32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG®, announces 2017 program; the festival runs February 1 through February 11

by Oliver Carnay

The Santa Barbara International film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG® which will run from February 1 through February 11, 2017, had just announced its scheduled program, listing films from more than 50 countries, with 51 world premieres and 64 U.S. premieres. Previously announced, the festival will feature tributes to top celebrities, panel discussions, community education and outreach programs, and free screenings after the festival.

The Opening Night Film - docfilm "CHARGED" - Chef Eduardo's extraordinary recovery is not just about getting back what he lost, but about moving forward with more than he ever had.

Kicking off the festival, on Wednesday, February 1st to be held at the Arlington Theatre is the World Premiere of the docfilm "CHARGED," which will serve the Opening Night Film. Directed by Phillip Baribeau, CHARGED chronicles the journey of chef and outdoorsman, Eduardo Garcia and his recovery after being electrocuted by 2400 volts of electricity miles from help in the Montana backcountry. Garcia had his hand amputated, lost ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. CHARGED tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.

Closing Night Film - "THEIR FINEST" directed by Lone Scherfig, starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy

Sponsored by the Winchester Mystery House, the Lone Scherfig’s period comedy–drama THEIR FINEST will serve as the Closing Night Film, to be held at the Arlington Theatre on Saturday, February 11 in advance of the film’s March 24 stateside release.

The year is 1940, Britain. With the nation devastated by the war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home. Realizing their films could use “a woman’s touch,” the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue. Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin’s natural flair quickly gets her noticed by charming lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin). Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Battle of Dunkirk starring pretentious fading movie star Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation.

International Gala - "Heal The Living"
Ivory Coast-born filmmaker Katell Quillévére adapts Maylis de Kerangal’s Booker Prize–longlisted novel for this elegant and affecting film which draws three seemingly unrelated stories together into a tale about the moment when tragedy meets hope.

For the International Gala, the festival will feature the US Premiere of HEAL THE LIVING (Réparer les vivants) a French–Belgian drama directed by Katell Quillévéré and written by Quillévéré and Gilles Taurand. HEAL THE LIVING stars Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past, Grand Central, The Informant), Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus in Fur, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Anne Dorval (Mommy, Heartbeats). Three seemingly unrelated stories are masterfully woven together in this family medical drama. A French teenager takes a road trip to the sea with friends to go surfing; a woman learns her heart is failing; and the staff at a regional hospital struggles through another day of saving lives. Cohen Media Group plans for a Spring 2017 release.

Previously announced are TRIBUTES to some of the Academy–Award® frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival will proudly celebrates and showcase some of the year’s finest work in film. The complete list of 2017 Honorees (in date order) is as follows:

Viola Davis will present DENZEL WASHINGTON with the esteemed Maltin Modern Master Award, moderated by longtime friend and film historian Leonard Maltin on Thursday, February 2nd.
The Outstanding Performers of the Year Award sponsored by Belvedere Vodka will be awarded to RYAN GOSLING and EMMA STONE. The tribute will be moderated by Roger Durling on Friday, February 3rd.
The Virtuosos Award presented by UGG® will be awarded to AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON (Nocturnal Animals), DEV PATEL (Lion), JANELLE MONAE (Hidden Figures, Moonlight), MAHERSHALA ALI (Moonlight), NAOMIE HARRIS (Moonlight), RUTH NEGGA (Loving), SIMON HELBERG (Florence Foster Jenkins), and STEPHEN MCKINLEY HENDERSON (Fences) in recognition of the year’s emerging film artists. The evening will be moderated by Dave Karger on Saturday, February 4th.
CASEY AFFLECK and MICHELLE WILLIAMS will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award, moderated by Scott Feinberg, on Sunday, February 5th.
The Variety Artisans Awards will take place on Monday, February 6th and will be moderated by Variety’s Sr. VP Awards Editor, Tim Gray. Honorees to be announced.
The Outstanding Director of the Year Award sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter will be Tuesday, February 7th and will be moderated by Pete Hammond. Honorees to be announced.
ISABELLE HUPPERT will be presented with the Montecito Award on Wednesday, February 8th, moderated by Anne Thompson.
JEFF BRIDGES will receive the American Riviera Award sponsored by Bella Vista Designs on Thursday, February 9th, moderated by Scott Feinberg.

The 2017 Film Program addresses timely themes including a focus on environmental activism, feminism in the Middle East, efforts to thwart ISIS around the world including, Mali and Kurdistan, the fight for democracy in Ukraine and the global refugee crisis. In addition, some of the new highlights in the program include the following sections:

Nordic Cinema Competition: A diverse showcase of contemporary cinema From Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Crime Scenes: An international selection of crime thrillers and neo-noirs filled with gritty underworlds and moral nihilists.
Documentary Shorts: Refugees: A program of short documentaries featuring compelling stories from refugees living in Malawi, Syria, West Africa, Greece, Sweden and the United States.

The Jury – Films in several of the Festival’s film categories are in competition. These categories are viewed by a hand selected group of industry professionals including: Richard Raymond, Joanna Kerns, Jesus Lloveras, Tamara Asseyev, Martin Gooch, Anthony & Arnette Zerbe, Alan Marshall, Artie Schmidt, Janet Walker, Phyllis de Picciotto, Perry Lang and Mimi deGruy. On the last day of the Festival, the award winning films will be announced at the annual SBIFF awards breakfast.

For more detailed information, Program Schedule, and how to get tickets and passes, please log on to www.SBIFF.org


The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non–profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 30 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.

Sponsors of the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival include: UGG®, Belvedere Vodka, Dom Pérignon, Anti–Defamation League, Montecito Bank & Trust, Visit The Santa Ynez Valley, IMDB, Santa Barbara Foundation, Union Bank, Winchester Mystery House, Wells Fargo, Westerly Wines, The Bentson Foundation and many more supporting through trade.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10–10–10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. This past June, 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 program expansion and marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center to expand their mission of educational outreach.