in film this past year. Last year’s recipients for this award were Lesley Manville, John Hawkes, Jacki Weaver and Hailee Steinfeld.

The Award presentation, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger, is sponsored by Stella Artois and will now take place at the Arlington Theatre on Friday, February 3, 2012.


SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy-Award® frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 27th Santa Barbara International Film Festival proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film. The complete list of 2012 Honorees (in date order) is as follows:

➢ Viola Davis will receive The Outstanding Performer of the Year Award, moderated by indieWIRE’s Anne Thompson on Friday, January 27 at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored by Chumash Casino Resort.
➢ Christopher Plummer will receive the esteemed Modern Master Award, Presented by, moderated by longtime SBIFF friend and Deadline-Hollywood columnist Pete Hammond on Saturday, January 28 at the Arlington Theatre.
➢ Martin Scorsese will receive the American Riviera Award, moderated by film historian and longtime SBIFF friend Leonard Maltin, Monday, January 30 at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored by Bridlewood Estate Winery.
➢ 2012 Virtuosos Awards, presented to Demián Bichir (A Better Life), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Entertainment Weekly Sr. Writer, Dave Karger on Friday, February 3 at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored by Stella Artois.
➢ The Artist’s Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo will receive The Cinema Vanguard Award in recognition of artists who have forged their own path by taking artistic risks. The evening will be moderated by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling on Saturday, February 4 at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored by UGG® Australia.


The SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful and informative panels that feature a veritable who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar® contenders.

The series kicks off at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 28, with the ever-popular “It Starts With the Script,” screenwriters panel moderated by indieWIRE’s Anne Thompson. The panel takes place at the Lobero Theatre and is sponsored by Pacifica Graduate Institute.

And at 2:00 pm, the next panel is composed of some of the most creative women working in film today entitled “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz,” moderated by Madelyn Hammond, President, Madelyn Hammond & Assoc., and Former Chief Marketing Officer for Variety. The panel takes place at the Lobero.

The insights continue during the Fest’s second weekend on Saturday, February 4 at 11:00 a.m. with the “Directors on Directing” panel, moderated by Variety’s Peter Bart and sponsored by Brooks Institute. The panel takes place at the Lobero Theatre.

And at 2:00 p.m., also at the Lobero Theatre, is “Movers & Shakers” panel bringing together top producers to discuss their craft, moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein.

Panelists will be announced soon.


SBIFF Acquisitions Program – Continuing on its path to becoming one of the world’s most sought after and prestigious film festivals, SBIFF will debut its first ever Acquisitions Program, which will take place on the first weekend of the festival, January 27-29. The weekend long program will be run in association with Traction Media, a Los Angeles-based film production and sales company, and was created to allow the acquisitions community easy, industry-friendly access to films at SBIFF. Together, SBIFF and Traction will select the films to be presented in the program, and buyers will be afforded priority access to the chosen films. For more information, log onto

Field Trip to the Movies presented by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – SBIFF provides a fascinating and thought-provoking film program, “Field Trip to the Movies,” for 4,000 5th and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County. SBIFF provides FREE transportation to students from Title I schools. This year, SBIFF is expanding the program by creating a “film week” which will use film studies to reach 1st – 4th grade students as well. SBIFF staff and special guests will conduct in-class lectures. For the 27th Festival, SBIFF is thrilled to present Paramount Pictures’ hit animated comedy adventure, Rango, featuring director Gore Verbinski, who will participate in a Q&A following the screenings with the students and talk about the craft of animated filmmaking. This annual free screening, which takes place Friday, February 3 at the Arlington Theatre, is presented by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and co-sponsored by Cox, The Towbes Foundation and Wells Fargo Bank.

AppleBox Family Films – SBIFF presents AppleBox, a FREE family film section during the mornings of the two weekends that bookend the festival – Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29 and on Saturday, February 4 and Sunday, February 5. AppleBox is sponsored by Citrix Online, Mentor Worldwide, Metropolitan Theatres Corporation, RealD and Univision.

Warner Archives – SBIFF will feature a showcase of digitally restored masterpieces, including A Clockwork Orange (which is also the theme of the opening night party), Ben Hur, and the premiere of the digital restoration of Dangerous Liaisons. The Warner Archives Restoration team will be around throughout the opening weekend for Q&As following the screenings.

