San Diego International Film Festival

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San Diego International Film Festival
Critics Panel - San Diego International Film Festival 2016.jpg
Festival co-hosts Jeffrey Lyons, Ben Lyons and Scott Mantz at a Critics Panel in 2016.
LocationSan Diego and La Jolla
Founded2001
Founded byKarl Kozak, Robin Laatz
AwardsGolden Eagle, Kumeyaay Eagle, Gregory Peck Award, Chris Brinker Award
Artistic directorTonya Mantooth
Websitesdfilmfest.com

The San Diego International Film Festival (SDIFF), held annually in the autumn across two "villages" in the Gaslamp Quarter and La Jolla, is the largest independent film festival in San Diego, California, and is produced by the non-profit San Diego Film Foundation.[1][2][3][4]

The festival hosts celebrity awards banquets, panel discussions, retrospectives, parties, premieres and contemporary independent narrative, documentary and short film screenings. Competitive juried categories vary year to year and have included foreign language, animated, Native American, military, social justice, equestrian, thrillers and local films made in San Diego.

Special advanced screenings for VIP members throughout the year[5] and educational programs[6] for San Diego area high schools are held year round in addition to an annual formal "Oscar watch party" in the winter.[7]

History[edit]

The San Diego International Film Festival and its non-profit foundation were founded in 2001 by event planner Robin Laatz and her filmmaker husband Karl Kozak.[8]

Since 2016, opening night films have screened at the historic Balboa Theatre.

In its first decade, the festival was attended by an array of celebrities including Richard Dreyfuss, Elliot Gould, William Shatner, Tatum O'Neal, Stacey Keach, Jennifer Tilly, Mira Sorvino, Joaquin Phoenix, Jesse Eisenberg, Jenna Fischer, James Cromwell, James Van Der Beek, James Woods, Kevin Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Melissa Joan Hart, Jason Ritter, Colin Hanks, Kim Coates, John Walsh, Scott Baio, Paul Haggis, Leland Orser, Seymour Cassel, Joan Collins, Rod Lurie, Cliff Robertson and Phyllis Diller.

Films premiering at the festival during that time include Roger Dodger, The Blair Witch Project, Fahrenheit 9/11, An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, Napoleon Dynamite, Primer, The Machinist and Born Into Brothels.

The festival has been designated "Best Party Fest" and "Best Beach Fest" by the "Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide."[9] It has also been criticized along the same lines for being "more intent on throwing parties than putting quality films on the screen."[10]

New Leadership/Native Direction[edit]

In 2012, leadership passed to husband and wife producers Dale Strack and Tonya Mantooth.[11] According to Strack: "we’re modeling it after the Napa Valley Film Festival,” he said. “But the longer term goal is to have it rival Sundance or TriBeCa.”[12]

The festival expanded to a second location in La Jolla the same year.

Another new change was the establishment of a "Native American Advisory Board," whose name was changed in 2017 to "American Indian Advisory Board."[13]

Tribes represented on the AIA board include Sac and Fox, Luiseño, Kumeyaay, Seminole, Lipan/Mescalero Apache and the Barona Band of Mission Indians.

Notable members of the board include character actor Saginaw Grant (The Lone Ranger, Breaking Bad), Randolph Mantooth (Emergency!, Sons of Anarchy, brother of Tonya) and Erica Pinto, the Chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village.[14]

2012-Present[edit]

