30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival


Award season is an exciting time of year in Hollywood but at some point it wears out its welcome and it’s time for some fresh content. If you’re ready for some silver screen features you haven’t seen before, head a little north of L.A. to check out Santa Barbara’s International Film Festival!


This year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival is January 27th through February 7th and will feature a wide selection of independent and foreign films from over 54 countries. The event takes place at several screening venues in Santa Barbara but there’s much more to it than just watching movies. Director interviews, panel discussions along with meet and greets round SBIFF into an enriching gathering and in depth social event.


Three Decades of Excellence

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Since 1985 the SBIFF has brought together filmmakers, actors and directors to create a unique and well respected event. For its 30th year celebration, SBIFF will offer expanded programming including the merging of the “Outstanding Director of the year” award and panel into a single larger event.


Opening Night Gala

Fittingly, the SBIFF officially begins with a film screening, but is followed by the Opening Night Gala in downtown Santa Barbara. The event is open to the public, but tickets are required. The Gala is a great event for anyone looking to get into the spirit of the festival quickly while getting a chance to meet with filmmakers and actors.


Film Competition Categories

  • International features
  • Independent features
  • Documentary features
  • Spanish/Latin America cinema features
  • Eastern bloc features
  • The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice
  • Live action short films
  • Animated short films

Besides the main competition categories, additional accolades are given each year to individuals showing remarkable performance and skill, these recognitions are decided before the festival and include:

  • Montecito Award – Jennifer Aniston
  • Cinema Vanguard Award – Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones
  • Virtuosos Award – Chadwick Boseman, Ellar Coletrane, Logan Lerman, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, J.K. Simmons and Jenny Slate
  • American Riviera Award – Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke
  • Outstanding performer of the year – Steve Carrel for Fox catcher


Complete Event Schedule

With the sheer number of films (last year over 200 were shown), you won’t have time time to see them all. Use the online schedule to pick and choose which ones you really want to see and create a plan for your trip. Of course, If you’re more the spontaneous type,  you could always just get tickets for random showings and hope to be pleasantly surprised!


How to Attend the Festival

If you’re trying to save money, check out the “attending on a budget” section of the website.

There are multiple levels of passes for the festival starting at $60 “remains of the day” passes which allows admission after main seating all the way to a $7500 private access pass that gives admission to all the film screenings as well as the opening Gala and other private areas.


Join the Conversation

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Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2015

When: January 27th – February 2015
Where: Santa Barbara, CA (Various Locations)
Admission: Varies depending on package ($60-$7500)


Spanish Garden Inn
Santa Barbara’s finest luxury boutique hotel, located downtown. 915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. 805-564-4700.