A Lawrence Kasdan Retrospective – SBIFF celebrates the director of our opening night film, Darling Companion, featuring screenings of Body Heat, Grand Canyon and The Big Chill, including a Q&A with the master director, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter awards columnist, Scott Feinberg.

10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition and Filmmaking Competition – The Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Final Draft, is comprised of 10 students who were selected out of 27 submissions from Santa Barbara area high school and college students who submitted a 10-page sample of their best fiction writing – screenplay, stage play, or short story – to their school’s representative. The five best script samples were chosen from the high school level and five from the college level. The finalists are then assigned a storyline and an industry professional to mentor them during the writing of their screenplay. Finalists meet with their mentor throughout the process, submitting their final draft in January 2012. On Tuesday, January 24, at 2pm at the Canary Hotel will be the 10-10-10 Press Conference where screenplays will be assigned to selected filmmakers.

The 10 student screenplays are matched with a category-appropriate Filmmaking finalist from the 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition, sponsored by Business First Bank, which consists of 10 students selected from 46 submissions. They will then produce a 10-minute film during the 10 days of the 27th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. On Sunday, February 5 at 1 pm at the Lobero Theatre, all ten completed films will be screened and the winners will be announced. The winning films will then be screened prior to the Closing Night film.

Youth CineMedia – SBIFF presents a documentary film series produced entirely by teens involved in the Youth CineMedia program. Striving to help children transition away from gang life, drugs and alcohol and into college and careers in music, photography and video production, the organization offers creative tools, training and support for underprivileged and at-risk teens. Free to the public with Q&A following.

3RD Weekend –The SBIFF will continue their tradition of presenting the “3RD Weekend,” which will feature the highlights of the 27th Festival for Santa Barbara residents. The winning films will be screened throughout the weekend of February 10-12 at the Riviera Theatre. Screenings are free and tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis at the Riviera Theatre. Screening times will be posted on the SBIFF website at in the days following Closing Night.


SBIFF will continue utilizing social media throughout the course of the festival. SBIFF will use both Facebook and Twitter in order to enhance the festival experience for festival attendees, filmmakers, and press.

• Both Facebook and Twitter will serve as valuable resources, providing up to the minute information on program changes and announcements. With these tools, festival attendees will be given many new ways to actively participate in events and activities. Throughout the 11 days, there will be many exciting opportunities to win film tickets, tribute tickets, and festival memorabilia. SBIFF also encourages everyone to share their favorite moments, films, and photos as the festival progresses, many of which may be reposted or tweeted.
• For filmmakers, these tools will be utilized to both promote their film at the festival, and also to network with other filmmakers and industry insiders in attendance.
• Members of the press should also take note as these tools will be used to make valuable announcements and highlight published coverage.

For more information follow SBIFF on Facebook ( and Twitter (@officialSBIFF)


SBIFF will continue its commitment to feature exciting, culturally enlightening, and entertaining programming and sidebars. 197 films from around the world will be brought together to form an incredibly unique and diverse festival experience. In 2012 SBIFF will enhance its program with 4 new sidebars, including:

➢ CINEMA NOUVEAU: a competitive selection of films by emerging French directors. This section will spotlight new voices in French cinema and increase awareness for the cultural and cinematic importance of Francophone film.
➢ CINESONIC: feature films about iconic musicians that have changed the sonic landscape and pushed cinema in new directions. As the centerpiece event, Santa Barbara’s alt-rockers, Gardens & Villa, will perform the world premiere of an original score to F.W. Murnau’s silent masterpiece, FAUST (1926) at the Lobero Theatre.
➢ KOLNOA: is a selection of films that reflect on the Jewish and Israeli experience from cultural, historical, and political perspectives. These films examine diverse aspects of Jewish life and open a window into what it means to be a Jewish in the twenty-first century.
➢ SCREEN CUISINE: celebrates the culinary delights of cinema and highlights sustainable practices of today’s farmers, chefs and entrepreneurs working to heal the environment and keep us healthy.
Films in the 27th edition of the festival will compete in the following categories:

➢ CINEMA NOUVEAU, sponsored by Los Angeles Film & TV Office French Embassy
➢ SPANISH/LATIN AMERICA CINEMA, sponsored by Alaska Airlines
➢ THE FUND FOR SANTA BARBARA SOCIAL JUSTICE, a slate of unforgettable documentary stories.

