The 24th edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) has announced its film line-up for 2009, featuring over 200 films including 21 World Premieres, 29 U.S. Premieres and a rich selection of films representing 41 countries. The Festival takes place over 11 days beginning Thursday, January 22, through Sunday, February 1, 2009. “For the past 24 years the film festival’s goal has been to bring the best of world cinema to light in Santa Barbara,” commented SBIFF Director, Roger Durling in a statement, “and in these trying economic and political times – this role of being able to unite filmmakers’ visions from all over the world in one place is a prerogative and an immediate directive that we have proudly fulfilled.”
The festival will kick off at the historic Arlington Theatre with Rod Lurie’s “Nothing But The Truth” “‘Nothing But The Truth’ is one of the most powerful films we’ve ever had for Opening night, and we gave it that slot because it deserves to be seen,” commented Durling. Closing Night will feature the World Premiere of “Lightbulb,” directed by Jeff Balsmeyer. And continuing the annual tradition of highlighting a Guest Director by presenting a retrospective of their work, SBIFF has announced that David Fincher will be their 2009 Guest Director. On Friday, January 30, SBIFF will present “A Celebration of David Fincher,” where the festival will show a retrospective of Fincher’s films.
The festival’s panel series kicks off at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 24, with “Directors on Directing” moderated by Peter Bart. That afternoon at 2:00 p.m., also at the Lobero Theatre, is “It Starts With the Script,” a screenwriters panel moderated by Variety columnist Anne Thompson. They continue during the Fest’s second weekend starting off with the “Movers & Shakers” panel on Saturday, January 31 at 11 a.m., bringing together top producers to discuss their craft, moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein. And at 2:00 pm, the next panel is “Creative Forces: Women in the Biz,” moderated by Madelyn Hammond, Chief Marketing Officer, Variety. Panelists will be announced shortly.
The festival’s complete lineup of features (descriptions provided by the festival):
Independent Features Competition:
Apron Strings, New Zealand
Director: Sima Urale
Cast: Peter Elliott, Jennifer Ludlam, Laila Rouass
Food and love are intertwined in this tale of two mothers who must find the courage to confront the secrets and misunderstandings of the past, in order to set their sons free.
Dim Sum Funeral, Canada
Director: Anna Chi
Cast: Steph Song, Kelly Hu, Bai Ling, Talia Shire
The estranged siblings of a westernized Chinese-American family discover the challenges of trying to fulfill their mother’s last wish.
Follow The Prophet, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Drew Ann Rosenberg
Cast: Tom Noonan, Diane Venora, Robert Chimento, David Conrad, R.D Call, John Diehl, Annie Burgstede
A young girl escaping from a Polygamist cult is aided by an Army Colonel and a renegade female Sheriff who join forces to expose the truth that lies hidden in a town in Utah.
Ink, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Jamin Winans
Cast: Chris Kelly, Jessica Duffy
John and Emma, father and daughter, are thrust into a fantastical dream-world battle between forces of good and evil in this allegorical tale of love, loss and the search for redemption.
Poppy Shakespeare, UK – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Benjamin Ross
Cast: Naomie Harris, Anna Maxwell Martin
‘Catch 22’ meets ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ as two patients strike up an unlikely, moving, funny and tragic friendship in a psychiatric hospital
Skin, South Africa/UK
Director: Anthony Fabian
Cast: Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill, Alice Krige
Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era.
Sweet Thing, USA
Director: Joe Lia
Cast: Jennipher Foster, Beth Ison, Jacob Teixeira, Michael McFadden
Nineteen-year-old free spirit Liz is on a mission to find love in between her shifts at an espresso drive-thru. Across town, Jody seeks answers in drugs while shuffling papers at her father’s office. The two become friends and embark on a summer of avoiding responsibility. As they grow closer, their lives become more complicated as issues of love, sex, and meaning bubble to the surface.
International Features Competition
A Woman in Berlin, Germany/Poland – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Max Färberböck
Cast: Nina Hoss, Tevgeni Sidikhin
A woman tries to survive the invasion of Berlin by the Soviet troops during the last days of World War II.
