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It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.  My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side. Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered. I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while.  But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.
All my love,



See CNN List Below:


Among the nominees Actor Brad Pitt for Saturday Night Live performance

Photo: Bonnie Carroll - Brad Pitt SBIFF Awards Santa Barbara 2019

Emmy Primertime Awards September 20, 2020 5PM - 8PM PT



In a move only made before during wartime, the Rose Parade will not happen on January 1, 2021. Organizers said the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to go forward with the annual Pasadena tradition.

The parade had previously only been canceled three of the years the U.S. was fighting World War II.

No decision has been made yet whether to host the equally tradition-bound Rose Bowl football game, said David Eads, Executive Director and CEO of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.


The governor's recent orders rolling back reopening of bars and restaurants and other restrictions on gatherings could be seen as the final nail in the coffin. For months before that, the tournament association and its 953 volunteers had been calculating the costs of canceling versus going forward with uncertain plans.

The key issue for this 132nd edition was health, Eads said.

The Tournament brought in a group from USC Keck School of Medicine that included a public health official, a public health expert, along with data scientists and epidemiologists, to give it a recommendation on whether they thought that Pasadena would be in what the Governor is calling "phase four".

Phase four requires the state to have low numbers of new cases of coronavirus, no recent deaths, no community spread, and contact tracing of those who get infected.

The answer was no.

"The overwhelming sense is that we will not be in stage four come January, which would mean we would not be allowed to host the Rose Parade," Eads said.

"So that led to our making a decision that we would need to cancel the parade."


Jeremy Hersh’s Quietly Powerful “The Surrogate”

There is something uniquely theatrical in writer/director Jeremy Hersh’s intimate film, The Surrogate. This insightful story unfolds almost as if you were watching a play with the highly professional acting associated with that art form.  The characters are totally developed, supporting the believable, excellent dialogue.  The well-honed script presents a penetrating look at the struggle between three friends who are faced with an ethical and perhaps even a moral dilemma.

Sullivan Jones,
L-R: Aaron played by Sullivan Jones, Jess characterized by Jasmine Batchelor and

Jess, exquisitely brought to life by a very talented Jasmine Batchelor is best friends with Josh, tenderly played by Chris Perfetti, and his husband Aaron, well played by Sullivan Jones.  They want to have a baby and Jess has agreed to be the egg donor and surrogate.  The dipstick turned pink and they are jubilant that she tested positive and a new life has begun.  They have agreed to cover all the attendant expenses to having their baby and the three of them are delighted.  Jess continues her work as a web designer for a local non-profit and it seems all is well.  There are lots of fun dinners, yoga classes, laughter, and great excitement over the arrival of the baby.  All is well until they receive some unsettling news.  After the third month, the prenatal test is positive for Down syndrome and thus begins a painful decision journey for the three friends. Jess wants more information and the three of them go to a community center that specializes in working with Down children.  It appears to be a happy place and the children are engaged in all sorts of activities.   There Jess meets young, really adorable Leon, beautifully played by Down actor Leon Lewis, and his devoted mother Bridget, excellently played by Brooke Bloom.  Jess asks if she could visit their home. Bridget says yes and invites her for dinner during which she shares her experiences in raising her child, some of which are quite challenging.  Leon is reasonably verbal and cheerfully responds to whatever instructions he receives from his mom.  Back at Josh and Aaron’s apartment in Williamsburg Brooklyn, the guys are clearly conflicted and are having second thoughts on the prospects of raising a Down child, citing what they perceive to be the on-going attendant costs. With much sadness, they tell her that they decided they don’t want to have the child and ask her to abort the fetus and, at the moment, she agrees.  To find a temporary respite from the horrible choice that lies before her, Jess has sex with her old boyfriend Nate, a really sweet guy characterized by Brandon Micheal Hall.  He wants to marry her and says he will be supportive of whatever she decides, whether her decision is to abort or not to abort, in which case he would help her raise the child. At 29 years of age, and apparently commitment phobic, Jess doesn’t want to get married or even have a steady boyfriend. After giving it a great deal of thought, she decides that she does not want to abort and goes to her mother, Karen (Tonya Pinkins) to seek $100,000 from the trust fund left by her grandparents and would use the funds to buy a house for she and the baby.  With a Masters Degree from Columbia, her mom patiently points out the pitfalls of raising a special needs child and refuses the request.  She defends herself pointing out all the money she donates to charities with Jess shooting back that such generosity was to “assuage guilt for living a privileged life.”  In the meantime, Josh and Aaron are under the impression that she is going to have an abortion.  The day before the scheduled procedure, Jess goes back to her friends to try to reason with them, saying they could co-parent the child, but Josh has an unpleasant memory from his childhood of a Down kid named Devon and doesn’t want that for his child.  In a heartfelt plea, he tries to explain that being a gay married couple was hard enough which is why they want to at least have a normal kid.  She doesn’t commit one way or the other and moves in with her loving sister Samantha, sympathetically played by Eboni Booth.

