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San Diego International Film Festival

  (Redirected from San Diego Film Festival)

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

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
AwardsGregory Peck Award, Chris Brinker Award

The festival hosts celebrity awards banquets, panel discussions, retrospectives, parties, advanced screenings and premieres of contemporary narrative feature, documentary and short films. Competitive juried categories, called "tracks", 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, free popular movies on the beach series[5] and educational programs for San Diego high schools are held year round in addition to an annual formal "Oscar watch party" in the winter.[6][7]


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

The San Diego Film Festival and its non-profit foundation was founded in 2001 by event planner Robin Laatz and her filmmaker husband Karl Kozak.[8] From 2001 to 2011 the festival gave achievement awards to a variety of celebrities including Tatum O'Neal, Stacey Keach, Jennifer Tilly, Mira Sorvino, Joaquin Phoenix, William Shatner and Richard Dreyfuss.

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

The founders developed and introduced several specialty film series, including Native American Cinema, Student Short Film sections, Women in Film and a year-round film screening series.[9]

New Leadership/Native DirectionEdit

In 2012, leadership passed to husband and wife producers Dale Strack and Tonya Mantooth (sister of Native American actor Randolph Mantooth) [10]who helped establish a "Native American Advisory Board." In 2017, its name was changed to "American Indian Advisory Board."[11]

Tribes represented on the AIA board include Sac and Fox, the Rincon and Pauma Bands of Luiseño Indians, Jamul, Sycuan and Viejas bands of the Kumeyaay Indians, Seminole, Lipan/Mescalero Apache and the Barona Band of Mission Indians. Notable members of the board include actors Saginaw Grant, and Randolph Mantooth, artist Reuben Chato and Erica Pinto, Chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village.[12]

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.[13]


SDiFF is a participating partner - along with the GI Film Festival, San Diego Italian Film Festival, Filmout San Diego and the 48 Hour Film Project among others - in San Diego Film Week, a spring showcase produced by Film Consortium San Diego.[14]


Gregory Peck AwardEdit

Originally presented at the Dingle International Film Festival in Ireland in 2008. [15]Since 2014, the Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence has been SDiFF's most prestigious award created and presented by the family of Hollywood icon and San Diego native Gregory Peck. Recipients at SDiFF include Keith Carradine, Patrick Stewart,[16] Annette Bening and Alan Arkin.[17] Laurence Fishburne will receive the award on October 18, 2019[18]

Chris Brinker AwardEdit

Created by the family of Chris Brinker, a San Diego area producer best known for The Boondock Saints movies who died of cancer at the age of 42.[1] The award is given every year to the best first time director in competition at the festival.

Tribute to the StarsEdit

The festival offers other awards - Auteur, Vanguard, Visionary, Rising Star - that vary year to year. Honorees have included:

Golden EagleEdit

Since 2014, honored celebrities and winning filmmakers have been presented with a "Golden Eagle" themed statuette, sculpted by Apache sculptor Reuben Chato.[28]

Gala Event FilmsEdit

Year Opening Night Other Galas Closing Night
2019[29] JoJo Rabbit (dir. Taika Waititi, Germany/US) - Gaslamp

The Irishman (dir. Martin Scorsese, USA) - La Jolla

The Kill Team (dir. Dan Krauss, US)

Motherless Brooklyn (dir. Edward Norton, US)

Marriage Story (dir. Noah Baumbach, US) Gaslamp

A Hidden LIfe (dir. Terrence Malick) La Jolla

2018 Can You Ever Forgive Me?

(dir. Marielle Heller, US)

Everybody Knows (dir. Asghar Farhadi, Spain)

Widows (dir. Steve McQueen)

The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

Wildlife (Paul Dano)

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

Call Me By Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino)

Thelma (Joachim Trier, Norway)

The Last Movie Star as Dog Years (Adam Rifkin)

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

Denial (dir. Mick Jackson, UK/USA)

Julieta (Pedro Almodovar, Spain)

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

Diablo (dir. Lawrence Roeck)

Youth (dir. Paolo Sorrentino, Italy)

He Named Me Malala (Davis Guggenheim)

2014[30] Wild (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée, US) The Imitation Game (dir. Morten Tyldum, UK/US)

The Equalizer (dir. Antoine Fuqua)

You're Not You (US)
2013[31] 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen, UK/US)

The German Doctor (dir. Lucía Puenzo, Argentina)

August: Osage County (US)
2012[32] Silver Linings Playbook (dir. David O. Russell)

