Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) Announces 2021 Lineup & Drive-In Screenings

Santa Barbara international film festival, sbiff, invisible valley

Opening Night Film: Invisible Valley

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, announced today the highly anticipated lineup for the 36th edition, which will run March 31 to April 10, 2021.

The festival will feature 47 world premieres and 37 U.S. premieres from 45 countries, along with tributes featuring the year's top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach programs.

The festival will take on an entirely new look this year, as well, with the build-out of two state-of-the-art, beachside drive-in theaters sponsored by Toyota Mirai, where every film screening will be offered to the community for free, alongside a ticketed online component that will feature the entire film program in addition to SBIFF's notable celebrity tributes, industry panels, and filmmaker Q&As. 

SBIFF's Executive Director Roger Durling stated this morning, "This year's Festival will look different on many fronts, but we are unchanged when it comes to what's most important: our love of film, and our dedication to bringing forward a program of unmatched quality and sharing it with our community. We are so excited to have the opportunity to be a source of joy and optimism."

OPENING NIGHT

SBIFF 2021 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG®, on Wednesday, March 31, online and at both Drive-in theatres with the WORLD Premiere of INVISIBLE VALLEY directed by Aaron Maurer.

INVISIBLE VALLEY skillfully weaves together the seemingly disparate stories of undocumented farmworkers, wealthy snowbirds, and music festival-goers over the course of a year in California's Coachella Valley. The intimate, on-the-ground profiles drive home the incongruity of the lifestyles that coexist in an affluent community. In exploring the history of the region as well as its future, the film uncovers an undercurrent of a looming ecological crisis threatening it all.

CLOSING NIGHT

For our Closing Night Film on Saturday, April 10, we put the spotlight on Santa Barbara to highlight a series of short documentaries by local filmmakers. This distinctive selection of films covers a range of iconic people and places in the Santa Barbara area including the Chumash people's annual trip to their historical village site, one woman's journey to restore ecosystems with her flock of sheep, a local musician who received care and support from Hospice of Santa Barbara, the story of a community surviving 2020 through outdoor dancing, an artist who specializes in miniature diorama art, and a celebrated local roller-skating icon who sparked a community group known as the SB Rollers.                                      

THE TRIBUTES

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 36th SBIFF proudly celebrates some of the year's finest work in film. All tributes will be online live-streamed.

  • Bill Murray will receive the Maltin Modern Master Award on Friday, April 2 at 6:00pm, moderated by Leonard Maltin.
  • The Virtuosos Award, presented by UGG®, will be awarded to Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami), Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Sidney Flanigan (Never Rarely Sometimes Always), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian), and Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie) on Saturday, April 3 at 6:00pm, moderated by Dave Karger.
  • Carey Mulligan will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award on Monday, April 5 at 2:00pm.
  • The Variety Artisans Awards, sponsored by Variety, will take place on Monday, April 5 at 6:00pm. Honorees to be announced.
  • The Outstanding Directors of the Year Award, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter, will be Tuesday, April 6 at 6:00pm. Honorees to be announced.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Wednesday, April 7 at 6:00pm.
  • Delroy Lindo will receive the American Riviera Award on Thursday, April 8 at 6:00pm.
  • Amanda Seyfried will receive the Montecito Award on Friday, April 8 at 6:00pm.

THE PANEL

SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who's who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders. Returning will be our annual Producers Panel, Writers Panel, and Women's Panel. All panels will be online live-streamed. Date/Time/Panelists to be announced.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, FREE PROGRAMS, AND OTHER MENTIONS

Mike's FieldTrip to the Movies – Named for renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, Mike's FieldTrip to the Movies uses filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident, and culturally aware thinkers. This year's Mike's FieldTrip to the Movies Program will be offered to 5,000-6,000 underserved and low-income 4th--6th grade students from Title I schools throughout Santa Barbara County. This year's program will include to-be-announced critically acclaimed films. SBIFF will provide classrooms with a virtual introduction to the art of filmmaking and storytelling through recorded discussions with the filmmakers and artisans from three of this year's top animated films, along with film education study guides and activities. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, Patagonia, Union Bank, and Volentine Family Foundation.

Film Studies Program – Returning for its seventh year, the national student Film Studies Program will virtually host 30 undergraduate film students from across the country to attend the Film Festival and take part in a packed curriculum that turns the festival into an interactive classroom. Participants receive priority access to the films, SBIFF's acclaimed Panel Series, filmmaker seminars, Tributes, as well as intimate Q&As with filmmakers, talent, and other professionals. SBIFF also invites an additional thirty college students in Santa Barbara to take an 11-Day Film Festival course through Santa Barbara City College. Sponsored by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin.

