Santa Barbara Film Fest Awards Go to ‘26.2 to Life,’ ‘I Like Movies,’ ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ – Film News in Brief

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced its prizewinners Saturday morning, with “26.2 to Life,” directed by Christine Yoo, winning the audience choice award. The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema went to “I Like Movies,” directed by Chandler Levack, while the international feature film award went to “A Man (Aru Otoko),” directed by Kei Ishikawa. “A Bunch of Amateurs,” directed by Kim Hopkins, won the documentary award.

See more winners here:

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Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: MANUELA Directed by Clara Cullen

Best Middle Eastern/Israeli Film Award: THE TASTE OF APPLES IS RED (TA’AM AL TUFAH, AHMAR) Directed by Ehab Tarabieh


Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: BLACK MAMBAS Directed by Lena Karbe

ADL Stand Up Award, sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties, the Skinner Social Impact Fund, and Steve & Cindy Lyons: THE QUIET GIRL (AN CAILÍN CIÚIN) Directed by Colm Bairéad

Best Documentary Short Film Award: NOWHERE TO GO BUT EVERYWHERE (行き止まりのむこう側) Directed by Masako Tsumura, Erik Shirai

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film: THE MOISTURE (RUTUBET) Directed by Turan Haste

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: EPICENTER (소문의 진원지) Directed by Heeyoon Hahm

Simu Liu to Host the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards

Simu Liu is set to host the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards on Feb. 24. The event will be held at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Liu will present a total of nine awards, including an Oscar statuette, to 20 individual award recipients during the ceremony.

The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards recognizes filmmakers who have significantly contributed to the scientific and technical processes of making motion pictures. Dissimilar to the Oscars, the time period in which nominees and winners are selected is not a constricted time frame to the past calendar year.

Liu has starred as Shang-Chi in the Marvel movie, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and was the first Asian lead in an MCU film. Liu’s latest project is Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, which will premiere on July 21.

The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards will be followed by the 95th Oscars on March 12, at the Dolby Theatre, and will be accessible via ABC.

Pinewood Studios Expansion Plan Will Make It World’s Largest St

Pinewood Studios’ plan for a 1.4 million square feet expansion has been approved by the Buckinghamshire Council. With this investment, Pinewood will become the world’s biggest studio complex.

The plan includes 21 new purpose-built sound stages, backlot filming space, an education and training hub and a 63-acre public nature reserve. The expansion is projected to create 8,000 new jobs and inject £640 ($770) million into the United Kingdom’s economy.

“We’re delighted Buckinghamshire Council has approved our plans for the expansion of Pinewood Studios and new nature reserve at Alderbourne Farm,” Pinewood Group corporate affairs director Andrew M. Smith said in a statement. “This development will provide invaluable resources to the British film and TV sector, consolidate Pinewood’s status as the UK’s leading production site, deliver significant benefits to our local community and encourage new talent to join the industry.”

‘Tetris’ Trailer Sees Taron Egerton Centered in Soviet-US Clash

Netflix released the official trailer today for “Tetris,” a scripted feature documenting the making of the titular video game. Based on the adrenaline-pumping true story of game designer Henk Rogers, the film straddles the line between a biopic and a thriller.

Taron Egerton, best known for lead roles in “Rocketman” and the Apple TV+ series “Black Bird,” stars as Henk in the period piece. The film opens in 1988 and follows the entrepreneur on a quest to share his game with the public. In the process, he forms an unlikely partnership in the Soviet Union with an inventor named Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov).

Jon S. Baird directed the film, and “Genius” writer Noah Pink penned the screenplay. Other performers appearing in the project include Toby Jones, Sofya Lebedeva, Ben Miles, Rick Yune, Roger Allam, Oleg Stefan, Anthony Boyle, Togo Igawa and more.

“Tetris” will be available for streaming globally on Apple TV+ March 31. Watch the official trailer below.

Ashley Nicole Black Set to Host ACE Eddies Awards

Writer and comedian Ashley Nicole Black (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”) will host the 73rd Annual ACE Eddie Awards.

The ACE Eddies recognizes outstanding editing in 14 categories of film, television and documentaries.