Seven Psychopaths (dir. Martin McDonagh)

Quartet (dir. Dustin Hoffman, UK)

The Sapphires (dir. Wayne Blair, Aus)

2011[33] 50/50 (dir. Jonathan Levine, US) Like Crazy (dir. Drake Doremus) The Bully Project (dir. Lee Hirsch)
2010[34] Waiting For "Superman" (dir. Davis Guggenheim, US)
2003[35] Broadway: The Golden Age (dir. Rick McKay)

Mothers & Daughters (dir. Hannah Davis and David Conolly, UK)

2002[36] Rodger Dodger (dir. Dylan Kidd, USA) Now You Know (dir. Jeff Anderson, USA)
Anything But Love as Standard Time (dir. Robert Cary, USA)


  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".
  5. ^ "Movies On The Bay". San Diego International Film Festival. 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-09-04.
  6. ^ Gus Van Sant Tribute and Retrospective at 2012 Festival
  7. ^ Gus Van Sant to be honored
  8. ^ "Questions for Robin Laatz". Voice of San Diego. 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  9. ^ Union-Tribune, San Diego. "At San Diego Film Festival, no hitch is their niche". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  10. ^ "The Mantooth-Strack Family Works to Produce the San Diego Film Festival".
  11. ^ "San Diego International Film Festival names American Indian Advisory Board". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-07-13. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  12. ^ "American Indian Advisory Board". San Diego International Film Festival. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2019-09-04.
  13. ^ Blair, Iain (2016-09-29). "San Diego Film Festival Sets Its Aim for a Global Reach". Variety. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  14. ^ "San Diego Film Week 2019". San Diego Film Week 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  15. ^ Trump Supporter Jumps on Cameraman Trying to Get Away at San Diego Rally, retrieved 2019-09-04
  16. ^ a b Fernandez, Matt (September 11, 2017). "Kumail Nanjiani, Heather Graham to Be Saluted at San Diego Film Festival". Variety.
  17. ^ "SDiFF Announces Annette Bening as the Gregory Peck Award Recipient". San Diego International Film Festival SDiFF. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  18. ^ Nissen, Dano; Nissen, Dano (2019-09-05). "Laurence Fishburne, Jared Harris & Jillian Bell to be Feted at San Diego Intl. Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  19. ^ Nissen, Dano; Nissen, Dano (2019-09-05). "Laurence Fishburne, Jared Harris & Jillian Bell to be Feted at San Diego Intl. Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  20. ^ "Night Of The Stars Tribute". San Diego International Film Festival. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  21. ^ Gray, Tim (2018-08-29). "Alex Wolff, Dominique Fishback to Receive San Diego Festival Honors". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  22. ^ Desk, TV News. "Topher Grace and Kenny Loggins Honored at San Diego International Film Festival". Retrieved 2018-09-26.
  23. ^ Varga, George. "Annette Bening back home for San Diego Film Festival award". Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  24. ^ McNary, Dave (2015-09-18). "'Star Wars' Star John Boyega Tapped for San Diego Festival Honor". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  25. ^ Release, Press (2014-09-29). "Equatorial Guinea-Set 'Where The Road Runs Out' Dominates San Diego Film Festival Awards". IndieWire. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  26. ^ Accomando, Beth. "Preview: San Diego Film Festival". KPBS Public Media. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  27. ^ Martella, Laura. "2013 San Diego Film Festival | Gentleman Norman". Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  28. ^ "New 2017 Golden Eagle Award Unveiled". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  29. ^ "San Diego International Film Festival Announces 2019 Films & Honorees". San Diego International Film Festival. 2019-09-05. Retrieved 2019-09-09.
  30. ^ McNary, Dave (2014-08-29). "Reese Witherspoon's 'Wild' to Open San Diego Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  31. ^ "'12 Years a Slave' to Open San Diego Film Fest; 'August: Osage County' to Close". TheWrap. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  32. ^ "2012 San Diego Film Festival Reveals Complete Line-Up". blurppy. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  33. ^ "5 Must-See Films at the San Diego Film Festival". Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  34. ^ Wright, Anders (2010-09-22). "CityBeat's guide to the 2010 San Diego Film Festival". San Diego CityBeat. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  35. ^ "The Reel Thing". Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  36. ^ Reifsteck, Greg; Reifsteck, Greg (2002-08-13). "'Dodger' A-OK to open San Diego fest". Variety. Retrieved 2019-09-18.

External linksEdit