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Santa Barbara Film Festival: Oscar Contenders Pack Writer and Producer Panels

Every year at this time the SBIFF lavishes attention and awards on various high-profile Oscar contenders.

Given their place on the awards calendar right before the final Oscar voting, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival always packs the lineups for their annual Writers and Producers panel series with Oscar contenders. This year both panels will take place on Saturday, February 4th at the Lobero Theatre.

Among the Best Picture contenders are producers Todd Black (“Fences”), Angie Fielder (“Lion”), Jordan Horowitz (“La La Land”), Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”), David Permut (“Hacksaw Ridge”), Adele Romanski (“Moonlight”), Kimberly Steward (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Julie Yorn (“Hell or High Water”), as well as Arianne Sutner, the producer of the Best Animated Feature nominee “Kobu and the Two Strings.” They will discuss their craft on the “Movers and Shakers” Producers Panel, moderated by the Los Angeles Times’ Glenn Whipp.

I always look forward to moderating the “It Starts With the Script” writers panel, which this year includes Oscar-nominated writers Luke Davies (“Lion”), Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”), Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”), Mike Mills (“20th Century Women”) and Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”) as well as Phil Johnston, co-writer of Best Animated Feature frontrunner “Zootopia” and Rhett Reese, co-writer of Golden Globe, PGA and WGA nominee “Deadpool.”

“These artists are true masters of their craft,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.  “The Santa Barbara stage will serve as a platform for them to share their experiences, lessons, and advice with the filmmaking world.”

Taylor Sheridan and Jeff Bridges on set of “Hell or High Water”

CBS Films

Santa Barbara is packed with Academy members, so the SBIFF always puts prominent awards contenders front and center.  This year the festival will honor Denzel Washington (“Fences”) with its Maltin Modern Master Award; Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (“La La Land”) with its Outstanding Performers of the Year Award; Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams (“Manchester by the Sea”) with the Cinema Vanguard Award; Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) with its Montecito Award; and Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”) with the American Riviera Award.

Among the group accepting their annual Virtuoso Awards are Golden-Globe-winner Aaron Taylor Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”), SAG Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor winners Janelle Monáe (“Hidden Figures”) and Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”), respectively, as well as Oscar nominees Dev Patel (“Lion”),  Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and Ruth Negga (“Loving”).

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