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Premieres, “Lessons,” “Men” & Celebritage Heading to 25th Santa Barbara Film Festival

Premieres, "Lessons," "Men" & Celebritage Heading to 25th Santa Barbara Film Festival

Two hundred films including 18 World Premieres, 28 U.S. Premieres and titles representing 45 countries are on tap for the silver edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The Festival, whose motto this year is “11 Amazing Days, 10 Starry Nights,” begins Thursday, February 4 through Sunday, February 14.

The 25th SBIFF will open with the World Premiere of “Flying Lessons” directed by Derek Magyar in his directorial debut and starring Christine Lahti, Maggie Grace, Jonathan Tucker, Cary Elwes, Joanna Cassidy and Hal Holbrook. “Flying Lessons” is the intimate story of a 25-year-old woman (Grace) forced to abandon her self-destructive and empty life in L.A. to return to her home town and estranged mother (Lahti). There she is forced to face the relationships she left behind and the memories that go with them – and the while befriending an elderly man (Holbrook) who teaches her the value of the present which allows her to come to terms with her past.

Closing Night will feature the World Premiere of “Middle Men,” directed by George Gallo and starring Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, James Caan, Kelsey Grammar and Kevin Pollack. The film chronicles Jack Harris, one of the pioneers of internet commerce, as he wrestles with his morals and struggles not to drown in a sea of conmen, mobsters, drug addicts, and pornstars.

Emily Blunt will receive SBIFF’s Chopin Virtuoso Award on Sunday, February 7, joining fellow recipients Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Stuhlbarg. “The Cove” filmmakers will receive the fest’s David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking.

“Our 25th Anniversary is a joyous landmark,” said SBIFF Director Roger Durling in a statement. “and that spirit is reflected in our program and in all the details that have gone into putting it together. Here’s to 25 more years.”

The list of the following SBIFF World and U.S. Premieres descriptions are available on the SBIFF website

World Premieres

180 South,” Directed by Chris Malloy USA

“Blue Belle,” Directed by Perry Lang USA

“Disappointment Valley…A Modern Day Western,” Directed by James Kleinart USA

“Flying Lessons,” Directed by Derek Magyar (Opening Night Film) USA

“God Went Surfing With The Devil,” Directed by Alexander Klein USA

“Hana Surf Girls,” Directed by Russ Spencer USA

“In The Land of the Free…,” Directed by Vadim Jean USA/UK

“Last Paradise,” Directed by Clive Neeson New Zealand

“Middle Men,” Directed by George Gallo USA

“Mission to Toyland,” Directed by Erik Hatch USA

“Provinces of Night,” Directed by Shane Dax Taylor USA

“Ten Stories Tall,” Directed by David Garrett USA

“The Desert of Forbidden Art,” Directed by Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope Russian Federation/USA/Uzbekistan

“The Elephant in the Living Room,” Directed by Michael Webber USA

“The Legend of Stuart Mossman,” Directed by Barry K. Brown USA

“The University of Nuclear Bombs,” Directed by Joshua King, Mohhmed Elsali USA

“Waiting For Forever,” Directed by James Keach USA

“When The Dragon Swallowed the Sun,” Directed by Dirk Simon USA

U.S. Premieres

“2501 Migrantes,” Directed by Yolanda Cruz Mexico

“A Distant Place” (Un lugar lejano), Directed by José Ramón Novoa Venezuela

“A Murder of Crows,” Directed by Susan Fleming Canada/France

“A Thousand Year Song of Baobob” (Baobabu no kioku), Directed by Seiichi Motohashi Japan

“Accident,” Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang Hong Kong

“Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess” (Amarufi: megami no hôshû), Directed by Hiroshi Nishitani Japan

“Ashkan, The Charmed Ring and Other Stories” (Ashkan, angoshtar-e motebarek va dastan-haye digar), Directed by Shahram Mokri Iran

“Ballad” (Ballad: Na mo naki koi no uta), Directed by Takashi Yamazaki Japan

“Black Sheep” (Oveja negra), Directed by Humberto Hinojosa Ozcariz Mexico

“Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime” (Carlitos y el campo de los sueños), Directed by Jesús del Cerro Spain

“City of Shadows,” Directed by Kim Nguyen Canada

“El Paso,” Directed by Zdenek Tyc Czech Republic

“Exam,” Directed by Stuart Hazeldine UK

“Green Waters” (Aguas verdes), Directed by Mariano De Rosa Argentina

“Herman,” Directed by Hussein Hassan Iraq

“Honeymoons,” Directed by Goran Paskaljevic Serbia/Albania

“Je me souviens,” Directed by André Forcier Canada

“Katalin Varga,” Directed by Peter Strickland Romania/UK

“Kick Off,” Directed by Shawkat Amin Korki Iran

“Losing Balance” (Draussen am See), Directed by Felix Fuchssteiner Germany

“South of the Border,” Directed by Oliver Stone USA

“The Hungry Ghosts,” Directed by Michael Imperioli USA

“The Monk and The Mermaid, The Song of Charles Lloyd,” Directed by Fara C. France

“The Nothing Men,” Directed by Mark Fitzpatrick Australia

“The Race,” Directed by André F. Nebe Ireland

“True Noon,” Directed by Nosir Saidov Tajikistan

“Twenty” (Bist), Directed by Abdolreza Kahani Iran

“The Wind Journeys,” Directed by Ciro Guerra Colombia

“Zero,” Directed by Pawel Borowski Poland

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