10–10–10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition – The 10-10-10 Program is made up of 20 high school and college screenwriters and filmmakers from Santa Barbara. This year's program includes virtual workshops and mentorship, with each participant being paired with an industry mentor specifically assigned to them in addition to a Casting, Visual Effects, Producing and Sound Mentor who are there to mentor the students throughout their production process. The screenwriters and directors are paired together and guided through the process of taking a film from script to screen. Other program highlights include pitching sessions, table reads, guest speaker Q&A's and film talks. Sponsored by Final Draft Inc.

Free Filmmaker Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars with filmmakers premiering at this year's festival. These seminars will be FREE to the public and will take place online daily during the Festival. 

The ADL Stand Up Award sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties – This award will be presented to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important message consistent with ADL's efforts "to secure justice and fair treatment for all."

2021 FILMS

Below is the list of feature and short films at the 2021 SBIFF. For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events please visit www.sbiff.org or the SBIFF app.

22 WORLD PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS (listed alphabetically)

 

Addict Named Hal

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Lane Michael Stanley

 

Alaskan Nets

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Jeff Harasimowicz

 

Broken Diamonds

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Peter Sattler

 

The Cinderella Addiction

Japan - World Premiere

Directed by Ryohei Watanabe

 

Cinema of Sleep

Canada - World Premiere

Directed by Jeffrey St. Jules

 

Climb

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Neil Myers

 

The Conservation Game

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Michael Webber

 

Coast

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Jessica Hester, Derek Schweickart

 

Daughters of the Waves

France - World Premiere

Directed by Lisa Monin, Sébastien Daguerressar

 

Evan Wood

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Niki Byrne

 

Highway One

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Jaclyn Bethany

 

The Hosts (Os donos da casa)

Brazil - World Premiere

Directed by Carla Dauden

 

Invisible Valley

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Aaron Maurer

 

The Knot (Uljhan)

India - World Premiere

Directed by Ashish Pant

 

La Recua - The Mule Pack Train

USA, Mexico - World Premiere

Directed by Darío Higuera Meza, Trudi Angell

 

Last Call

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Johnny Sweet

 

Reclaim Idaho

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Laura Wing-Kamoosi, Jim Kamoosi

 

The Revolution Generation

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell

 

$avvy

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Robin Hauser

 

Snakehead

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Evan Jackson Leong

 

Trees of Peace

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Alanna Brown

 

We Burn Like This

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Alana Waksman

 

29 U.S. PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS (listed alphabetically)

 

Akilla's Escape

Canada - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Charles Officer

 

Baby

Spain - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Juanma Bajo Ulloa

 

Backyard Village

Iceland - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Marteinn Thórsson

 

A Bruddah's Mind (Cabeça de nêgo)

Brazil - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Déo Cardoso

 

By Your Side (À la folie)

France - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Audrey Estrougo

 

Erna at War (Erna i krig)

Denmark, Estonia, Belgium - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz

 

Fear (Strah)

Bulgaria - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ivaylo Hristov

 

Fellinopolis

Italy - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Silvia Giulietti

 

The Flood Won't Come (Tvano nebus)

Lithuania - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Marat Sargsyan

 

The Forbidden Strings

Iran, Afghanistan, Qatar - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Hasan Noori

 

Fortitude (La fortaleza)

Venezuela, Colombia, France, Netherlands - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Jorge Thielen Armand

 

Four Mothers

Israel - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Dana Keidar Levin, Rephael Levin

 

The Ghosts (Los fantasmas)

Guatemala, Argentina - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Sebastián Lojo

 

Karnawal

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Juan Pablo Félix

 

Ladies Of Steel

Finland - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Pamela Tola

 

The Last Ones (Viimeiset)

Finland, Estonia, Netherlands - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Veiko Õunpuu

 

Listen, Portugal

UK - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Ana Rocha de Sousa

 

The Man with the Answers

Cyprus, Greece, Italy - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Stelios Kammitsis

 

Mirage (Miraggio)

Switzerland - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Nina Stefanka

 

My First Summer

Australia - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Katie Found

 

One-Way to Moscow

Switzerland - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Micha Lewinsky

 

The Pit (Bedre)

Latvia, Finland - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Dace Pūce

 

Poppie Nongena

South Africa - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Christiaan Olwagen

 

Run Woman Run

Canada - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Zoe Hopkins

 

Six Angry Women

New Zealand - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Megan Jones

 

Teach Me if You Can

France - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Émilie Thérond

 

Under My Skin

Australia - U.S. Premiere

Directed by David O'Donnell

 

We Will Never Die

Argentina - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Eduardo Crespo

 

When I'm Done Dying

Turkey, USA, Germany - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Nisan Dağ

 

2021 SBIFF FEATURE FILMS  (non-premieres listed alphabetically)

 

American Skin

USA 

Directed by Nate Parker

 

Giants Being Lonely

USA 

Directed by Grear Patterson

 

Hope

Norway

Directed by Maria Sødahl

 