“All of us at ACE are huge fans of Ashley’s and we’re thrilled to have her as the host of this year’s Eddies. We know she’ll bring her trademark smarts, charisma and joy to the Eddie stage and make the day truly memorable for all in attendance,” stated ACE executive director Jenni McCormick.

As previously announced the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award, recognizing a filmmaker who exemplifies distinguished achievement in the art and business of film, will be presented to Gina Prince-Bythewood, and film editors Lynne Willingham, ACE and Don Zimmerman, ACE will receive Career Achievement Awards for their outstanding contributions to film editing.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Tops Set Decorators Society of America Awards

Everything Everywhere All at Once” led the Set Decorators Society of America (SDSA) with two wins.

SDSA announced their winners online. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” took home the awards for Best Picture and Best Achievement in Decor/Design of a Science Fiction or Feature Film.

There were two ties. In the Best Achievement in Decor/Design of a Musical or Comedy Feature category between “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” (Set Decoration by Anna Lynch-Robinson with Production Design by David Hindle and Christian Huband) and “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (Set Decoration by Letizia Santucci SDSA with Production Design by Kevin Kavanaugh).

Best Achievement in Decor/Design of a Contemporary Feature Film also saw a tie between “Tár” (Set Decoration by Ernestine Hipper SDSA with Production Design by Marco Bittner Rosser) and “Top Gun: Maverick” (Set Decoration by Jan Pascale SDSA with Production Design by Jeremy Hindle).

“Elvis” (Set Decoration by Bev Dunn SDSA with Production Design by Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy) took home the award for Best Achievement in Decor/Design of a Period Feature Film.

NAACP to Honor Fashion Trailblazer Bethann Hardison with Vanguard Award

Fashion model and activist Bethann Hardison is set to receive the Vanguard Award at the 54th NAACP Image Awards Luncheon and Fashion Show. The special event, dubbed “Images: Fashion Moments in Time,” will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23 in Los Angeles.

During the invitation-only luncheon and fashion show, the NAACP will also announce the winners of the Image Awards for the outstanding hairstyling (television or film), outstanding make-up (television or film) and outstanding costume design (television or film) categories.

“As a trailblazer and icon for the modeling industry, the NAACP is excited to honor Bethann Hardison for continuously using her talents to positively influence the world of fashion,” NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson stated. “We commend Bethann for utilizing her platform to consistently champion diversity within the fashion industry.”

With a career spanning more than five decades, Hardison has been a trailblazer in the fashion industry, transitioning from model — one of the first Black models favored by European and New York designers — to creative director and producer, before founding her namesake agency, where she fostered the next generation. After launched the Black Girls Coalition in 1988, Hardison sparked an industry-wide movement for diversity and inclusion with the creations of the Diversity Coalition in 2013. She currently serves on the CFDA’s Board of Directors and as Gucci’s Executive Advisor for Global Equity and Cultural Engagement.

The fashion show, produced by Ainsley Connell Management, will spotlight looks by the Black Design Collective, an accomplished group of fashion industry professionals that promote scholarship, mentorship, and entrepreneurship within emerging generations of Black costume and fashion designers. Featured designers include Kevan Hall, Kutula by Africana, House of Aama, Cross Colors founder Carl Jones, IN EARNEST by Byron Lars, Harbison and Kenneth Nicholson.

The 54th annual NAACP Image Awards telecast airs on Feb. 25. on BET, with winners in the remaining non-televised categories announced virtually Feb. 20-23 on and at an awards dinner on Feb. 24.

‘Fire Island’ Named Best Rom-Com at the Inaugural ‘Meet Cuties’ Awards

Director Andrew Ahn’s “Fire Island” took the highest honor at Meet Cuties, the first-ever awards show from Meet Cute.

Nominated films fell under the scripted, romantic comedy genre and received nods in categories ranging from best lead to best second-chance-romance arc. “Fire Island” received the awards for best rom-com and best enemies-to-lovers arc.

The ceremony took place Feb. 13 live on the Meet Cute YouTube page with hosts Mike Manning and Deanna Giulietti. Pre-recorded acceptance speeches from select filmmakers were also included in the broadcast.