Kabuli Kid, France/Afghanistan – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Barmak Akram
Cast: Hadji Gul, Valery Schatz
A taxi driver in Kabul finds a baby in the back seat of his taxi. The driver searches the city for the mother and reveals truths about their lives in the process.
Landscape No. 2, Slovenia – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Vinko Moderndorfer
Cast: Barbara Cerar, Slavko Cerjak
While stealing a priceless painting, common thief Sergej’s greed gets the best of him when he mistakenly takes a mysterious document that refers to some shady dealings near the end of World War II.
Lost Islands, Israel – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Reshef Levy
Cast: Oshri Cohen, Michael Moshonov, Shmil Ben Ari
A young boy’s value that loyalty to family comes first is challenged by his father’s extramarital affair in this drama from Israel.
Tandoori Love, Switzerland – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Oliver Paulus
Cast: Lavinia Wilson, Vijay Raaz
Members of an Indian film crew producing the latest Bollywood extravaganza experience a clash of cultures and culinary tastes when they encounter the unassuming and peculiar folks populating the surrounding mountainous region in the Swiss Alps.
Tears for Sale (Carlston za Ognjeka), Serbia – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Uros Stojanovic
Cast: Katarina Radivojevic, Sonja Kolacaric
Two Serbian girls living in a village with no men leave their town and go to the city to kidnap men and return life to their home town.
The Country Teacher (Venkovsk ucitel), Czech Republic
Director: Bohdan Slama
Cast: Pavel Liska, Zuzana Bydzovska
Bohdan Sláma’s exquisite film follows the tender ties that form between a young, gay teacher, a lonely widow and her teenaged son in a small Czech town riddled with homophobia.
The Ghost (Domovoy), Russia – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Karen Oganesyan
Cast: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Mashkov, Chulpan Khamatova
Pulp detective novel writer Anton Prachenko is suffering from writer’s block. He is helped overcome this in an extremely unusual manner by a hired assassin who goes by the nickname The Ghost.
The Man Who Loved Yngve (Mannen som elsket Yngve), Norway – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Stian Kristiansen
Cast: Ole Christoffer Ertvåg, Rolf Kristian Larsen
A teenage boy loses his footing when he finds himself drawn to the new boy in class.
The Racketeer, Kazakhstan – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Akhan Satayev
Cast: Sayat Isembayev
After knocking out his opponent with one swift blow at a boxing match in Almaty, 1993, Sayan attracts the attention of Ruslan, an up-and-coming racketeer. Faced with few alternatives in a bleak post-Soviet environment, Sayan drops out of the institute he worked so hard to gain entrance to, and joins Ruslan’s criminal entourage.
Tiramisu, Netherlands – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Paula Van Der Oest
Cast: Jacob Derwig
A straight-laced bookkeeper and a devil-may-care actress past her prime teach each other lessons about responsibility and life.
Treeless Mountain, USA/South Korea – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: So Yong Kim
Cast: Hee-yeon Kim, Mi-hyang Kim, Song-hee Kim
Set in South Korea, this uncommonly intimate film follows two sisters as they find themselves abandoned by their mother and placed in the care of their indifferent drunkard of an aunt.
Zift, Bulgaria – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Javor Gardev
Cast: Zahary Baharov, Tanya Ilieva, Vladamie Peney
Moth is freed on parole after spending time in prison on wrongful conviction of murder. Jailed shortly before the Bulgarian communist coup of 1944, he now finds himself in a new and alien world – the totalitarian Sofia of the 60s.
Latino CineMedia Competition
Amar a morir, Mexico/Colombia – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Fernando Lebrija
Cast: José María de Tavira, Martina García, Alberto Estrella, Raúl Méndez
The young heir to a vast Mexico City banking empire runs away from the cold, corrupt, racist, money-driven, super-elite, super-rich world into which he was born, takes a wrong turn down a wrong road, and finds himself stranded in a remote beach paradise where he experiences love at first sight with an exotic, darker-skinned local girl—one that will place him—and her—in grave danger at the hands of a ruthless drug lord.
