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. Each year, SBIFF proudly presents a diverse slate of more than 200 films to over 85,000 film enthusiasts – an audience that includes local and regional cinephiles, film students and independent as well as filmmakers industry professionals, leading reporters and critics from Variety, Hollywood Reporter and IndieWire. 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.

The organization is also quickly expanding its year round presence. With the long running film series Cinema Society, which was founded in 1998, SBIFF brings an expansive schedule of screenings *throughout the year with filmmakers and talent. SBIFF also co-presents The Showcase Film Series which highlights highly acclaimed films weekly. The films shown will not to have a theatrical release in the Santa Barbara Community so these screenings will be the audience’s only chance to see amazing films on the big screen. SBIFF also presents quarterly Wave Film Festivals which are 5 days of pure film. Each Wave focuses on a difference country or origin.

SBIFF has 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 Mission Blue, Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr. Pepper, Eastern Boys, Le Chef, God’s Slave, Omar, Bethlehem, Disconnect, More Than Honey, Blood Brother, Somm, Spinning Plates, Samsara, West of Memphis, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Pina, Starbuck, 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, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, The Gruffalo, The Lost Thing, and Mr. Hublot.

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 Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Jared Leto, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Dern, David O. Russell, Ben Affleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Amy Adams, Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Lawrence, Christopher Plummer, Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Viola Davis, Colin Firth, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Helen Mirren and many many more.

SBIFF has a dedicated commitment to its community and presents several free programs providing everyone in Santa Barbara the opportunity to appreciate the art of cinema. These free programs include AppleBox Family Films, Super Silent Sunday and 3rd Weekend. Between these programs attendees will be able to see current family friendly films, classic films, and Film Festival highlights.

SBIFF passes are offered which grant priority admission. Individual tickets are available for our tribute and panel events. 4 and 10 Film MiniPak punch cards are offered for film screenings. SBIFF also offers a series of free community screenings and events, including several highly acclaimed animated films for families at the historic Arlington Theatre.