a scene from The Surrogate
L-R: Surrogate Jess (Jasmine Batchelor) meets with Aaron (Sullivan Jones) and his husband Josh
(Chris Perfetti) who present a compromise on how to deal with the unborn child. PHOTO COURTESY OF

The guys visit Jess at her sister’s house and propose that instead of aborting the child that they put it up for adoption.  At that point, Jess gets angry and refuses that suggestion telling them she is going to have the child and that they will never be allowed to visit.  Still there is the slightest question mark as to what action she will ultimately undertake and we are left with a lovely cliffhanger.

The Surrogate, which is director Hersh’s first feature, is a pitch perfect, fascinating, well-crafted, highly intelligent film.  His narrative does not take a moral position on abortion and allows each of his characters to make his or her own case, as to abort or not to abort, in non-diatribe, non-exploitative, crisp dialogue, with valid points of view.  Enhancing this captivating, excellent movie with his extremely fine theatre trained acting ensemble, is his production crew starting with Mia Cioffi Henry’s sensitive cinematography, D’Vaughn Agu’s delicate production design, culminating with Cecilia Delgado’s spot-on editing, all working together for this absorbing 93-minute Indy film which can be viewed through the Vimeo on Demand platform.




The winners have been announced for this year's British Academy Television Craft Awards!

For the very first time, the ceremony was an online-only live stream, hosted by Stephen Mangan and featuring guest presenters Romesh Ranganathan, Rachel Parris, Jessica Knappett and Richard Ayoade.

It was a night on which Chernobyl, the drama mini-series based on the nuclear disaster in 1986, was successful in seven categories; His Dark Materials, the drama based on the series of novels by Philip Pullman, won two awards; and Nicky Sargent and Vikki Dunn, co-founders of The Farm, were honoured with the BAFTA Special Award.

The 35th SBIFF would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors and donors. Please visit the link below to view the 19/20 Annual Report to learn more about SBIFF’s year-round programming and for a complete list of SBIFF’s benefactors. Visit www.SBIFF.org for 36th SBIFF Dates.
This year marked the 35th Anniversary of Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and was in many ways our most successful festival yet. Thanks to your support we were able to further our mission to engage, enrich and inspire people using the power of film and to make the worlds of film and filmmaking accessible to all. And we couldn’t have done it without you! See below for highlights of the 2020 SBIFF.

The 35th Anniversary of SBIFF included:

47 World Premieres
71 U.S. Premieres
325 Film Screenings representing 50 Countries
275 Filmmakers
165 Filmmakers Q&As
30 Sponsored National Students from
30 Different Colleges & Universities
11,000 Underserved Families and Children
40 Oscar®-nominated and Award-winning Filmmakers
600+ Volunteers
100,000 film loving attendees
Audience Choice Award sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent: Richard Hobert's The Birdcatcher’s Son (Fågelfångarens son)

Best Documentary Short Film Award: Henry Roosevelt’s Sixth of June

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film: Jianna Maartin’s Sin Cielo

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: Jonathan Langager’s Cosmic Fling

Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International: Brian Morrison’s Bastards’ Road

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film: Fatos Berisha’s The Flying Circus (Cirku Fluturues)
Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: William Nicholson’s Hope Gap

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: Gerardo Herrero’s The Goya Murders

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film: Jesper W. Nielsen’s The Exception (Undtagelsen)

