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Delroy Lindo of DA 5 BLOODS to receive SBIFF’s American Riviera Award

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Delroy Lindo is so convincing in Spike Lee's DA 5 BLOODS, it feels like a documentary. But this latest outing is only a fraction of the deeply gifted Lindo's oeuvre. When he receives the American Riviera Award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) this Spring, the full measure of a storied career will be celebrated. Read on... SANTA BARBARA, CA: Delroy Lindo is set to receive the illustrious American Riviera Aw...

Sacha Baron Cohen gets his due as SBIFF's Outstanding Performer set for April

by Quendrith Johnosn, Los Angeles Correspondent BORAT and its subsesquent "Movefilm" made quite a splash with the Rudy Giuliani moment. Ironically Mr. Giuliani's "hair dye" press conference was even more impactful on the controversial President's attorney. That being said, The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor Cohen with an Outstanding Performer Award this April. It's an acknowledgement of his stunning career, which began as parody and l...

Brad Pitt Admits Turning Down THE MATRIX, But Maltin Master’s Life Has Been Surreal

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent SANTA BARBARA, CA (1/23/2020): Brad Pitt continued his victory lap around the Awards Circuit with the Maltin Modern Master Award from 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presented by UGG last night. The festival pulled out the big guns with Leonard Maltin conducting the sold-out tribute to Brad Pitt like the maestro of media that he is with this eponymous award. The Hollywood Leading Man admitted up front, “I did...

Laura Dern Follows Big SAG Win with Glittery Cinema Vanguard at SBIFF

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent SANTA BARBARA,CA (1/22/2020): It was the kind of Dream Weekend most actors will never experience; after SAG Awards on Friday night, by Tuesday, Laura Dern was picking up a glitzy tribute prize in Santa Barbara for life achievement.  And there’s something so very ‘Laura Dern’ in the way Laura Dern parses her acceptance speech sentences, as distinctive as her onscreen persona. This master-stroke in delivering lines was...

Adam Driver: On Being Alive & Other MARRIAGE STORY Insights at SBIFF

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When Adam Driver received the Outstanding Performers of the Year Award, presented by Belvedere Vodka, last night at the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), there was a little bit of actor family drama as preamble. MARRIAGE STORY co-star Scarlett Johansson was also set to appear, but was said to miss the event due to illness.   SANTA BARBARA, CA - Jan. 17: Adam Driver (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF) T...

That’s Not Just Our Opinion, Man: Jeff Bridges Aced American Riveria Award Night

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When the Lebowski Fest comes to Los Angeles on March 3, you’ll see why Jeff Bridges is so linked to The Dude from that movie, but last night for the American Riviera Award in Santa Barbara, folks got to see for themselves. At the Arlington Theater, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, it was practically a Love-In. The honoree showed up with his wife of 40 years, “my sweetheart” Susan Geston, and his two c...

Sandra Oh Rides High in New Animation WINDOW HORSES

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When a film hits the zeitgeist like animation WINDOW HORSES, directed by Ann Marie Fleming, you’ve got to pay attention. Usually a preamble isn’t required in a film review, but WINDOW HORSES, voiced by Sandra Oh and in rotation this week at Santa Barbara International Film Festival starts with a funny story. You’ve heard of President Trump’s Executive Order, known as “not-a-Muslim-ban,” on seven Muslim countr...

No Shut Up And Dance Here, Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone Win Outstanding Performers

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent  Something Emma Stone says in an off-hand way when she and Ryan Gosling pick up the Outstanding Performers of the Year from Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) on Friday night really sticks. Seated beside Gosling, her co-star and co-nominee for the acting Oscars in LA LA LAND, Stone plays with the 20’s fringe on her dress, then offers this insight: “movies make us feel less alone, I guess, that’s what they...

We’ve All Had Denzel Moments, Now Denzel Just Had a Leonard Maltin Moment

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent On Thursday night, when Denzel Washington is finally presented with his Leonard Maltin Masters Award at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the award hand-off is done by a little girl from the cast of FENCES, in which he stars and directs. This is the movie that has him Oscar-nominated along with co-star Viola Davis, who gives what can only be called a go-to-God, heart-stopping performance. Saniyya Sidney, age 11, presents the honor with ...

The Dude, AKA Jeff Bridges Now in HIGHWATER, Wins American Riviera Award From Santa Barbara

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Sometimes a press release is so good it’s just fine art, or more specifically it’s the holidays and we’re lazy, plus this is great writing from our friends in show business. That said, we’d only put a slightly different headline on it, for the diehard hipsters. Which is “The Dude, AKA Jeff Bridges Now in HIGHWATER, Wins American Riviera Award From Santa Barbara,” whereas our more respectable writing colleagues b...


  Adrian and Danielle Rubi-Dentzel are living a life I admire. The pair moved to Paris, started a food blog (, which got them noticed by illustrious Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" team, who they worked with and hit it off, then were inspired to make their own movie and poached Bourdain's DP Ethan Mills, raised money on kickstarter, and made it happen. I caught the friendly couple at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in January where the...

