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Locally-Focused Movies Bookmark This Year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival Schedule

34th annual SBIFF program schedule showcases films from around the globe, and closer to home

Roger Durling and Barbara Boros unveil film festival poster Click to view larger
Roger Durling, executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and graphic designer Barbara Boros unveil the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 2019 poster Thursday.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Dozens of premieres and movies from around the globe will be screened during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at its 2019 program.

The 34th annual event — which runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 9 — will show films from more than 40 countries, including 63 world premieres and 59 U.S. premieres, along with panel discussions, tributes to the year’s talent, and free community education and outreach programs.

The films will be screened at four different theaters in Santa Barbara — the Metropolitan Fiesta 5 Theatre, Lobero Theatre, Metropolitan Metro 4 Theatre and Arlington Theatre — throughout the film festival, which is presented by UGG.

Two films chosen to be part of the festival’s opening and closing nights represent iconic places and people in Santa Barbara that highlight the resilience, vitality and community talent, SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling said.

“After the tragedy last year in Santa Barbara, we questioned whether to go ahead with last year’s festival, but we came to realize the importance of film as a way for people to gather in an equalitarian way to reflect, feel and simply experience art together,” Durling said during a press conference at the Hotel Santa Barbara on Thursday. “SBIFF is an event that brings together a plethora of visitors — international, national and local filmmakers, Oscar contenders, (and) vital educational programs.

“We have entered this year with a renewed sense of purpose and continuity with the festival and understand more than ever the important role we play in the community."

The festival opens with the world premiere of director Mimi deGruy’s Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara.

The feature film documentary spotlights the late Mike deGruy, a marine biologist and award-winning underwater filmmaker who dived and swam in oceans around the world and became one of the first people to film rare ocean creatures. 

He died in a helicopter  crash while filming for director James Cameron in Australia in 2012.

The film is told through the eyes of his wife, Mimi, and celebrates deGruy’s life, career and beliefs — that humans are destroying the ocean before people know what’s there.

The film festival will close with director Wyatt Daily’s Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, a documentary exploring the history of surfing in California, at the Arlington Theatre.

Winchester Mystery House is sponsoring the closing night.

Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan, Viggo Mortensen and Glenn Close are among those being recognized for awards at the festival.

Yalitza Aparicio, Sam Elliott, Elsie Fisher, Claire Foy, Richard E. Grant, Thomasin McKenzie, John David Washington and Steven Yeun also are being celebrated this year. 

SBIFF has a complete list of special events and information about purchasing festival passes, films, galas, free screenings, panel series featuring notable filmmakers and educational programs.

All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara.

Barbara Boros has designed the SBIFF poster for more than 15 years, and this year it highlights Butterfly Beach in Montecito.

The 11-day film festival attracts an estimated 95,000 attendees, according to SBIFF organizers.

SBIFF is a nonprofit arts and educational organization dedicated to showcasing and discovering the best in international, as well as independent cinema.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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