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SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to making a positive impact utilizing the power of film. SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film.

In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for our program expansion. This marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center focused on the art of film and is an incredible opportunity to expand our mission of educational outreach. Particularly important to SBIFF is making available high quality learning opportunities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Our programs and reach are more robust than ever before.


SBIFF Interview with Anishinaabe director Darlene Naponse's poetic love story: Stellar

Three quick questions with director Darlene Naponse:
By Emmanuel Itier and Roxanna Bina
What was the inspiration for this film?
The film started with the desire to connect. It tells the story of love, the environmental effects of mining, colonialism, and the future. It's about the need for human beings to seek a connection with the other and to be recognized and appreciated. 


What are the themes of importance?
Stellar examines the connection between two people and how our past, present, and future affect the way we connect with one another. I wanted two beautiful and damaged humans to find their way together. 


What is the takeaway?
Love is essential. Love is real.  


How important is it to be at SBIFF and what impact is expected?
SBIFF is our US Premiere. Having the audience experience Stellar in the cinema is our goal. To be able to see and feel Stellar's world is so beautiful in the theatre. Networking and sharing the work is an important impact. We want to continue to raise issues around the indigenous perspectives.
Anishinaabe director Darlene Naponse's poetic love story, Stellar premiered at the 2022 Toronto Int'l Film Festival and met with critical and audience acclaim. Stellar is the fourth feature from Naponse and is based on her short story of the same name.
The love story between indigenous SHE and HE takes place in the unexpected haven of a Northern Ontario dive bar while natural disasters unfold. SHE and HE sit apart, quietly in a tiny dive bar. They accidentally touch, setting atmospheric changes into motion and a meteorite blasting through. As it approaches Earth, She and He continue in their protected selves. As the meteorite bursts onto the land, it shoots fireballs hundreds of kilometers away from the bar. Pushing the water far, and building hills of rock, the water returns as a tsunami seemingly melting the rocks away. Inside the bar, She and He are untouched by massive wildfires, flooding, and more happening outside as the meteorite drops down, creating the extreme environmental crises seen only through the giant front window. Inside this tiny dive bar, through touch, their duality formulates.
Based on historical research, the meteorite hit the area of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory, millions of years ago, forming one of the largest iron ore deposits in the world. Millions of years later, the land is occupied by the Anishnawbek of Atikameksheng, then as colonizers approach, the natural beauty of this formation becomes fortune to the settlers. This is the backstory and environment – the natural world around the lovers. The story pushes through historical trauma, formed by colonization. Stellar is set within the fluidity of time, touch, realism, and reverie. Based on Indigenous knowledge and way of life, the story allows two people to heal through touch, calm, love, and patience in a fantastical space filled with love.
Stellar is written, directed by Darlene Naponse, and produced by Darlene Naponse, Jennifer Weiss, and Paula Devonshire. The film stars Elle-Maija Tailfeathers(  ) as "She," Braeden Clarke ( ) as "He," Rossif Sutherland as "The Bartender," and K.C. Collins (. ) as "Dance," with appearances by Heli Kijanen, Megan Dawson, Billy Merasty and Tina Keeper. Running Time: 87 min

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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has star wattage and a wealth of premieres in a Mediterrean-style city by the sea.

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The team of editors of the The Santa Barbara Blog:
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