For a full list of winners at the 2023 Meet Cuties awards, read below.

Best Love Interest

Dash (Channing Tatum) – “The Lost City” – WINNER
Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) – “Bros”
Will (Conrad Ricamora) – “Fire Island”
Jake (David Corenswet) – “Look Both Ways”
Griffin (Thomas Mann) – “About Fate”

Best Lead

Natalie (Lili Reinhart) – “Look Both Ways” – WINNER
Bobby (Billy Eichner) – “Bros”
Clare (Talia Ryder) – “Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between”
Georgia (Julia Roberts) – “Ticket to Paradise”
Loretta (Sandra Bullock) – “The Lost City”

Best Chemistry

Asha and Ravi (Pallavi Sharda and Suraj Sharma) – “Wedding Season” – WINNER
Georgia and David (Julia Roberts and George Clooney) – “Ticket to Paradise”
Loretta and Dash (Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum) – “The Lost City”
Walt and Sophie (Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor) – “Moonshot”

Best Kiss

Anne and Frederick (Dakota Johnson and Cosmo Jarvis) – “Persuasion” – WINNER
Auden (Emma Pasarow) and Eli (Belmont Cameli) – “Along for the Ride”
Drea and Russ (Camila Mendes and Rish Shah) – “Do Revenge”
Paige (Rowan Blanchard) and AJ (Auli’i Cravalho) – “Crush”
Walt (Cole Sprouse) and Sophie (Lana Condor) – “Moonshot”

Best BFF

Stella (Ayo Edebiri) – “Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between” – WINNER
June (Deborah S. Craig) – “Meet Cute”
Maggie (Laura Kariuki) – “Along for the Ride”
Noah (Scott Eastwood) – “I Want You Back”

Best Love Declaration

Bobby (Billy Eichner) – “Bros” – WINNER
Charlie (James Scully) – “Fire Island”
Kat (Jennifer Lopez) – “Marry Me”
Peter (Charlie Day) – “I Want You Back”

Best Enemies-to-Lovers

Noah (Joel Kim Booster) and Will (Conrad Ricamora) – “Fire Island” – WINNER
Georgia (Julia Roberts) and David (George Clooney) – “Ticket to Paradise”
Rosaline (Kaitlyn Denver) and Dario (Sean Teale) – “Rosaline”
Walt (Cole Sprouse) and Sophie (Lana Condor) – “Moonshot”

Best Second-Chance-Romance

Billy and Ingrid (Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan) – “Father of the Bride” – WINNER
Georgia and David (Julia Roberts and George Clooney) – “Ticket to Paradise”
Margot (Emma Roberts) and Griffin (Thomas Mann) – “About Fate”
Natalie and Gabe (Lili Reinhart and Danny Ramirez) – “Look Both Ways”

Best Meet Cute

Kat (Jennifer Lopez) and Charlie (Owen Wilson) – “Marry Me – WINNER
Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) and Gede (Maxime Bouttier) – “Ticket to Paradise”
Margot (Emma Roberts) and Griffin (Thomas Mann) – “About Fate”
Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) – “I Want You Back”

Best Rom-Com

“Fire Island” – WINNER
“Look Both Ways”
“Ticket to Paradise”

Santiago Mitre, Lukas Dhont Among Directors Celebrated at Santa Barbara Film Festival

“Argentina 1985’s” director Santiago Mitre spent over two years researching his film on the story of the public prosecutors who took on the country’s brutal dictators. He said his film was able to get the audience thinking about the real-world problems that go on in their own countries.

Mitre joined fellow international film directors on a panel that included Jerzy Skolimowski (“EO”), Lukas Dhont (“Close”), Colm Bairéad (“The Quiet Girl”), Edward Berger (“All Quiet on the Western Front”) and Santiago Mitre (“Argentina, 1985”).

Roger Durling, the festival’s director moderated the panel.

Bairéad explained how he wanted the audience to go back to their childhood through the little girl, and Durling noted the powerful use of silence in Bairéad’s film.

