Click here for a PDF of the Press Release

Click here for the list of Films

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG® Australia, announces its highly-anticipated line-up for 2015. The 30th edition offers a vast array of films representing 54 countries, 23 world premieres and 52 US premieres, tributes with the year’s top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach.

SBIFF is proud to welcome filmmakers and honorees to join in the celebration of independent film. The Festival begins Tuesday, January 27 and continues through Saturday, February 7, 2015.

SBIFF 2015 will kick off on Tuesday January 27, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the US Premiere of Desert Dancer, directed by Richard Raymond. Set in Iran, Desert Dancer is a powerful and unbelievable true story that follows the brave ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin and his friends (including Elaheh played by Freida Pinto) risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as- Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Afhsin and Elaheh also learn much from each other, most importantly how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another

On Closing Night, SBIFF proudly presents Disney’s McFarland, USA, Directed by Niki Caro and starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello. Based on the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

SBIFF is honored to welcome back UGG® Australia, returning for their 3rd year as the Presenting Sponsor of the Festival. “We are very proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 30th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival,” said UGG® Australia Vice President of Marketing Nancy Mamann, who is also a member of the festival’s Board of Directors. “It’s a privilege for our company to participate in this celebration of talent and creativity.”

SBIFF, in conjunction with Variety, is proud to present the first annual Variety Artisans Awards, which will take place on Tuesday, February 3, at the Lobero Theatre, moderated by Variety’s Sr. VP Awards Editor, Tim Gray. The Tribute evening will celebrate those essential to the filmmaking process and who have exhibited the most exciting and innovative work of the year in the fields of Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Hair & Makeup, Production Design, Score, Song, Sound Editing & Mixing and Visual Effects. The audience will be treated to a unique and lively discussion with the honorees about their individual crafts and the ways in which their fields all support and rely on each other.


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 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film. The complete list of 2015 Honorees (in date order) is as follows:

-The Cousteau Family – Jean-Michel, Fabien and Celine – will receive the The Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking, moderated by Tim Matheson, on Wednesday, January 28 at the Arlington Theatre.

-Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award, on Thursday, January 29 at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored By Tanqueray.

-Jennifer Aniston will receive the Montecito Award, on Friday, January 30 at the Arlington Theatre.

-Michael Keaton will receive the esteemed Modern Master Award, moderated by longtime friend and film historian Leonard Maltin on Saturday, January 31 at the Arlington Theatre. Presented by UGG® Australia.

-The 2015 Virtuosos Award, will be presented to Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up), Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood), Logan Lerman (Fury), David Oyelowo (Selma), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl ), J.K Simmons (Whiplash) and Jenny Slate (Obvious Child),in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Dave Karger, Chief Correspondent and host of “The Frontrunners” on Fandango on Sunday, February 1 at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored by Travel + Leisure and Delano Las Vegas.

-The Variety Artisans Award, will be presented to Dion Beebe, Into the Woods (Cinematography), Sandra Adair, Boyhood (Editing), Bill Corso & Kathrine Gordon, Foxcatcher (Hair & Makeup), Suzie Davies, Mr. Turner (Production Design), Sean Patterson/ Tegan & Sara, “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie (Song), Richard King & Mark Weingarten, Interstellar (Sound Mixing & Editing), Joe Letteri, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes & The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (VFX), moderated by Variety’s Senior VP Awards Editor, Tim Gray on Tuesday, February 3 at the Lobero Theatre. Sponsored by Variety.

-Outstanding Directors of the Year Tribute on Wednesday, February 4, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg at the Arlington Theatre, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter.

-Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette will receive the American Riviera Award on Thursday, February 5, moderated by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling at the Arlington Theatre. Sponsored by Sunstone Vineyards & Winery.

-Steve Carell will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award, moderated by Pete Hammond, on Friday, February 6 at the Arlington Theatre.


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

The panel series begins at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 31, with “It Starts With the Script” (Screenwriters Panel), bringing together top writers to discuss their craft. The panel will be moderated by indieWIRE’s Anne Thompson and sponsored by Pacifica Graduate Institute.

At 2:00 pm, we continue with “Movers and Shakers,” (Producers Panel), bringing together the industry’s most prolific producers to talk about current projects, hopes for the future of filmmaking, and insights into the creative process. Moderated by Los Angeles Times film writer Glenn Whipp and sponsored by Fielding Graduate University.

Panels continue during the Fest’s second weekend on Saturday, February 7 at 11:00 a.m, with Creative Forces: Women in the Business (Women’s Panel), moderated by Madelyn Hammond, President, Madelyn Hammond & Assoc., and Former Chief Marketing Officer for Variety and sponsored by Brooks Institute.

All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre.


SBIFF received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its educational programs, including a new film studies program that will bring 10 students from across the country.

Commented SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, “We are honored that our organization was among those selected to receive this grant, which does so much to support the arts throughout the country. The support of NEA will allow SBIFF to continue to expand its educational reach, and impact the next generation of filmmakers.”

Student Film Studies Program – New this year, the student film studies program will bring 10 undergraduate film students from across the country for a three day symposium with a focus on film appreciation, criticism, and analysis. Students will have the opportunity to learn from notable industry professionals and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival through a unique mix of guided and self-guided opportunities, allowing students to customize the experience and benefit from all the Festival has to offer. Students will have access to screenings, panels, Q&A sessions, celebrity tribute events, and private sessions with filmmakers and media professionals in a classroom setting.