Notable attendees during this period include Gus Van Sant, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Anne Heche, Diane Ladd, Judd Apatow, Michael B. Jordan, Martin McDonagh, Mariel Hemingway, Troy Duffy, Alan Arkin, Beau Bridges, Michele Monaghan, Eli Roth, Tom Berenger, Josh Duhamel, Dennis Haysbert, Geena Davis, Adrien Brody, Brit Marling, John Boyega, Jack Robbins, Jason Segal, Annette Bening, Warren Beatty, Simon Helberg, Kevin Pollak, JJ Totah, Sean Patrick Flanery, Kweku Mandela, Kate Beckinsale, Jason Mitchell, Rian Johnson, Anne Heche, Patrick Stewart, Kumail Nanjiani, Heather Graham, Blake Jenner, Bill Hader, Henry Winkler, JK Simmons, Keith Carradine, Kenny Loggins, Topher Grace, Kathryn Hahn, Zachary Levi, John Cho, Alex Wolff, Nat Wolff, Christian Navarro, Hal Linden, Gavin Hood, Laurence Fishburne, Lindsay Wagner, Jared Harris, Jillian Bell, Camila Morrone and Stephen Gyllenhaal.

Films premiering at the festival during this time include Silver Linings Playbook, 12 Years a Slave, He Named Me Malala, Goosebumps, The Imitation Game, Wild, Lion, Tiger, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me By Your Name, Marshall, The Favourite, Widows, Boy Erased, Jojo Rabbit, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Irishman, Parasite, Marriage Story, MLK/FBI and Nomadland.

In 2013, New York area film critic Jeffrey Lyons was added as festival host and made honorary jury chairman. He acted as host or co-host, with son Ben Lyons or Access Hollywood film critic Scott Mantz until 2018, when Mantz hosted solo.

The festival added 'International' to its name in 2016, having previously been known only as the San Diego Film Festival (SDFF).[15]

In 2016, the festival established a Film Insider Series for VIP members to watch featured official selections and festival winners, premieres and special advanced screenings throughout the year.[16]

In September 2019, the festival began hosting free popular movies (Back to the Future, Men In Black) on Mission Beach.[17]

In 2019, the festival expanded to six days and hosted a second opening night film (The Irishman) at the La Jolla Village.[18][19]

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the festival has been reduced back to four days and will present 114 films both virtually and on drive-thru screens.[20][21]

Awards[edit]

Alan Arkin was the first recipient of the Gregory Peck Award at SDFF in 2014

Gregory Peck Award[edit]

The Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence has been presented by the family of San Diego native Gregory Peck at the festival since 2014. Recipients at SDiFF include Keith Carradine, Patrick Stewart,[22] Annette Bening[23] and Alan Arkin.[24] Laurence Fishburne.[25][26] The family originally presented the award at the Dingle International Film Festival in Ireland. Previous recipients include Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Laura Dern.[27]

Chris Brinker Award[edit]

Created by the family of Chris Brinker, a San Diego area producer best known for The Boondock Saints movies who died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 42.[28] The award is given every year to the best first time director in competition at the festival.

Golden Eagle[edit]

Since 2014, honored celebrities and winning filmmakers have been presented with a "Golden Eagle" themed statuette, sculpted by Apache artist Ruben Chato.[29]

Kumeyaay Eagle Award[edit]

An annual award presented to the best film competing in the American Indian track.[30]

Night of the Stars Awards[edit]

The festival offers other awards - Auteur, Vanguard, Visionary, Humanitarian, Spotlight, Music Icon, Rising Star - that vary year to year. Honorees since 2012 have included:

Gala Event Films[edit]

Year Opening Night Other Galas Closing Night Ref
2020 Nomadland - (dir. Chloé Zhao) - drive-in

Drunk Bus - virtual village

Stardust (dir. Gabriel Range) - World Premiere

Blithe Spirit (dir. Edward Hall)

MLK/FBI - virtual village [20][21]
2019 Jojo Rabbit (dir. Taika Waititi) - Gaslamp

The Irishman (dir. Martin Scorsese) - La Jolla

The Kill Team (dir. Dan Knauss)

Motherless Brooklyn (dir. Edward Norton)

Clemency (dir. Chinonye Chuckwu, US)

Parasite (dir. Bong Joon Ho)

The Truth (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Marriage Story (dir. Noah Baumbach) - Gaslamp

A Hidden LIfe (dir. Terrence Malick) - La Jolla

[43][44]
2018 Can You Ever Forgive Me?