Before Tomorrow (Le jour avant le lendemain), Canada
Directors: Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Ivalu
Cast: Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Madeline Ivalu
An Inuit woman and her grandson go to an island to dry their fish and return to their camp where they discover that their family has been wiped out by infection carried by white travellers. Returning to the island, they confront what it means to be the last human beings on earth.
Empty Nest (Nido vacío, El), Argentina/Spain/France/Italy
Director; Daniel Burman
Cast: Carlos Bermejo, Eugenia Capizzano, Inés Efron, Arturo Goetz, Cecilia Roth
Suddenly alone after raising their family, Leonardo and Martha are left to realize their unexplored desires.
Insignificant Things (Cosas Insignificantes), Mexico
Director: Andrea Martínez
Cast: Paulina Gaitan, Carmelo Gomez
Esmeralda works as a waitress in Mexico City and collects the little things people leave behind.
Mapuche Nation (Nación Mapuce, La), Argentina/Italy/Switzerland – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Fausta Quattrini
Displaced from their own land by landowners and exploiters of natural resources, the Mapuche folk of Patagonia fight to make the Argentinean State respect the rights of the indigenous peoples guaranteed, in principle, in its constitution since 1994.
Oso Blanco, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Christian Suau
A documentary highlighting the Oso Blanco prison.
Our Disappeared, USA
Director: Juan Mandelbaum
A personal journey of memory and careful exploration of Argentina’s generation of “disappeared.”
Director: Roberto Rochín
Cast: Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Fidel Cerda
A beautiful black and white tapestry of errant characters in 1940s Mexico.
Tear This Heart Out (Arrancame la vida), Mexico
Director: Roberto Sneider
Cast: Ana Claudia Talancon, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Jose Maria de Tavira
Andrés — a ruthlessly domineering general with designs on Mexico’s presidency — takes beautiful, naive 15-year-old Catalina, as his bride. This sweeping epic traces Catalina’s growth as a woman through 15 tumultuous years of passion, politics, power, corruption, infidelity and murder. Mexico’s Official Academy submission.
The Dead Girl’s Feast (A Festa da Menina Morta), Brazil
Director: Matheus Nachtergaele
Cast: Jackson Antunes, Juliano Cazarré,
The living saint of a small Brazilian town reveals the underlying pain of the people around him.
The Demons of Eden (Los Demonios del Eden), Mexico – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Alejandra Islas
A documentary about the persecution of Mexican journalist, Lydia Cacho, for her exposé of a child prostitution ring, linking politics and big business as partners in crime.
The Inheritors(Los Herederos), Mexico – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Eugenio Polgovsky
An unflinching look at the various forms of child labor in poverty stricken areas of Mexico.
The Land of the Devil (El pais del Diablo), Argentina – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Andrés Di Tella
El Pais del Diablo by Andrés di Tella examines an historical episode that happened in the decade of 1870 when Adolfo Ensina, the former Minister of Defense, proposed a megalomaniac project: to dig a gulf with a 600 kilometers extension between the Atlantic Ocean and the Andes in order to sustain the “indigenous threat.
The Path (El Camino), Costa Rica
Director: Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez
Cast: Sherlin Paola Velásquez , Juan Borda, Morena Guadalupe Espinoza
Saslaya and her mute brother, Dario, leave Nicaragua in search of their mother in Costa Rica.
The Sky, The Earth and the Rain (El cielo, la tierra, y la lluvia), Chile
Director: José Luis Torres Leiva
Cast: Ignacio Agüero, Maité Fernández, Julieta Figueroa
Ana is a young woman struggling with loneliness and family responsibilities on a small Chilean island.
The Watercolorist (El Acuarelista), Peru – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Daniel Rodríguez
Cast: Miguel Iza, Sol Alba
T, a clerk, wishes to fulfill his grand dream of painting a watercolor, but is thwarted by his neighbors, for whom T’s dream seems sublimely trifle, something impractical, even immoral, and who of course have a much better idea of how T must spend his time.
