Santa Barbara festival unveils lineup

Event to feature 215 films, 20 premieres

The 23rd Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival unveiled its lineup and program, which will feature 215 films including 20 world premieres and 22 U.S. bows. Events will include a tribute to Julie Christie.

Fest, which runs Jan. 24-Feb. 3, will open with Adam Brooks’ “Definitely, Maybe,” starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz. Brooks, Reynolds and Breslin will attend the opening night gala.

Giuseppe Tornatore’s “An Unknown Woman” will close the festival. Tornatore will be on hand for the unspooling.

Norman Jewison will serve as guest director.

SBIFF director Roger Durling said the festival continues to grow in stature and provide a showcase for Academy Award hopefuls. “This year’s film slate certainly reflects that,” he said.

Christie’s tribute will take place Jan. 25 at the Lobero Theater, where she will be joined by Leonard Maltin to discuss her latest film, “Away From Her,” and her body of work.

Cate Blanchett will receive the Modern Master award, while Javier Bardem will receive the Montecito award. Ryan Gosling will be feted with the newly created Independent Award, followed by a panel moderated by Entertainment Weekly bureau chief Sean Smith.

SBIFF will bestow the Virtuosos 2008 award to Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, James McAvoy, Ellen Page and Amy Ryan. Tommy Lee Jones will receive the American Riviera award, and Angelina Jolie has been tapped for the performance of the year award.

Fest also includes the following sidebars:

  • Eastern Bloc, films from Eastern Europe;

  • Reel Nature, a nature films series;

  • East X West, a collection of the best cinema from Asia;

  • To the Maxxx, extreme sports films and documentaries including the world bow of Jeremy Gosch’s “Bustin’ Down the Door”;

  • Latino Cinemedia, a collection of films from Spain and Latin America;

  • Santa Barbara filmmakers including seven world premieres.

This year’s jury includes Dave Stein, “Children of Men” scribes Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, Shohreh Aghdashloo, “Little Miss Sunshine” producer Ron Yerxa, Anthony Zerbe, helmers Mark Fishkin and Don Hertzfeldt, Clark Peterson and Domenica Cameron-Scorsese.

A complete list of the festival’s lineup can be found at: sbiff.org.