(dir. Marielle Heller, US)

Everybody Knows (dir. Asghar Farhadi)

Widows (dir. Steve McQueen)

The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

Wildlife (dir. Paul Dano)

Boy Erased (dir. Joel Edgerton)
2017 Marshall (dir. Reginald Hudlin, US) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Call Me By Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino)

Thelma (dir. Joachim Trier, Norway)

Killing Gunther (dir. Taren Killam) - World Premiere

The Last Movie Star as Dog Years (dir. Adam Rifkin)

Dismissed (dir. Benjamin Arfman, US)

World Premiere

2016 Other People (dir. Chris Kelly, US) Lion (dir. Garth Davis, Australia)

Denial (dir. Mick Jackson, UK/USA)

Julieta (dir. Pedro Almodovar, Spain)

The Eagle Huntress (UK/Mongolia)
2015 Septembers of Shiraz (dir. Wayne Blair) Blackway as Go With Me

Diablo (dir. Lawrence Roeck)

Youth (dir. Paolo Sorrentino, Italy)

He Named Me Malala

2014[45] Wild (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée, US) The Imitation Game (UK/US)

The Equalizer (dir. Antoine Fuqua)

You're Not You (US)
2013[46] 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen, UK/US)

The German Doctor (dir. Lucía Puenzo)

August: Osage County (US)
2012[47] Silver Linings Playbook (dir. David O. Russell)

Seven Psychopaths (dir. Martin McDonagh)

Quartet (dir. Dustin Hoffman, UK)

The Sapphires (dir. Wayne Blair, Aus)

2011[48] 50/50 (dir. Jonathan Levine, US) Like Crazy (dir. Drake Doremus) The Bully Project (dir. Lee Hirsch)
2010[49] Waiting For "Superman"
2008[50] The Lucky Ones (dir. Neil Burger) Morning Light (dir. Mark Monroe)
2004[51] The Machinist (dir. Brad Anderson)

Primer (dir. Shane Carruth)

Dear Frankie (dir. Shona Auerbach)

Born Into Brothels (dir. Zana Briski)

2003[52] Broadway: The Golden Age (dir. Rick McKay)

Mothers & Daughters

2002[53] Rodger Dodger (dir. Dylan Kidd, USA) Now You Know (dir. Jeff Anderson, USA)
Anything But Love as Standard Time (USA)

Partnerships[edit]

48 Hour Film Project winners and nominees from San Diego are screened during the festival every year.

SDiFF has partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education and the San Diego Unified School District to bring films about social issues like homelessness, water pollution and refugees to area high schools.[34]

The festival submits films - along with the GI Film Festival, FilmOut San Diego, San Diego Asian Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival - to San Diego Film Week (SDFW), a city-wide spring showcase produced by Film Consortium San Diego. Films submitted to SDFW here are eligible to win San Diego Film Awards.[54]

Film Insider Series[edit]

Special screenings of official selections premieres and advanced screenings are held monthly for VIP members throughout the year.[55]

Film Insider Series[56]
Year February March April May June July
2015 The End of the Tour

Q&A w/ Jason Segel[57]

2016 The Fencer The Preppie Connection The Aderral Diaries Crossing Bhutan Captain Fantastic Hell or High Water
2017 Big Little Lies

HBO Pilot Premiere

In Search of Fellini The Lost City of Z Marie Curie Chasing Coral The Bachelors
2018 Love, Simon 16th: Barry

HBO Pilot Premiere[58]