ADL Stand Up Award sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties: Lydia Dean Pilcher's Liberté: A Call to Spy

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: Katherin Hervey’s The Prison Within
Opening Night Film presented by UGG® was the World Premiere screening of A BUMP ALONG THE WAY - A female-led dramatic comedy set in Derry, Ireland, about a woman whose unexpected pregnancy acts as the catalyst for her to finally take control of her life.
Celebrity Tribute events brought some of the year’s most acclaimed talent together to speak on the industry, their career journeys, and artistic processes. Tribute events included:

American Riviera Award honoring Renée Zellweger sponsored by Bella Vista Designs

Outstanding Performer of the Year honoring Adam Driver presented by Belvedere Vodka

Virtuosos Award presented by UGG®

Montecito Award honoring Lupita Nyong’o presented by Manitou Fund

Cinema Vanguard Award honoring Laura Dern presented by Manitou Fund

Maltin Modern Master Award honoring Brad Pitt presented by Manitou Fund

Outstanding Director of the Year Award honoring Bong Joon-Ho sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter

Variety Artisans Award sponsored by Variety

Many of SBIFF’s Education Programs culminate at the Festival. These programs include:

Mikes Field Trip to the Movies provided transportation for 3,500 local 4th-6th grade students to enjoy free screenings of Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4, followed by special Q&As with guest mentors associated with the films.

10-10-10 Mentorship & Filmmaking Competition included 10 Filmmakers and 10 Screenwriters from local high schools and colleges who were paired with industry professionals to make their own short films that were premiered on the last day of the Festival.

Film Studies Program provided 31 local and 30 national college students curriculum-driven access to SBIFF for the educational experience of a lifetime.
The 35th SBIFF’s Closing Night Film, sponsored by Winchester Mystery House, highlighted Santa Barbara with a series of world premiere screenings created by local filmmakers.
SBIFF’s Opening Night Gala hosted 2,000+ attendees to celebrate the launch of the 35th Festival with dancing and entertainment, and food and beverages provided by local vendors and festival partners.
SBIFF’s Industry Panel Series invited leading producers, writers, and women in film to take the stage for lively discussions about their creative successes and the unique challenges they face in their field. Panels included:

Producers Panel
Pippa Harris (1917), David Heyman (ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD &
Amy Pascal (LITTLE WOMEN), Kwak Sin Ae (PARASITE), Emma Tillinger Koskoff
(JOKER & THE IRISHMAN), Moderated by Glenn Whipp

Writers Panel
Stephany Folsom (TOY STORY 4), Greta Gerwig (LITTLE WOMEN), Noah Harpster (A BEAUTIFUL
(THE FAREWELL), Moderated by Anne Thompson

Women’s Panel
Aneta Hickinbotham (Producer – CORPUS CHRISTI), Anne Morgan (Make-Up – BOMBSHELL), Arianne Phillips (Costume Designer – ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD), Bonnie Arnold
(Producer – HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2), Julia Reichert (Director – AMERICAN FACTORY),
Mayes C. Rubeo (Costume Designer – JOJO RABBIT), Regina Graves (Set Decorator – THE
IRISHMAN), Rosana Sullivan (Director – KITBULL), Sarah Finn (Casting Director – THE LION KING), Moderated by Madelyn Hammond
SBIFF offers Free Community Programs to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the Festival.

AppleBox Family Films provided low-income families with a theatre-going experience – at absolutely no cost. The program served over 6,000 children and families during SBIFF.

Filmmaker Seminars offered various panel discussions with filmmakers at no cost. Topics included: Documentary Activism, Independent Filmmaking, Making Shorts, International Filmmakers, and more.

Free Daily Film Screenings provided showings of some the most popular Festival films at the Lobero Theatre. Academy Award Winning director David O. Russell attended for a Q&A following a special anniversary screening of THREE KINGS.

Silent Sunday invited attendees to enjoy a silent film screening of the 1939 classic THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. The film was accompanied by a live scoring on the historic Arlington Theatre’s Wonder Morton Pipe Organ.

Following the Festival, 3rd Weekend offered free screenings of three of the Festival’s most popular films at SBIFF’s Riviera Theatre.


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