39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival Announces 2024 Program

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), celebrating its 39th year, has announced its lineup set to take place in February. This year, the festival will debut 45 world premieres and 77 U.S. premieres from 48 countries. Expect plenty of tributes to incredible top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach programs.

Claudia Puig, Programming Director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, released this statement:

“We have a wonderfully eclectic program this year from 48 countries around the world. We are especially proud that half of our slate of films are directed by women, and a large percentage by under-represented filmmakers. We know there will be something for everyone at our festival– and likely quite a lot for most.  Nearly three-quarters of the films we’re showcasing have never been seen before in the US. We’re excited to introduce these films to audiences and thrilled that filmmakers from nearly every continent will be on hand to meet those attending SBIFF, and share in the communal love of film.”

Here is what we can expect during the course of this year’s festival:


SBIFF 2024 will kick off  on Opening Night Wednesday, February 7 with the World Premiere of the documentary MADU directed by Matt Ogens and Joel ‘Kachi Benson. Both directors will be joining us in-person.

From practicing barefoot on the streets of Lagos to performing on stage in England, twelve-year-old Anthony Madu leaves his home in Nigeria to study at one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world. Anthony, who had barely left his neighborhood in Lagos, finds himself thrust into a new world where his wildest dream is suddenly within reach. His journey is a story of extraordinary obstacles, courage, growth, and ultimately, his search for belonging.


SBIFF 2024 will close on Saturday, February 17 with the World Premiere of CHOSEN FAMILY directed by Heather Graham and starring Heather Graham, Julia Stiles, Thomas Lennon, and Michael Gross. Director and cast will be joining us in-person.

Yoga teacher Ann is trying to find inner peace despite having a manic family, a miserable dating life, and an inability to say no that keeps her busy trying to fix everyone else’s problems.


SBIFF is an important showcase for Academy Award frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 39th SBIFF proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film. All tributes will be in person at the historic Arlington Theatre.

  • Outstanding Performer of the Year Award sponsored by Deadline honoring Bradley Cooper – Thursday, February 8 at 8:00pm. Moderated by Pete Hammond.
  • Maltin Modern Master Award Presented by Manitou Fund honoring Robert Downey Jr. – Friday, February 9 at 8:00pm. Moderated by Leonard Maltin.
  • Virtuosos Award honoring Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Colman Domingo (The Color Purple & Rustin), America Ferrera (Barbie), Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Greta Lee (Past Lives), Charles Melton (May December), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers), and Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers) – Saturday, February 10 at 8:00pm. Moderated by Dave Karger.
  • Variety Artisans Award sponsored by Variety – Sunday, February 11 at 11:00am. Honorees to be announced. Moderated by Jazz Tangcay.
  • American Riviera Award honoring Mark Ruffalo – Sunday, February 11 at 8:00pm. Moderated by Anne Thompson.
  • Outstanding Directors of the Year Award sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter – Monday, February 12 at 8:00pm. Honorees to be announced. Moderated by Scott Feinberg.
  • Montecito Award honoring Jeffrey Wright – Thursday, February 15 at 8:00pm. Moderated by Roger Durling.
  • Cinema Vanguard Award honoree and date to be announced


SBIFF is renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders. Returning will be our annual Producers, Writers, Women’s and International Panels. All Panels will be in person at the historic Arlington Theatre. Panelists, dates and times to be announced.


SBIFF Poster Designed by Acclaimed Artist Angela Perko

The 2024 SBIFF poster was painted by acclaimed artist and Santa Barbara resident Angela Perko. Like many women artists, Angela started painting later in life, after her children were older and the family business was well established. Angela and her husband own a rare bookstore, and she credits exposure to art books for sparking her interest in painting. Although she studied plein-air painting with Santa Barbara artist Michael Drury, she is essentially a self taught artist. The Canadian Group of Seven greatly influenced her early work, as well as many of the Santa Fe artists. A trip to the Yucatán had profound impact and motifs of ancient art and popular Mexican art began to appear in her work. Currently her work explores where nature and culture intersect over time and place.

Mike’s FieldTrip to the Movies – Named for renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, Mike’s FieldTrip to the Movies uses filmmaking to nurture creative, confident, and culturally aware thinkers. This year’s program will be offered to 4,000+ 4th–6th grade students from Title I (low-income) schools throughout Santa Barbara County. This year will feature two in-person Q&As; Directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, and Kemp Powers following SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE and Director Peter Sohn following ELEMENTAL. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, US Bank, Yardi, Bentson Foundation, Volentine Family Foundation.

Film Studies Program – The Film Studies Program will invite 30 undergraduate film students from across the country to the Film Festival where they’ll take part in a packed curriculum that turns the festival into an interactive classroom. Participants receive priority access to the films, panels, filmmaker seminars, tributes, as well as intimate Q&As with filmmakers.

10–10–10 Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition – The 10-10-10 Program is made up of 20 area high school and college screenwriters and filmmakers. This year’s program includes filmmaking workshops, individual mentorship, and access to casting, visual effects, producing and sound mentors. The student screenwriters and directors are paired together and guided through the process of taking a film from script to screen. Sponsored by Kaleidoscope Productions.

Free Filmmaker Seminars – SBIFF will again present seminars with filmmakers premiering at this year’s festival. These seminars will be FREE to the public and will take place on each weekday during the Festival at Tamsen Gallery at 911 1/2 State Street.

The ADL Stand Up Award sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties – This award will be presented to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important message consistent with ADL’s efforts “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” The winner will be announced during the Festival.

The ASC Award for Cinematography sponsored by The American Society of Cinematographers has been added to the list of SBIFF’s 2024 awards and will recognize a film with exceptional visual composition that advances the art and science of cinematography and promotes the motion picture as an art form.

For a complete list of films and other special events, fans can visit http://sbiff.org or download the SBIFF app.

The 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place at and surrounding the Arlington Theatre from February 7 to 17, 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.