Titon, de la Habana a Guantanamera, Spain
Director: Mirta Ibarra
A look at the life and work of Cuban filmmaker Tomas Gutierrez Alea.
Documentary Features Competition:
Art & Copy, USA
Director: Doug Pray
Cast: George Lois, Mary Wells Lawrence, David Kennedy, Hal Riney, Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein, Jim Durfee, Phyllis K Robinson, Lee Clow, Dan Wieden, Cliff Freeman
ART & COPY is a film about advertising, creativity, and its profound effects on modern culture. It features rare interviews with the most influential advertising creatives of our age and tells the stories of their revolutionary campaigns.
Automorphosis¸USA/UK – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Harrod Blank
Automorphosis looks into the minds and hearts of a delightful collection of eccentrics, visionaries, and just plain folks who have transformed their autos into artworks.
Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Peter Jones
The epic tale of Los Angeles’ most powerful family and their newspaper.
Megamall, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Sarah Mondale, Vera Aronow, Roger Grange
A story of money, power and politics in the age of sprawl, MEGAMALL is a provocative new documentary that explores the controversy behind one of America’s biggest shopping malls, the Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York. In 1996, the developer broke ground on a toxic dump, one mile from the filmmakers’ homes, sparking a quest to uncover the forces buffeting a suburban community and reshaping the American landscape. MEGAMALL documents a local struggle of epic proportions.
Milking The Rhino, USA
Director: David E. Simpson
The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Namibia’s Himba – two of Earth’s oldest cattle cultures – are in the midst of upheaval. Emerging from a century of ‘white man conservation’ that turned their land into game reserves and fueled resentment towards wildlife, they are now vying for a piece of the wildlife-tourism pie. Charting the collision of ancient ways and Western expectations, MILKING THE RHINO tells intimate, hopeful and heartbreaking stories of people facing deep cultural change.
Pirate for the Sea, USA
Director: Ron Colby
Cast: Paul Watson, Farley Mowat, Robert Hunter, Martin Sheen
Filmed worldwide during many campaigns, “Pirate for the Sea” is the biography of Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the most influential ocean environmental activist, ever.
Rescuing Emmanuel, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Len Morris
Cast: Desmond Tutu, Wangari Maathai
Emmanuel is a stinking, belligerent street boy in Nairobi, Kenya. He grabs us, demands ‘I want to go to school right now!’ He is treated like vermin and yet his name means ‘God among us.’ Emmanuel is lost, found and rescued. But when he walks into his dream, that dream takes an unexpected turn.
The Music Lesson, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Virginia Galloway
A group of teenage musicians travel to Africa to learn musical traditions from a group of students in Laikipia, Kenya.
The Oasis, Australia – WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Ian Darling, Sascha Ettinger-Epstein
Cast: Paul Moulds
Documentary about a grimy inner-city youth refuge run by one tireless man, where tough kids from tough backgrounds find real love in a world of chaos.
War Against the Weak, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Justin Strawhand
Based on the book by New York Times best selling author and nine time Pulitzer Prize nominee, Edwin Black, War Against the Weak is the untold story of American Eugenics, a movement that attempted to breed a Nordic master race through the elimination of those deemed ‘unfit.’
Yes Madam, Sir, Australia – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Megan Doneman
Kiran Bedi is arguable India’s most controversial daughter, both revered by her supporters and reviled as a publicity seeker by her critics. But no matter what people may think of her, there is no disputing her professional achievements.
After The Last Round, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Ryan Pettey
Documentary takes you inside the sport of boxing, exposing its life changing-effects on the fighters and their families, both inspirational and tragic. The film weaves together the stories of fighters, active and retired, while revealing the controversy and social fascination surrounding the ‘sweet science’. ”After The Last Round” uncovers the personal triumphs and heartbreaking outcomes of those who have chosen a life between the ropes.
