Santa Barbara Film Festival Reveals Panel Participants Featuring 2024 Oscar Contenders

Under executive director Roger Durling, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF, February 7-17, 2024) has thrived by not only mounting a film festival but surfing the awards season wave, programming a ton of onstage interviews with Oscar contenders.

Every year, screenwriters, directors, and producers promote their films on panels, and the likes of Kristen Stewart, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Nolan, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Bong Joon Ho, Adam Driver, Renée Zellweger, Laura Dern, Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o, Saoirse Ronan, Bruce Dern, Jeff Bridges, Melissa McCarthy, Isabelle Huppert, Viggo Mortensen, Rami Malek, Glenn Close, and Sam Elliott submit to in-depth tributes.

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The panels, tributes, and special screenings lure local cinephiles and the area’s few hundred Academy members eager to hear Oscar contenders talk about their creative process. All tributes and panels are held in person at the historic Arlington Theatre, and they’re posted online.

SBIFF 2024 will feature over 200 films from 48 countries, as well as red-carpet tributes to filmmakers and talent including Robert Downey Jr., Bradley Cooper, Lily Gladstone, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Jeffrey Wright, Mark Ruffalo, America Ferrera, Billie Eilish, Paul Giamatti, and more.

The Producers Panel on February 10 at 11 a.m. PT will be moderated by The New York Times’ Nicole Sperling. Attending will be Jermaine Johnson (“American Fiction”), David Thion (“Anatomy of a Fall”), David Heyman (“Barbie”), Daniel Lupi (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Fred Berner (“Maestro”), Emma Thomas (“Oppenheimer”), Christine Vachon (“Past Lives”), Andrew Lowe (“Poor Things”), Mark Johnson (“The Holdovers”), and James Wilson (“The Zone of Interest”).

At 2 p.m., Roger Durling will moderate the International Panel: Attendees include director Matteo Garrone (“Io Capitano”), writer-director Wim Wenders (“Perfect Days”), director IIker Çatak (“The Teachers’ Lounge”), and sound designer Johnnie Burn (“The Zone of Interest”).

The next Tuesday, February 13 at 8 p.m., I will moderate the annual “It Starts with the Script” Writers Panel, including Cord Jefferson (“American Fiction”), Arthur Harari (“Anatomy of a Fall”), Samy Burch (“May December”), Josh Singer (“Maestro”), Celine Song (“Past Lives”), Tony McNamara (“Poor Things”), and Dave Hemingson (“The Holdovers”).

The following weekend on February 17 at 11 a.m., Madelyn Hammond moderates the Women’s Panel including composer Laura Karpman (“American Fiction”), songwriter Diane Warren (“Flamin’ Hot”), hair and makeup nominee Karen Hartley-Thomas (“Golda”), Annapurna animation production head Julie Zachary (“Nimona”), and director Maite Alberdi (“The Eternal Memory”).

The 38th edition opens February 7 with the world premiere of Disney’s “Madu,” directed by Matt Ogens and Kachi Benson. After screening 95 U.S premieres and 48 world premieres from 54 countries, the festival will close February 17 with director-actress Heather Graham’s “Chosen Family.”

Check out our entertaining “Screen Talk” podcast interview with Roger Durling here. The full program is listed here.

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