LES MAUVAISES HERBES (Bad Seeds) My New Favorite Movie!

LES MAUVAISES HERBES, directed by Louis Bélanger and written by Louis Bélanger, Alexis Martin, and starring Alexis Martin, Gilles Renaud, Emmanuelle Lussier-Martinez, Luc Picard... is my new favorite movie!! And as of the time of the Santa Barbara Film Festival, it has no U.S. distribution yet. WTF?! I got up at 7:45 am for the 8:30 screening. It was a full house - the movie had its world premiere in Santa Barbara that weekend. I want everyone to see this movie! I laughed ha...

THE CHALLENGE documentary - Father of the Year Brings Light to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Surely all parents have a deep love for their children. Alex Smith has something even more, or perhaps he is just more capable of showing that love. On Friday at the Santa Barbara Film Fest I went to see THE CHALLENGE, a documentary directed by Peter Williams out of the UK. In the story, Alex Smith trains for and competes in an Ironman, an incredible feat. As if that's not enough for a story on its own, Smith is doing it with his son Harrison in tow, all to raise awareness for a fatal ver...

“The Great Dames,” Elizabeth Banks & Diane Lane Fete Jane Fonda Big Time

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent What a gift when three of your favorite on-screen presences turn out to be three of your favorite off-screen presences; that’s what happened last night in Santa Barbara as the stunning Jane Fonda received the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film from The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). To set the scene, and this rarely happens, Jane Fonda and one of her star presenters Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2,”...

Foxcatcher Magic of Steve Carell Is No Trick & Performer of the Year Award for 2015

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Steve Carell tells a story about working with Vanessa Redgrave in Foxcatcher, the movie for which he is Oscar nominated, and in this one scene he reveals a lot about actors. It also reveals why the Academy tapped Carell, and he has been named Performer of the Year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. To set the mood, Steve Carell’s bad son, heir John E. Du Pont, tries to hand his matriarch, Mrs. Du Pont (Redgrave) a wrestling...

SBIFF’s Vanguard Award & How the Academy’s Math Is Right on Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It’s fitting that Eddie Redmayne’s father is a numbers guy in Finance, who not only explained the statistical odds of making a living as an actor, but added that a mere finger-count of those who make a living, actually make a mark. Fitting because the mark his son has made is based on his portrayal of Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, a man who made his mark by numbers - the higher math of space-time...

MENTHOL: Mumblecore at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Director Micah Van Hove and cast of "Menthol." If you ever wondered if it would be interesting if you recorded your friends partying the answer is… kind of. Mumblecore is defined by Urban Dictionary as “A genre of independent films in which the characters are involved in a personal crisis. Known for their realistic point of view, these movies are the eyes of the just-out-of-college generation.” As we sat down for the full-house world premiere of MENTHOL ...

VIP Concierge Job Opening at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

SBIFF VIP Concierge (Santa Barbara) The SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (SBIFF) is looking to hire a professional and customer service oriented VIP Concierge to assist in moving the organization to the next level. SBIFF is a dynamic, rapidly growing, non-profit organization dedicated to enriching local culture and raising the consciousness of film as an art form by presenting an 11-day Festival, Cinema Society and other year round programs. Please refer to the following job ...

The "Trouble" with Daniel Day-Lewis? It's the Socks, His Genius, That Hairdo

by Quendrith Johnson   Since Daniel Day-Lewis, of late portraying "Lincoln," declined to speak to reporters last week on the red carpet while he was in town to accept the Montecito Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, it seems only fair to give him a bit of the "treatment" as the Irish would say. The title card would have read: 'Tonight, Daniel Day-Lewis will be playing Himself: Socialist Shoemaker from Wicklow, Ireland, Province of Leinster.&#...

A Year in Burgundy World Premiere in Santa Barbara

Documentary filmmaker David Kennard first came to LA in the seventies, when he worked with Carl Sagan on Cosmos, the biggest documentary series that had ever been done any where in the world at that time (which I just found out from Wikipedia was as of 2009 the most widely watched PBS series in the world!) From stars to wine, Kennard's latest film, A Year in Burgundy, had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival last weekend. I had the chance to sit ...

Day-Lewis and Field at SBIFF

Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field share a moment after he is presented with the Montecito Award at SBIFF. Photo by Benjamin Schwartz

Daniel Day-Lewis arrives on the red carpet at SBIFF

Daniel Day-Lewis arrives at the red carpet before receiving the Montecito Award at SBIFF. Photo by Benjamin Schwartz

Ezra Miller interview

Ezra Miller of The Perks of Being a Wallflower before receiving his award at SBIFF. Photo by Benjamin Schwartz

Virtuoso Awards at SBIFF

The Virtuoso Award recipients together at SBIFF. Photo by Benjamin Schwartz

Quvenzhane Wallis interview

Quvenzhane Wallis of Beasts of the Southern Wild before receiving her award at SBIFF. Photo by Benjamin Schwartz


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