Blessed Is The Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Roberta Grossman
Cast: Meri Roth, Marcella Nohynkova
Hannah Senesh parachutes into Nazi-occupied Europe to help save Hungary’s Jews, only to be imprisoned alongside the person she most wants to save — her mother Catherine. A harrowing account of the only military rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust, BLESSED IS THE MATCH is also a moving mother-daughter tale. Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen.
Going Home, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: George Dougherty
Cast: Brian Wilson
A documentary following legendary musician Brian Wilson on the creation of his latest album.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell, USA
Director: Virginia Reticker
Cast: Janet Johnson Bryant, Etweda Cooper, Vaiba Flomo, Leymah Gbowee
A group of women rise up to peace to Liberia and help bring to power the country’s first female head of state.
Speed & Angels, USA
Director: Peyton Wilson
Young Navy Officers, Jay and Meagan, have dreamt of becoming naval aviators flying the F-14 Tomcat since their childhoods. The film follows their journey as it takes them through dogfights, night landings on aircraft carriers, and eventually to the biggest challenge young officers face: wartime deployments to Iraq.
The Brothers Warner, USA
Director: Cass Warner
Cast: Dennis Hopper, Debbie Reynolds, Haskell Wexler
An intimate portrait and saga of four film pioneers–Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack who rose from immigrant poverty through personal tragedies persevering to create a major studio with a social conscience.
The Invocation, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Emmanuel Itier
Cast: Desmond Tutu, Jim Carrey
An exploration of the notion of the Divine around the World and to get to a new found universal level of Peace.
They Killed Sister Dorothy, USA
Director: Daniel Junge
The story of Sister Dorothy Stang, a North American nun who was brutally murdered in the Brazilian Amazon rain forest by men who opposed her attempts at land reform; this film is at its core both a courtroom drama and the moving story of a woman who gave her life for the people and the land she loved.
TO THE MAXXX
Director: Bill Ballard
Cast: Matt Archbold
Spanning the 80’s, 90’s, 2000 and on, Archy’s amazing story is one of survival thru surf stardom at an early age, fame, drugs, alcohol, sponsorships and the surf rock star lifestyle.
Everest: A Climb for Peace, USA
Director: Lance Trumbull
Cast: Orlando Bloom (narrator)
An inspirational documentary about nine “peace climbers” from seven different faiths that overcome their differences to climb Mt. Everest.
Havana Surf, Spain – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Rodrigo Diaz McVeigh
Cast: Bob Samin, Eduardo Nunez Valdes, Brayam Ramirez Garcia
Shot on location in Cuba, documentary tells the story of six young Cuban surfers and legendary Australian surfer, Bob Samin, who has made his home in Baracoa, Cuba.
Life as a Movie, USA
Director: Benji Weatherley
Cast: Benji Weatherley, Jack Johnson, Tony Hawk, Chad Bartie, Tosh Townend, Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Ross Williams, Tom Carroll, Kalani Robb, Yadin Nicol, Rizal Tanjung, Todd Richards, Dave Downing, JP Walker, Jake Burton
Pro-surfer Benji Weatherley takes his friends, who happen to be the world’s best action sports pros, around the world to experience each others sports.
On The Pipe Five, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Jay Schweitzer
Cast: Robbie Maddison, Mike Mason, Ronnie Renner, Dustin Miller, Josh Grant, James Stewart, Adam Jones, Bilko, Andre Villa and many more.
The latest in director Jay Schweitzer’s series of films about motocross racing.
One Track Mind, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Chris Malloy
A film about the best surfers in the world.
Skateboard Stories, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Erik Hatch
Cast: Mike Pugh, Mike Kresky
Skateboard Stories are several vignettes focused on the lifestyles of various skateboarders.
The Women and the Waves, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Heather Hudson, Peck Euwer
This documentary surf film explores the lives of female surfers who, through the decades, have chosen to paddle head first into the male dominated sport of surfing and found a place of their own.
Truth in 24, USA
Director: Keith Cossrow
Cast: Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, Rinaldo ‘Dindo’ Capello, Wolfgang Ullrich, Howden Haynes
High tech genius racing team ‘Audi Sport’ attempts to win a record fifth straight 24 Hours of LeMans, the most grueling road racing event in history, against the local favorite and charging team Peugeot.