Additional sidebars include:

➢ REEL NATURE, a nature films series programmed by renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy.
➢ TO THE MAXXX, a Santa Barbara specialty, programmed by Santa Barbara filmmaker Russ Spencer and features the best in sports films and documentaries.
➢ SANTA BARBARA FILMMAKERS, sponsored by CASA Magazine and Samy’s Camera, programmed by Russ Spencer.
➢ APPLEBOX, a slate of family films offered free to the community, sponsored by Citrix Online, Mentor Worldwide, Metropolitan Theatres Corporation, RealD and Univision

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is proud to have been selected by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be an official Academy Award®-qualifying festival, giving the winners of the Bruce Corwin Awards for Best Live Action Short Under 30 Minutes and Best Animation Short Film eligibility to be nominated for the prestigious Oscars®.

Select films will vie for the following awards:


The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema – for the Best Independent film
Juried by industry professionals
Award: camera package worth $60,000

The Best International Feature Film Award – for the best Foreign Feature
Juried by industry professionals

Best Documentary Film Award – for the best documentary feature film
Juried by industry professionals

Nueva Vision Award – for the best Spanish-language feature
Juried by industry professionals

Cinema Nouveau Award – for the best French feature

The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award Sponsored by The Fund for Santa Barbara – for documentary film that addresses social justice issues
Juried by a committee selected by The Fund for Santa Barbara
Award: $2,500 cash

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film Under 30 Minutes
Juried by industry professionals

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation Short Film
Juried by industry professionals

10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition – – for Best of the 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competitor, sponsored by Business First Bank
Juried by industry professionals.
Award for Best 10-10-10 Short Film (1 college, 1 high school): gift certificate from Samy’s Camera
Participation consideration: All participants receive a copy of Final Draft software.
The winning films will be screened at the Closing Night Event.

10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition, Sponsored by Final Draft for best screenplay
Juried by industry professionals
Award for Best 10-10-10 Screenplay (1 college, 1 high school): gift certificate from Samy’s Camera
Participation consideration: All participants will receive a copy of Final Draft software.

Audience Choice Award, sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by, is set to run January 26 – February 5, 2012. Now in its 27th year, SBIFF is dedicated to the art of filmmaking, which seeks out and consequently offers a broad array of international and independent films, with a commitment to diversity. SBIFF, which attracts more than 70,000 visitors each year, endeavors to enrich the community both culturally and economically by presenting eleven days of films, tributes and symposiums, raising consciousness of film as an art form. SBIFF presents quality American and world independent films, Latin American and French sidebars as well as documentary cinema within the beautiful setting of downtown Santa Barbara, a premier tourist destination. SBIFF continues its commitment to education through its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Field Trip to the Movies, presented by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and educational panel discussions. For more information, please visit

Tickets are still available for all events. We still have Platinum Passes, which provide admission and priority seating to all Festival screenings, Tributes and sponsored events. The State Street Pass, perfect for locals, allows admission to all “non peak-hour” screenings which excludes the 4:00 through 8:00 pm screenings; The Tribute Package provides entry for two to all the Tributes, Opening Night Film and Gala, Closing Night film and one 10-film MiniPak; and The Film Geek Package offers tickets for two to Opening and Closing Nights and all Panel events plus one 10-film MiniPak. In addition, the Cinema Pass gives you admission to all films including Opening and Closing night and the Introductory Package provides access for two to Opening and Closing nights, as well as two 4-film MiniPaks. Prices and details are available at or call 805-963-0023.

For festival information and schedule of events and films, log onto Be sure to join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! All press must request credentials by clicking on Deadline for credential submissions is Friday, January 23.


Carol Marshall, Director of Publicity
Stephenie Hope – Publicist
Rob Mankin – SBIFF Publicity Assistant
Sasha Barnes – SBIFF Publicity Assistant



Click here for the complete list of films, along with their descriptions and a preliminary screening schedule.. Please note that times are subject to change.