This year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) featured days of creative films and nights of remarkable tributes to Oscar nominees. The second week heated up with Sylvester Stallone, whose six movies about boxer Rocky Balboa have made him a legend.
In “Creed,” written by Ryan Cooglar and Aaron Covington, Sylvester Stallone returns as an older Rocky. He’s nominated for an Academy Award in this role.
The SBIFF presented Stallone with The Montecito Award for his many stand-out characters in “Rambo” and “The Expendables,” among others. The award is a credit to his legacy.
Sylvester Stallone Honored at Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Sylvester Stallone, who calls Rocky “his best friend,” received the award from Carl Weathers, who created the role of Apollo Creed. Deadline’s Pete Hammond moderated the event and presented a film retrospective of Stallone’s work.
Two talented young actresses received this year’s Outstanding Performer Award. Brie Larson (“Room”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) will be remembered for their defining roles. And both are nominated for Oscars.
Brie accepted her award via skype while enroute to Australia to complete filming on “King Kong.” She caught critic attention in “Room,” about a young woman and her son kept in a 10 X 10 room by a kidnapper.
Bronx-born Saoirse Ronan returned as a child to Ireland, where she grew up. In “Brooklyn,” she stars as a young Irish woman who arrives in New York to start a new life.
Several documentaries caught my attention. “A Classy Broad” chronicles the life of Texas born Marcia Nasatir, a trail blazer for women. She took the helm as vice-president of United Artists in the 1970s.
Nasatir went from homemaker to book publisher to no-nonsense film producer. An inspiration to women, today at 89 she’s still working. She and filmmaker Ann Goursaud were on hand for a Q&A.
“Being George Clooney” chronicles voiceover actors in various countries who’ve achieved fame for dubbing the voice of George Clooney in their native language.
The five Oscar-nominated outstanding directors were honored individually and as an ensemble on the stage at the Arlington Theatre. Honorees Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”), Alejandro G. Inarritu (“The Revenant”), Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”), Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) and George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg.
The SBIFF is an all-inclusive festival that includes free Applebox screenings for families and Super Silent Sunday, which featured the classic silent film “Robin Hood,” accompanied by a live pipe organ.
Students were also actively making their own films to compete during the SBIFF. The last weekend featured a women’s panel with the top women executives in the biz. Foodies loved the Screen Cuisine section of the festival, especially “The Pickle Recipe” film.
Rooney Mara’s moving and powerful performance in “Carol” earned her a Best Actress Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. She’s also nominated for an Oscar.
SBIFF Festival Director Roger Durling noted that “Rooney is one of the most gifted actors of her generation. She’s an adept, beguiling actor.”
Co-star Cate Blanchett praised Rooney via video from her home in Australia. Mara was honored with the Cinema Vanguard Award for her impressive body of work.
Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016 Winning Films:
Talion – Nueva Vision Award for Spanish/Latin American Cinema
Mammal – Panavision Independent Spirit Award
Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt – Best Documentary Award
Viva – ADL Stand-up Award
Ville-Marie – Best International Film Award
The Culpable – Audience Choice Award
10 Billion: What’s On Your Plate? – Social Justice Award for Documentary Film
Shorts Winners – Graffiti, The Orchestra, Lebanon Wins the World Cup