Water Man, USA
Directors: Don King, Sonny Miller
Cast: Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Gerry Lopez, Rob Machado, Chris Malloy, Keith Malloy, Dan Malloy
Laird Hamilton and a group of professional surfers venture into the heart of Indonesia, into a hidden paradise of colossal barrels and perfect waves.
Waveriders, Ireland/UK – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Joel Conroy
Cast: Gabe Davies, Richard Fitzgerald, Chris Malloy, Keith Malloy, Dan Malloy, Kelly Slater, Kevin Naughton, Drew Kampion, Rabbit Kekai, Craig Peterson, Easkey Britton
The story of Ireland’s connection to surfing from its reinvention in Hawaii in the early 1900s, to the rapid growth of big wave surfing in Ireland today.
EAST X WEST
20th Century Boys (20-seiki shônen), Japan – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Cast: Toshiaki Karasawa, Takako Tokiwa
A group of friends work to stop the apocalypse they predicted as children from coming true.
4BIA, Thailand – U.S. PREMIERE
Directors: Youngyooth Thongkonthun, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom, Paween Purikitpanya
Four short horror films from some of Thailand’s hottest directors.
Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, Japan – U.S. PREMIERE
Directors: Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno
After the second impact, all that remains of Japan is Tokyo-3, a city that’s being attacked by giant creatures that seek to eradicate the human kind, called Angels. After not seeing his father for more than eight years, Shinji Ikari receives a phone call, in which he is told to urgently come to the NERV Headquarters, an organization that deals with the destruction of the Angels through the use of giant mechs called Evas.
K-20: The Legend of the Mask (K-20: Kaijin niju menso den), Japan – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Sato Shimako
Cast: Kaneshiro Takeshi, Matsu Takako, Nakamura Toru
Set in a fictional Japanese city in 1949, a master criminal hones in on his latest victim in this epic action-adventure film.
Nobody To Watch Over Me (Dare mo mamotte kurenai), Japan – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Ryoichi Kimizuka
Cast: Koichi Sato, Yuriko Ishida
When a heinous crime is committed in Japan, society lays the blame on the victimizer’s family, leaving a troubled cop to protect a young girl being punished for her brother’s actions.
Our Town (Uri dongne), South Korea
Director: Gil-yeong Jeong
Cast: Seon-gyun Lee, Man-seok Oh, Deok-Hwan Ryu
While a serial killer is on the loose a struggling horror writer commits a copycat killing and, in the process of covering his tracks, begins to find the real serial killer himself.
Suspect X, Japan – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Hiroshi Nishitani
Cast: Shin’ichi Tsutsumi, Masaharu Fukuyama
A genius mathematician and physicist match wits with one trying so pull off the perfect crime, and the other trying to solve it.
The Chasing World (Riaru onigokko), Japan
Director: Issei Shibata
Cast: Takuya Ishida, Mitsuki Tanimura, Rio Matsumoto
A teenager is transported to a parallel world where everyone who shares his family name is being hunted down by the dictatorial government.
The Divine Weapon, South Korea – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Yu-jin Kim
Cast: Jae-yeong Keong, Eun-jeong Han, Jun-ho Heo
An historical, epic tale of Korea’s creation of Singijeon, a variation of the Chinese fire arrow.
Vacation (Kyûka), Japan – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Hajime Kadoi
Cast: Kaoru Kobayahi, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Nene Otsuka, Ren Osugi
The imminent execution of a prisoner leaves one prison guard to reevaluate his life.
Director: Tatia Rosenthal
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia
$9.99 introduces us to the unique residents of an Australian apartment building in this stop-motion animated feature.
Director: Josiane Balasko
Cast: Nathalie Baye, Eric Caravaca, Isabelle Carre
Judith, a single level-headed woman, buy herself sexual services of young men from escort websites. This way she meets Patrick, who only does it to pay the mortgage on his beloved wife’s hair salon, while she thinks he’s a building worker.
