The Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a cinephile’s paradise – an eleven day celebration of cinema at several historical theaters on the American Rivera in beautiful downtown Santa Barbara from January 30th – February 9th. Each year, SBIFF proudly presents a diverse slate of more than 200 films to over 75,000 film enthusiasts – an audience that includes industry professionals, leading reporters and critics from Variety, Hollywood Reporter and IndieWire as well as local and regional cinephiles, film students and independent filmmakers. Attendees, filmmakers and special guests converge in an intimate atmosphere with unprecedented opportunities to network, share advice and see new work from some of the world’s most cutting edge auteurs.

During the past three years SBIFF has gradually built a reputation for its growing Acquisitions program that features some of the industry’s top distributors in attendance. Some of the highlights of previous years have included Disconnect, Sound City, More Than Honey, No, Pieta, Blood Brother, Somm, Spinning Plates, Beyond The Hills, Hannah Arendt, Caesar Must Die, Storm Surfers 3D, Samsara, West of Memphis, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, The Island President, Pina, Starbuck, Free Men, Storm Surfers 3D, Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Cove, The Illusionist, 180 Degrees South, and Sarah’s Key, as well renowned shorts programs featuring films that would later become nominated or shortlisted for academy awards, including Tiger Boy, Jujitsuing Reality, Asad, La Luna, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, The Gruffalo, and The Lost Thing.

Just a few days after Sundance and well-timed a few weeks before the Academy Awards, SBIFF has become a must-stop for frontrunners on the awards season fast-track. Along with cutting-edge panels for some of the world’s most recognized directors, producers, screenwriters, and women, the festival has honored the artistic achievements of Ben Affleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Amy Adams, Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Lawrence, Christopher Plummer, Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Viola Davis, Martin Scorsese, Colin Firth, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Helen Mirren and many more. This year’s honorees included Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Emma Thompson with more to be announced soon.

Individual tickets are available for our tribute events and SBIFF passes range from priority access to all films, tributes, and parties as well as different levels of passes for film screening, which include transferable 4 and 10 film MiniPak punch cards. SBIFF also offers a series of free community screenings and events, including several academy award nominated animated films for families at the historic Arlington Theatre.