SBIFF to Honor Damien Chazelle, Richard Linklater, Bennett Miller, Laura Poitras, and MortenTyldum with Outstanding Directors of the Year Award

Santa Barbara, CA – As part of the 30th Anniversary celebration, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will expand its ever popular director’s panel into the Outstanding Directors of the Year Award, presenting to some of the most talked about and innovative filmmakers from the past year. The tribute will begin at 8pm on Wednesday, February 4 at the Arlington Theatre and will be moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg.

Filmmaking is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by the director who guides the cast and crew in creating a cohesive visual narrative. Each of the talented individuals will be awarded for their exceptional vision in bringing together every element of filmmaking, from acting and story to camerawork and sound, creating an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Commented SBIFF Executive Director, Roger Durling, “This past year we have seen so many phenomenal achievements in directing. We’re honored to have not one, but five great directors at SBIFF to share their insights with us.”

The 2014 Outstanding Directors of the Year are:

DAMIEN CHAZELLE for WHIPLASH, the story of a young jazz drummer’s obsessive effort to achieve greatness and his maniacal band leader.

Chazelle wrote and directed his first feature Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, while an undergraduate at Harvard University. The film was Nominated at the 2009 Gotham Independent Film Awards and released theatrically in 2010. It was one of Metacritics 20 best reviewed films of 2010 and appeared on the best of lists of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, and The Chicago Tribune among others. In 2012 he directed a short film based on part of his feature length screenplay for Whiplash, winning the short film jury award for U.S. fiction at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

RICHARD LINKLATER for BOYHOOD, the groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named mason, filmed over twelve years with the same cast.

A Self-taught writer-director Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Typically setting each of his movies during one 24-hour period, Linklater's work explored what he dubbed "the youth rebellion continuum," focusing in fine detail on generational rites and mores with rare compassion and understanding while definitively capturing the 20-something culture of his era through a series of nuanced, illuminating ensemble pieces which introduced any number of talented young actors into the Hollywood firmament.

BENNETT MILLER for FOXCATCHER, the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers.

Bennett Miller is a two time Academy Award® nominated film director best known for his two narrative features, MONEYBALL (2011) and CAPOTE (2005). Miller made his feature debut in 1998 with the documentary THE CRUISE, a portrait of New York City tour guide Timothy "Speed" Levitch. The film garnered considerable critical praise and notable awards, including the top prize of the International Forum at the Berlin Film Festival. Miller is also an acclaimed director of television commercials, music videos, and, most recently, he directed short films for The Academy Awards® and for the Democratic National Convention.

LAURA POITRAS for the acclaimed documentary CITIZENFOUR. In early 2013, Poitras started receiving anonymous encrypted emails from “Citizenfour,” who claimed to have evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide. Five months later, she and two other reporters flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. The resulting film is history unfolding before our eyes.
Laura Poitras is a documentary filmmaker, journalist and artist whose films have premiered at film festivals worldwide, receiving multiple honors, including a Peabody Award, as well as an Academy Award and Emmy nominations. Her first film, My Country, My Country, focused on the Iraq War and received Academy Award, Independent Spirit Award and Emmy Award nominations. Her next film, The Oath about Guantánamo, won the Sundance Cinematography Award, among others. These two films comprise the first two parts of her post-9/11 America trilogy, of which Citizenfour is the final part. Poitras has taught filmmaking at Duke and Yale Universities and her work was selected for the 2012 Whitney Biennial and she will have her first solo museum exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 2016.

MORTEN TYLDUM for THE IMITATION GAME, the true story of genius Alan Turing, who under nail biting pressure helped win World War II by cracking the German enigma code, inventing the computer in the process.

Morten Tyldum began his directing career with the comedy, "Buddy", which won the Audience Award at the Norwegian International Film Festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Warsaw International Film Festival, as well as an Amanda Award in 2003 for Best Film. He continued his success in 2008 when he was nominated for an Amanda Award for Best Direction with his second feature, "Fallen Angels". His thrilller, "Headhunters", became the most successful title in Norwegian history, as well as 2012's highest-grossing foreign language release in the UK. In addition to its box office success, it was nominated for Best International Film by BAFTA, and won the Empire Award for Best Thriller and the Saturn Award for Best International Film. He is currently in in development on "Ghostman" for Warner Brothers and "The Disciple Program" for Universal. Morten has also directed award-winning international commercials through his company, Einar Film.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs January 27 – February 7, 2015. The Outstanding Directors of the Year Award will be presented at the historic Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. Tickets, Passes and Packages are available through or by calling 805-963-0023.

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 brings to the forefront the importance and power of filmmaking and continues its commitment 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