Everlasting Moments (Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick), Sweden
Director: Jan Troell
Cast: Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt
In a time of social change and unrest, war and poverty, a young working class woman, Maria, wins a camera in a lottery. The camera grants Maria new eyes with which to see the world. Trouble ensues when Maria’s alcoholic, womanizing husband, feels threatened by the young man and his wife’s newfound outlook on life. Sweden’s Official Academy submission.
Gomorrah (Gomorra), Italy
Director: Matteo Garrone
Cast: Simone Sacchettino, Maria Nazionale, Toni Servillo
GOMORRAH effortlessly weaves together five stories of various Italian citizens and their involvement with the brutal Camorra mafia. Italy’s official Academy submission.
Il Divo, Italy/France
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto
A portrait of seven-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti packed with wicked wit, brilliant cinematography and drama galore. Andreotti dominated Italian politics until undone by scandal and the predations of the Mafia.
It’s Not Me, I Swear!(C’est pas moi, je le jure!), Canada
Director: Philippe Faladreau
Cast: Antoine L’Ecuyer, Suzanne Clement
10 year old Léon Doré learns to cope with his mother abandoning him by terrorizing the neighborhood and falling in love with a girl down the street.
Loss (Nereikalingi zmones), Lithuania
Director: Maris Martinsons
Cast: Valda Bickute, Kostas Smoriginas, Andrius Mamontovas
LOSS is a compelling story of power, love and faith, showing how the lives of a disparate group of people are inextricably linked through a car accident 26 years ago. Lithuania’s Official Academy submission
Ocean (Okean), Russia – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterov
Cast: Jorge Luis Castro
A heartbroken Russian fisherman moves to Cuba to get a fresh start, only to discover more betrayals and disappointment.
Director: Bent Hamer
Cast: Bard Owe
Odd Horten begins his retired life on a surreal set of comic adventures around Norway. Norway’s Official Academy submission.
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Der Baader Meinhof Komplex), Germany
Director: Uli Edel
Cast: Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu
A look at Germany’s terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and ’70s. Germany’s Official Academy submission.
The Necessities of Life (Ce qu’il faut pour vivre), Canada
Director: Benoît Pilon
Cast: Paul-André Brasseur, Natar Ungalaaq
In 1952, an Inuit hunter named Tivii with tuberculosis leaves his northern home and family to go recuperate at a sanatorium in Quebec City. Canada’s Official Academy submission.
Three Monkeys (Üc maymun), Turkey
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Cast: Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan
A family suffers from a major communication breakdown during their struggle to to get through their hardships.
Director: Sergei Dvortsevoy
Cast: Tolepbergen Baisakalov, Ondas Besikbasov
About a young man who can’t achieve a long-cherished dream of tending his own flock of sheep without first acquiring a wife.
Eye of the Leopard, UK
Directors: Derek and Beverly Joubert
A poignant story of motherhood in nature.
Living With Cats, UK
Directors: Derek and Beverly Joubert
A film about the making of Eye of the Leopard, telling the story of how these two first class filmmakers, Derek and Beverly Joubert, integrate into the African plains for years in order to reveal the secrets of these wild animals.
Lobo: The Wolf that Changed America, USA
Director: Steve Gooder
Cast: Cling Youngreen
In 1893, a bounty hunter named Ernest Thompson Seton journeyed to the untamed canyons of New Mexico on a mission to kill a dangerous outlaw. Feared by ranchers throughout the region, the outlaw wasn’t a pistol-packing cowboy or train-robbing bandit. The outlaw was a wolf.
Director: Rick Rosenthal
This is the story of the fastest predator in the ocean – the giant black marlin.
Time Warp, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
A fascinating look at nature slowed down to thousands of frames per second.
Director: Isabel Coixet
Cast: Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, Dennis Hopper
Cultural critic David Kepesh finds his life — which he indicates is a state of “emancipated manhood” — thrown into tragic disarray by Consuela Castillo, a well-mannered student who awakens a sense of sexual possessiveness in her teacher.
