The Arlington Theatre marquee lights up for opening night of the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. This year's festival starts with an opening night film screening on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
The Arlington Theatre marquee lights up for opening night of the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. This year's festival starts with an opening night film screening on Feb. 8. Credit: Fritz Olenberger photo

The 38th Santa Barbara International Film Festival — which will feature 53 world premiere films and 78 U.S. premieres, as well as several celebrity tributes and industry panels — is nearly here.

The film festival starts with the world premiere of its opening night film Miranda’s Victim at 8 p.m. Wednesday and closes with the U.S. premiere of I Like Movies at 8 p.m. Feb. 18, both taking place at The Arlington Theatre.

Angela Bassett.

“At a time where there’s a dwindling of movie theater attendance, the role of film festivals has never been more important,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said when announcing the festival’s lineup.

“At SBIFF, with the 38th edition, our marching orders are clear, to celebrate movies and to nurture and exalt the film community, the artists as well as the cinephiles. It’s a great slate with 43 countries represented.”

Between the world and U.S. premiere feature films, the 70 short films — which include 22 world premieres and 25 U.S. premieres — and the nonpremiere films, 193 films will be featured in this year’s festival.

In addition to the daily film screenings, more than a dozen actors, directors and other industry professionals will be honored with SBIFF’s awards and tributes taking place at the historic theater at 1317 State St.

Cate Blanchett.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, Angela Bassett will be honored with the Montecito Award.

Cate Blanchett will be recognized with this year’s Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at 8 p.m. Friday.

Jamie Lee Curtis is being awarded the Maltin Modern Master Award during a tribute for her at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Jamie Lee Curtis.

At 8 p.m. Feb. 13, the Variety Artisans Award, honoring “those who have exhibited the most exciting and innovative work of the year in their respective fields,” will take place. This year’s award recognizes songwriter M.M. Keeravaani, sound designer Frank Kruse, composer Son Lux, costume designer Catherine Martin, production designer Florencia Martin, cinematographer Claudio Miranda, Adrien Morot for hairstyling and makeup, Paul Rogers for editing, and Eric Saindon for VFX.

Brendan Fraser is set to be honored with the American Riviera Award at 8 p.m. Feb. 14, and the Virtuosos Award tribute will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 15.

Brendan Fraser.

This year’s Virtuosos Award honorees include Austin Butler, Kerry Condon, Danielle Deadwyler, Nina Hoss, Stephanie Hsu, Jeremy Pope, Ke Huy Quan and Jeremy Strong.

Cinema Vanguard Award recipients are Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, both of whom will be honored at 8 p.m. Feb. 16, and the Outstanding Directors of the Year Award — with honorees still to be announced — will take place at 8 p.m. Feb. 17.

Industry panels are also scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday, with this year’s panels including the writers panel, women’s panel, producers panel and the free international directors panel.

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Those looking to attend some free events during the film festival can view the schedule of free daily film screenings and the free filmmakers seminars, open to the public every weekday during the festival. 

Click here for tickets, the full lineup of films, and the schedule and program guide for every event and film screening at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at