2021 SBIFF SHORTS - (listed alphabetically) 

25 WORLD PREMIERES AND 8 U.S. PREMIERES 

 

Anxious

USA

Directed by Anthony Gilbert

 

Anything for You

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Matt Ferrucci

 

The Beast of Our Time

USA - World Premiere

 

The Beauty President

USA

Directed by Whitney Skauge

 

Becoming Eddie

USA

Directed by Lilan Bowden

 

Black Boys Can't Cry

USA

Directed by Victor Gabriel

 

Bobby

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Henry Burge 

 

Can't Have It Both Ways

USA

Directed by Morningstar Angeline

 

The Carousel

Italy

Directed by Valerio Berruti

 

Clara With a Mustache

Kosovo - World Premiere

Directed by Ilir Blakcori

 

A Critter Fable

USA

Directed by Grace Fisher

 

Cycles

USA

Directed by Jonathan Barenboim

 

Dia De Los Muertos

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by George Ortega, Ricardo Ortega

 

Dis-Dance!

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Michael Love

 

East-West

Poland - World Premiere

Directed by Natalia Koniarz

 

Electric Lady

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Casey McGarry

 

Eyes

USA

Directed by Zachary Goodwin, Flynn Harris, Alex Flanagan, Alex Kumph

 

First Light

USA

Directed by Amy Lee Ketchum

 

Gratified

USA

Directed by Leslie Hope

 

The Great Malaise

Canada

Directed by Amy Catherine Lepage

 

Heartland

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Jahmil Eady

 

Homecoming: Journey to Limuw

USA

Directed by Nick Zachar

 

Hospice of Santa Barbara Presents: Manuel's Story

USA

Directed by Greg Kroes

 

I, Barnabé

Canada

Directed by Jean-François Lévesque

 

Identibye

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Sajjad Shahhatami

 

In White Places

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Brian Keith Powell

 

Kaizo

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Jeremy Lethco

 

Kapaemahu

USA

Directed by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe WIlson

 

Keeping the Sport Alive

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Will Hahn

 

Keiara

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Floyd Russ

 

The Kicksled Choir

Norway

Directed by Torfinn Iversen

 

Language of Dreams

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Peter Sasowsky

 

The Last Ferry from Grass Island

Hong Kong

Directed by Linhan Zhang

           

Lion on the Mat

USA

Directed by Asali Echols

 

Lucky

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Phinehas L Hodges

 

Malakout

Iran

Directed by Farnoosh Abedi 

 

Man with a Broom

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Joel Rader, Lydia Leiber, Caroline Nouhan

 

A Man with Emotions

USA

Directed by Miki Inoguchi

 

Mariah: A Boxer's Dream

USA

Directed by Nina Meredith

 

The Mechanical Dancer

USA

Directed by Jenna Jaillet

 

Mrs. Taylor's Show & Tell - A Prince Story

USA

Directed by Victor Dean

 

My Father The Mover

South Africa 

Directed by Julia Jansch

 

Nickel in the Sand

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Mike Winger

 

Nine

USA

Directed by Jane Musky

 

Not One More

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Cameron Leingang

 

Ocean Stories: Michele's Magic Carpet Ride

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Patrick Creadon, Greg Goggin

 

Pant Hoot

USA

Directed by Richard Reens

 

Project H

France

Directed by Maharaki

 

Remisivir

Romania - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Bobby Barbacioru

 

River Tigers: Giant Taimen of the Russian Far East

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Andy Maser, Adam Bagger

 

Roy

UK - World Premiere

Directed by Tom Berkeley, Ross White

 

Safe

US - World Premiere

Directed by Josema Roig

 

Savior

USA

Directed by Christopher Oroza-Nostas

 

Shadow Of The Fox

US - World Premiere

Directed by Nooshin Meraji

 

Shepherd's Song

USA 

Directed by Abby Fuller

 

Sperm

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Kirsten Kearse 

 

Stoke Chasers

USA 

Directed by Jo Anna Edmison

 

Stormy and the Admirals

USA 

Directed by Dan Rybicky

 

Subtle Body

USA - U.S. Premiere

Directed by Robin Bisio

 

Sunshine In The Rain

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Benny Chen

 

Sweet Dreams

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Navid Saedi

 

Tristo

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Ryan Oligmueller 

 

Underdogs

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Alex Astrella 

 

The Unknown

UK 

Directed by Stephanie Marshall

 

Vial

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Sonja O'Hara, Micah Stuart

 

Vuja De

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Casey McGarry

 

Waking Up

USA - World Premiere

Directed by James Patrick Nelson

 

Wally Wenda

USA 

Directed by Diane Russo

 

When It's Late

USA - World Premiere

Directed by Mitch Hadley

 

The Winter

Australia

Directed by Xin Li

Share this article:

More From LATF USA