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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.




With closing film of festival, the Lebanese hit film by actress/writer/director Nadine Labaki, WHERE DO WE GO NOW? (Arabic: وهلّأ لوين؟ w halla' la wayn‎, French: Et maintenant, on va ou?, 2011) which held its world premier during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival as part of 'Un Certain Regard'. It was the Lebanese 2011 Oscar submission this year. The film held its North American premier in Toronto at TIFF, 2011 where it won the Cadillac People's Choice Award.

-Vanessa McMahon


Santa Barbara, CA - The 27th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced the winners of the 2012 festival competition at a Press Conference and Brunch, Sunday morning at the famed Fess Parker's Resort Santa Barbara. To the delight of patrons and industry professionals, the festival's 27th season continued the tradition of presenting purely exceptional films, spanning genres and topics that surpass anything before. Throughout the 11 days, cinephiles from around the globe packed the theaters of State Street, creating one of the most vivacious periods the area has ever seen.

Commented SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling,“Each year, SBIFF strives to feature film from all ranges of the ‘cine-spectrum’. Successfully building upon this tradition of excellence, the lineup for the 27th edition of the festival showcased a particularly captivating yet challenging collection of works. With even more broadly accessible crowd pleasers and premiere films distinguished by their master of storytelling, theaters filled to the brim screening after screening.”

The esteemed Jury for the 2012 SBIFF included: actor/comedian Dave Koechner; actor/director Brad Hall; actor/writer W. Earl Brown; actor Anthony Zerbe and his wife Arnette Zerbe; SBIFF originator Phyllis de Picciotto; director Glenn Jordan; actor Tim Matheson; online awards columnist Kris Tapley and writer/ director Perry Lang.

The winning films are as follows:

The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema, given to a unique independent feature that has been made outside mainstream Hollywood, went to UP THERE, directed by Zam Salim, about Martin, whois stuck in a dead-end job, welcoming the newly departed into the afterlife. All he dreams of is going "up there," and he attempts to cope with his death by keeping his nose clean and minding his own business. But all this is thrown into disarray when, in order to track down an errant lost soul. Winner received a Panavision camera package worth $60,000.

A special Jury Prize for Artistic Distinction was awarded to BARRYMORE, directed by Erik Canuel and starring Christopher Plummer, to acknowledge Mr. Plummer's superb performance, Mr. Luce's remarkable play and Mr. Canuel's adaptation and uncanny ability to capture the play (originally directed by Gene Saks) in a completely original piece of cinematic art.

The Best International Film Award went to FREE MEN, directed by Ismael Ferroukhi about an Algerian Muslim immigrant who joins the French Resistance to save Algerian Jews.

The Nueva Vision Award for the best Spanish/Latin American film was awarded to FOUND MEMORIES, directed by Julia Murat. A young photographer finds a forgotten ghost town where only a handful of old people live, and changes their lives forever.

The jury awarded an Honorable Mention to THE RUMBLE OF THE STONES (El Rumor de las Piedras), directed by Alejandro Bellame Palacios. Venezuela’s official submission for the Academy Awards, Rumble of the Stones is a heartfelt and compelling portrait of the enduring power of a mother’s love against the backdrop of the social problems of modern-day Venezuela

Best Documentary Film Awardwent to PRETTY OLD, directed by Walter Matteson. Pretty Old follows four diverse women, ages 67 to 94, competing in the 30th year Anniversary of the Ms. Senior Sweetheart Beauty Pageant in Fall River, Massachusetts, exploring what it truly means to “age beautifully.”

The Cinema Nouveau Award went to HEAT WAVE (Apres Le Sud),directed by Jean-Jacques Jauffret. Based on a true story, HEAT WAVE offers up a story from intersecting points of view where different destinies cross paths and are reunited by a tragic event.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film Under 30 Minutes went toL TRAIN, directed by Anna Musso. Executive produced by Alexander Payne, L TRAIN is the story of Sunny, a teenaged African American girl commuting through an inner city winter - an existence that injects a negativity into her long days.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation Short Film went to THE MISSING KEY, directed by Jonathan Nix. In a richly re-imagined Venice of the early 1920s, young composer Hero Wasabi must compete against the unscrupulous Count Telefino in the prestigious Abacus Scroll musical competition.

The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award Sponsored by The Fund for Santa Barbara for a documentary film that addresses social justice issues also went to DIRTY ENERGY, directed by Bryan Hopkins, which tells the personal story of those directly affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and who are now struggling to rebuild their lives amidst the economic devastation and long-term health risks. Winner receives $2500.

The Audience Choice Award, sponsored by the SB Independent, went to STARBUCK, directed by Ken Scott, about a former sperm donor who discovers he's the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to determine the identity of their biological father, known only by the pseudonym Starbuck.

The results of the 10-10-10 filmmaking competition will be announced at the closing night festivities.

The festival closes tonight with 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-warcomedy 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 thevillage, 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 afractured society, offering an alternate vision of transcendence and unity. The Closing Night film is sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent.

Photos are available at



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About Santa Barbara

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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Carol Marshall, Felicia Tomasko, Vanessa McMahon, Marla and Mark Hamperin, Kim Deisler and Bruno Chatelin

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