Free Public Screenings – This year, SBIFF will offer free public screenings at the Lobero Theatre throughout the Festival. Check for more information on screening times and dates.

Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars that will be free to the public and will take place in the UGG® Pavilion on Thursday January 29, Friday January 30, Sunday February 1, Monday February 2, Tuesday February 3, and Wednesday, February 4 at 11:00am. Check for more information on screening times and dates.

SBIFF Acquisitions Program – SBIFF presents the 4th Annual Acquisitions Program on the first weekend of the festival, January 30-February 1, 2015. Since it began four years ago, this weekend long event has grown significantly with a number of films from last year’s program going on to receive distribution. The program was created to allow the acquisitions community easy, industry-friendly access to films at SBIFF.

Super Silent Sunday – On Sunday February 1st, SBIFF will present a classic silent film, Douglas Fairbank’s The Iron Mask, at the Arlington Theatre completely Free of Charge. Live accompaniment will be provided by Adam Aceto on the theatre’s Wonder Morton pipe organ, which is one of only five in existence, and is a unique opportunity to connect with the rich history of cinema.

Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies – More than a decade ago, SBIFF first introduced “Field Trip to the Movies,” the brainchild of renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, whose passion for exploring and sharing those adventures with audiences through filmmaking was the inspiration for this fascinating and thought-provoking program. Now renamed “Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies,” the goal of the program, which is offered to 4,500 5th and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County, is to use filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident and culturally aware thinkers and empower students and teachers with a novel approach to education. Academy Award® winning filmmakers have participated each year – including James Cameron, Lee Unkrich, Gore Verbinski, Peter Ramsey, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee among others. SBIFF provides FREE transportation to students from Title I schools. This year, SBIFF is once again including an educational outreach program that will reach students in participating schools. Here, SBIFF staff and special guests will conduct an interactive film-related seminar within their own classroom. For the 30th Festival, SBIFF is thrilled to present the critically-acclaimed hit animated comedy adventure, The Lego Movie, featuring writers and directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, who will participate in a Q&A following the screenings with the students and talk about the craft of animated filmmaking. This annual free event, which takes place Wednesday, February 4 at the Arlington Theatre, is co-sponsored by The Bentson Foundation, Macy’s, Wells Fargo Bank, National Endowment for the Arts, Montecito Bank & Trust, The Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts and Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation.

The Tribute Awards were once again specially designed by Santa Barbara’s own Daniel Gibbings Jewelry. The Award is inspired by the iconic steeple of Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre and is handcrafted in metal and is 24 karat gold-plated, with a custom marble base. “We wanted to create an award that is not only quintessential to Santa Barbara’s beautiful culture and performing arts, but also embodied the passion and creativity we use in crafting our unique jewelry designs,” states CEO and Creative Director Daniel Gibbings and Setenay Ozdemir-Osman. “Just as the Arlington Theatre takes our imagination to new places, so do the visionary filmmakers and actors that are honored each year by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. We are truly honored to design and create all of the awards for SBIFF.”

AppleBox Family Films – SBIFF presents AppleBox, FREE family films on Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1 and Saturday, February 7. This year, SBIFF will screen Animated Feature frontrunners Big Hero 6 (9:00 am, Jan. 31), The Boxtrolls (9:00am, Feb. 1), The Lego Movie (9:00am, Feb. 7), and How to Train Your Dragon 2 (11:30am Feb. 7) Presented by Cox, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, KPMR Univision, Citrix, Metropolitan Theatres, and MOXI

Santa Barbara Filmmakers – The Santa Barbara filmmaking community continues to captivate and inspire audiences with this year’s impressive line-up. Santa Barbara filmmakers provide a diverse, thought-provoking series of features and shorts. Their programs underscore the emerging talent of up-and-coming filmmakers as well as seasoned veterans, and will be part of the juried competition this year for the very first time. The Santa Barbara Filmmakers program is sponsored by Cox.

10-10-10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Competition Presented by Relativity Education. The Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Final Draft, Inc. and The Riordan Foundation, is comprised of 10 students who were selected out of 48 submissions from Santa Barbara area high school and college students. The finalists were then assigned a genre and an industry professional to mentor them during the writing of their screenplay.

The 10 student screenplays are matched with a category-appropriate Filmmaking finalist from the Filmmaking Competition, sponsored by Heritage Oaks Bank and The Riordan Foundation, which consists of 10 students selected from 36 submissions. They will then produce a 10-minute film during the 10 days of the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

On Monday, January 26 the 10-10-10 Press Conference will introduce the screenwriting and filmmaking finalists. On Saturday, February 7 at the Arlington Theatre, all ten completed films will be screened and the winners will be announced.

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 – SBIFF will once again present “3RD Weekend,” which will feature the highlights of the 30th Festival for Santa Barbara residents. The films will be screened throughout the weekend of February 13-15 at the Riviera Theatre. Screenings are free and seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Screening times will be posted in the days following Closing Night. 3rd Weekend is sponsored by Patagonia.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG® Australia, is dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, SBIFF offers 200+ films, tributes and symposiums that range from American indie films to world cinema and everything in-between. With its commitment to cultural diversity and powerful storytelling, SBIFF transforms beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, CA into a rich destination for film lovers, which attract more than 85,000 attendees. SBIFF is committed to providing free children’s education and community outreach programs through its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. The Festival is set to run January 27 – February 7, 2015. For more information, please visit

Click here for a PDF of the Press Release

Click here for the list of Films