Q&A w/ Bill Hader and Henry Winkler

28th: Borg vs. McEnroe

I'm Not Here

Q&A w/ JK Simmons

American Animals Sharp Objects

HBO Pilot Preview

Searching
2019 The Hummingbird Project Styx Long Shot Luce

Q&A w/ screenwriter

J.C. Lee

Wild Rose Official Secrets

Q&A w/ Gavin Hood

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New leadership and direction for Festival
  2. ^ Gaslamp Quarter location for 2012 Festival
  3. ^ Gus Van Sant to attend Retrospective, Festival expands to La Jolla
  4. ^ "San Diego Film Festival". Filmfestivals.com.
  5. ^ "Film Insider Series | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  6. ^ "FOCUS on Impact Film Tour | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  7. ^ "Awards Viewing Party | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  8. ^ "Questions for Robin Laatz". Voice of San Diego. 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  9. ^ "At San Diego Film Festival, no hitch is their niche - The San Diego Union-Tribune". 2018-04-17. Archived from the original on 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  10. ^ "San Diego Film Festival has a new chair, a new board, a new focus". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2012-04-13. Archived from the original on 2019-10-02. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  11. ^ "The Mantooth-Strack Family Works to Produce the San Diego Film Festival". 92067magazine.com/.
  12. ^ "San Diego Film Festival has a new chair, a new board, a new focus". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  13. ^ "San Diego International Film Festival names American Indian Advisory Board". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-07-13. Archived from the original on 2019-08-01. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  14. ^ "American Indian Advisory Board". San Diego International Film Festival. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2019-09-04.
  15. ^ Blair, Iain (2016-09-29). "San Diego Film Festival Sets Its Aim for a Global Reach". Variety. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  16. ^ Kühne, Olaf; Schönwald, Antje (2014-10-16), "Die mediale Erzeugung gesellschaftlicher Landschaft: San Diego im Film und in Internetvideos", San Diego, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, pp. 175–201, doi:10.1007/978-3-658-01720-0_5, ISBN 9783658017194
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  27. ^ "The Gregory Peck Award: For Excellence in the Art of Film. | Dingle International Film Festival". 2016-02-25. Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  28. ^ "San Diego Community News Group - Legacy of Point Loma producer lives on with Chris Brinker award". 2019-04-02. Archived from the original on 2019-04-02. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  29. ^ "New 2017 Golden Eagle Award Unveiled". Archived from the original on 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  30. ^ "American Indian | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  31. ^ "Night Of The Stars Tribute". San Diego International Film Festival. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  32. ^ Gray, Tim (2018-08-29). "Alex Wolff, Dominique Fishback to Receive San Diego Festival Honors". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  33. ^ Desk, TV News. "Topher Grace and Kenny Loggins Honored at San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2018-09-26.
  34. ^ a b Blair, Iain (2018-10-10). "San Diego International Film Festival Offers Diverse Slate of Features, Shorts and Documentaries". Variety. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
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  36. ^ McNary, Dave (2015-09-18). "'Star Wars' Star John Boyega Tapped for San Diego Festival Honor". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  37. ^ Release, Press (2014-09-29). "Equatorial Guinea-Set 'Where The Road Runs Out' Dominates San Diego Film Festival Awards". IndieWire. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
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  46. ^ "'12 Years a Slave' to Open San Diego Film Fest; 'August: Osage County' to Close". TheWrap. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  47. ^ "2012 San Diego Film Festival Reveals Complete Line-Up". blurppy. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  48. ^ "5 Must-See Films at the San Diego Film Festival". Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  49. ^ Wright, Anders (2010-09-22). "CityBeat's guide to the 2010 San Diego Film Festival". San Diego CityBeat. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  50. ^ "2008 SAN DIEGO FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS | Film Threat". 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  51. ^ LLC, CurtCo/SDM (September 2004). San Diego Magazine. CurtCo/SDM LLC.
  52. ^ "The Reel Thing". www.sandiegomagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
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  54. ^ "San Diego Film Week 2019". San Diego Film Week 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  55. ^ "Film Insider Series | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  56. ^ "Film Insider Series | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  57. ^ "JULY VIP SCREENING SERIES: THE END OF THE TOUR WITH SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY JASON SEGEL | San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  58. ^ "San Diego Intl Film Festival on Instagram: "San Diego Intl Film Fest hosted a screening last night with HBO for the new premiere of BARRY! Our passholders loved the screening and the…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2019-10-02.

External links[edit]