Fight Club, USA
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton
An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression.
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast: Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino
Dominican baseball star Miguel “Sugar” Santos is recruited to play in the U.S. minor-leagues.
The Informers, USA
Director: Gregor Jordan
Cast: Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Brad Renfro, Rhys Ifans
A drama based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel set in 1983 Los Angeles, where movie executives, rock stars, a vampire, and other morally challenged character mix and commingle.
The Visitor, USA
Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Marian Seldes, Danai Gurira
A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, USA
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem
Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.
SANTA BARBARA FILMMAKERS
Creature of Darkness, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Mark Stouffer
Cast: Devon Sawa, Sanoe Lake, Matthew Lawrence, Kevin Alejandro, Siena Goines, Fernanda Romero
A horrifying biologist from another world comes to Earth on a brutal hunt of human specimens for alien science.
Dead Horse Opera, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Jeremy Fraye
Cast: Wil Ridge Galbraith
Dead Horse Opera follows folk rock artist Wil Ridge from Santa Barbara for eight years as he goes from hauling away dead horses to touring Europe with his band.
Green From the Ground Up, USA
A how-to guide for environmentally friendly construction projects, a supplement to the popular book.
Hold It Like a Baby, USA
Directors: Michael Love, Tina Love
Cast: Bink Goncharoff, Dana Halverston, Marlon Hoffman, Natasha Baker, Sandy Hacket, Jackie Kamm, Nick Marcotti, Liz Anne Keigley, Shelly Best, Rebecca Silberman, Rose Acosta, Laura Artolachipi, Nikole Hollenitsch, Jason Harrell, Scott Dewey, Tom Petra, Jeff Cohen, Paul Diekman, Deborah Cristobal, Doug Dane, Maurice Janco
‘Hold your anger like a baby’ advises bipolar psychologist Wilbur Waskowicks, and in this dark ensemble comedy he sets in motion a denouement of furiously funny proportions.
Linkin Park: The Making of Minutes of Midnight, USA
Director: Mark Fiore
Cast: Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington
A behind the scenes look at the making of Linkin Park’s latest album ‘Minutes to Midnight.’
Luis Leal: A Journey of 100 Years, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Janette Garcia
The biography of Luis Leal, an outstanding educator, scholar and human being who has won national and international awards and honors and continues to live a rich life at the age of 100 years.
Mile High: How to Win…and lose…the White House, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Tod Lancaster, Cassandra Nichols
Mile High captures the intensity of the 2008 presidential election through the eyes of a 17-year-old Obama volunteer.
Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy, Haiti/USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Renee Bergan
Through five Haitian women’s compelling lives, Poto Mitan gives an insider perspective on globalization, Haiti’s contemporary political/economic crisis, and the resilient women challenging this system.
The Road to Fallujah, USA
Director: Mark Manning
The Road to Fallujah journeys into the heart of Iraq to find avenues of peace from the horrors of war.
Whiz Kids, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Tom Shephard
Cast: Hermain Khan, Kelydra Welcker, Ana Cisneros
Follows five young scientists as they enter the nation’s most prestigious science competition.
Call of the Wild 3D, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Richard Gabai
Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Jaleel White, Timothy Bottoms
Inspired by the Jack London novel of the same name, Richard Gabai’s CALL OF THE WILD 3D takes the viewer on a dogsled ride of a good time in this action packed family film. Santa Barbara’s Christopher Lloyd (BACK TO THE FUTURE, TAXI) stars as Bill Hale, a rough outdoorsman who takes in his precocious, citified, granddaughter Ryann (Ariel Gade) while her parents are out of the country. After a rough adjustment to the outdoor life in Montana, Ryann is transformed after finding a wounded-wolf dog that she names Buck. Recognizing that his granddaughter’s attitude has transformed, Bill allows her to keep the animal temporarily. All is well until she encounters the evil Heep (portrayed by Santa Barbaran Timothy Bottoms), who, impressed by the dog’s size and speed, has designs of his own.