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Santa Barbara is covering live from Santa Barbara with pictures and videos.
SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to making a positive impact utilizing the power of film. SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film.

In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for our program expansion. This marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center focused on the art of film and is an incredible opportunity to expand our mission of educational outreach. Particularly important to SBIFF is making available high quality learning opportunities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Our programs and reach are more robust than ever before.


Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis Accept Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at SBIFF

Smith and Ellis sat down with The Hollywood Reporter’s longtime awards columnist and host of its popular Awards Chatter podcast, Scott Feinberg for an in depth discussion about their cinematic careers.



Some of the highlights from the conversation included:

  • Will looked quite dapper on the red carpet dressed from head to toe in Dolce & Gabbana, see HERE!
  • Will took us down memory lane from when he made history by being the first Grammy winner for Best Rap Performance: “It was a great coincidence that it was the first year that they actually had a rap category. I started rapping when I was twelve years old…I just loved it. I loved the words and being up in front of people. From the first time I heard “Rappers Delight” I knew I wanted to do that.” Watch HERE.
  • When a fight broke out in the audience of the theater, Will says “That’s why it’s important to have white audiences because that would’ve gone differently where you (Aunjanue) and I grew up. You want to act out how that would’ve gone if someone poured a drink on you?” Aunjanue jokingly proceeds to pretend to remove her earrings. Watch HERE. (7:42)
  • Aunjanue on playing Mrs. Hunt in If Beale Street Could Talk: “I loved that character so much because she was so unlikeable and hated by everyone in the room, and I loved it. It gave me so much joy, and I think leaning into that and not caring what anyone thought of me was so liberating and it was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had.” Watch HERE.
  • Aunjanue and Will’s reaction after watching their moving kitchen scene from King Richard: Will says, “Aunjaune just whispered in my ear, that’s the first time she’s ever seen that scene, she’s never watched it. That scene wrecks me.” Will jokes, “You should see some of your movies, they’re fantastic.” Aunjaune emotionally says, “I just feel that I am grateful to you, Will. That’s what I feel. That was fun to do, and the fact that director Reinaldo Marcus Green and Will Smith believed in me, I got to do that.” Watch HERE.


Following their conversation with Feinberg, King Richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green presented them with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award. Reinaldo opened his remarks by saying: “It is absolutely my pleasure and honor to present tonight's award for Outstanding Performers of the Year to the stars of King Richard, Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis. Working with these two was like sitting in on a master class everyday. We’ve all seen Will knock it out of the park for years, so I expected greatness. But when he stepped into the role as Richard Williams, I was blown away. The way he embodied this man, this father, with a commitment, it was truly special to see. Aunjanue Ellis, wow. As my mentor Spike Lee would say, she’s da truth. She brought this quiet intensity and absolutely crushed every scene she was in. Working with both Will and Aunjanue was truly one of the joys of my early career.” Watch HERE. (5:00)

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About Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has star wattage and a wealth of premieres in a Mediterrean-style city by the sea.

Blogging here with dailies: 
The team of editors of the The Santa Barbara Blog:
Carol Marshall, Felicia Tomasko, Vanessa McMahon, Marla and Mark Hamperin, Kim Deisler and Bruno Chatelin

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