No doubt about it, “La La Land” is the sweetheart of this awards season. It has already garnered many awards, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival was thrilled to host nominated stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, as well as director/writer Damien Chazelle.
If you follow the top nominated films for this year’s Oscars (airing tomorrow night!), the stars and directors will certainly be at the SBIFF, in addition to an array of films from 50 countries.
Everyone was enthusiastic when “Manchester By the Sea” stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams received the Cinema Vanguard Award. The film has picked up Oscar buzz and nominations for both actors. Director/writer Kenneth Lonergan presented the tribute awards. The audience enjoyed this evening and learned that both actors not only started their careers from an early age, but both have an interest in independent films.
A little rain didn’t put a damper on packed screenings and tribute evenings hosted by sponsors UGG and Belvedere Vodka. Five of the year’s nominated best directors were named SBIFF Outstanding Director of the Year: Damien Chazelle (“LA LA Land”), Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), Ava Duvernay (“The 13th) and Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”). One on one interviews gave insight into each director.
French actress Isabelle Huppert, who starred in “Heaven’s Gate,” arrived from France to receive the Montecito Award. She has garnered numerous awards for her versatile and prolific career. Often depicted as the Meryl Streep of France, this year she received critical acclaim for her performance in “Elle,” directed by Paul Verhoven. The film chronicles a woman who is sexually assaulted and fights back. The annual Women’s Panel proudly presented some of the most powerful women in the film business.
Always an SBIFF favorite, Montecito resident and beloved actor Jeff Bridges was honored with the American Rivera Award for his film work and Oscar nomination for “Hell or High Water.” Several years ago, Mayor Helene Schneider proclaimed the day the actor received his first Oscar “Jeff Bridges Day.” Not only has Bridges been a major supporter of the SBIFF, he’s also spent many years in his efforts for Feeding the Hungry. Today he is also a successful musician and artist.
The 32nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival ended with the premiere of the English romantic comedy “Their Finest”; actors Bill Nighy and Sam Claflin were in attendance.
For more information about the SBIFF, visit sbiff.org.
32nd SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS:
ADL Stand Up Award: STRAWBERRY DAYS
Audience Choice Award: MY HERO BROTHER
Best Documentary Award: MY HERO BROTHER
Best Documentary Short Film Award: REFUGE
Best Documentary Short Film Award: REFUGEE
Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live Action Short Film: IT’S BEEN LIKE A YEAR
Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: CONFINO
Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film: THE CONSTITUTION
Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: THE GOOD CATHOLIC
Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: TAMARA
Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: ANGRY ANUK
Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film: SÁMI BLOOD