Berger strived for “All Quiet on the Western Front” to remain grounded in German roots and emphasized the importance of language usage. He also brought up the contrasts between war and peace in the film, as demonstrated in the armistice conversations, as well as how he wanted the audience to feel anger and desperation with the main character.

After Durling acknowledged the exquisite imagery in Dhont’s “Close,” Dhont explained how he wanted to challenge notions of masculinity through a young boy and the grieving process. Dhont later addressed that casting the main boys in “Close” was a challenge in creating the film.

Skolimowski explained how his passion for animal rights brought him to “EO” and emphasized the score, which was able to depict the donkey’s inner monologue.

Watch the full video below.

Set Decorators Society of America Announced Return of SDSA Honors

The Set Decorators Society of America (SDSA) announced the annual SDSA Honors will return on April 23, at the Universal Sheraton in Universal City, CA.

The winning honorees will be awarded with the humanitarian, hall of fame, business member of the year and chair awards. Set decorator Mary Ann Biddle, will be awarded the Earl Cooperman lifetime achievement award.

In addition to the aforementioned awards, three scholarships will be awarded in honor of Leslie Frankenheimer, sponsored by Lennie Marvin’s Prop Heaven, Robinson Royce, sponsored by RC Vintage and Marvin March, sponsored by SDSA and IATSE Local 44.

The SDSA Honors will also include the SDSA COC silent art auction that will be accesible both in-person and online. Set For Life, a charity organization that provides homes for children experiencing homelessness and aging out of foster care, will receive the auction donations.

Women in Media Executive Director Tema Staig to Receive Woman of the Year Award

Tema Staig, founder and executive director of Women in Media, will be honored with the Woman of the Year award at the 38th annual celebration. The award is presented by the LA County Board of Supervisors and the Commission for Women. Staig will be a community-at-large awardee in the media and arts category.

Dedicated to creating an equitable world for all, Staig transformed Women In Media into a 501(c)3 organization in 2017 and established the CrewList database. Through her work, Women in Media has transformed women and gender non-conforming people’s career trajectories and helped dispel the notion that there are no women capable of working behind the scenes in the industry.

“The industry can no longer wring its hands and wonder where the women are,” said Staig in a statement. “Through the efforts of the Women In Media team, we’ve made tremendous gains for inclusion behind the scenes in the entertainment business. We are now headed in the right direction to attain my personal goal of 40 – 60% women and gender nonconforming folks in every crew, every department, every show. I am so proud to be part of the solution to remove the glass ceiling that prevents talented, hard working women from being hired for well paid, sustainable career opportunities.”

The ceremony will take place March 13 at 11 a.m. at a luncheon at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles.

DNEG Animation Announces Philippe Denis as Creative Director

Philippe Denis has been promoted to creative director for DNEG Animation, after his role as VFX supervisor, and overseeing animation projects such as “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” “Under The Boardwalk,” and “Trolls.”

Prior to joining DNEG in 2017, Denis spent almost 20 years at DreamWorks Animation, and served as CG supervisor on “Madagascar,” “Over the Hedge” and “Shrek the Third,” as well as the VFX supervisor on “Megamind,” “Mr. Peabody” and” Sherman.” Denis will now oversee the DNEG animation teams on a global scale, in addition to developing the department’s creative direction.

Denis said, “My time working with Tom and the incredibly talented team at DNEG Animation has truly been a career highlight. To have this opportunity to work even more closely with our teams across the world and to play a part in the future direction of our division is incredibly gratifying. As DNEG Animation continues to grow and develop with the support of our clients, I am very proud and excited to be able to help shape the next phase of our journey.”

“I have known and admired Philippe since our days together at DreamWorks, and he is an important and valued member of our creative leadership team here at DNEG Animation,” said Tom Jacomb, DNEG Animation president. “This promotion recognizes Philippe’s immense contributions, but more importantly, it provides a platform from which he can help us to shape the future of our company.”

Disneyland Resort Honors Black History Month, Celebrating ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Black Panther’

Throughout Black History Month, the Disney Parks are honoring and celebrating Black stories, including ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Black Panther,’ through special attractions and experiences at both Disney Parks.

At Disneyland, the live stage production, “Tale of the Lion King,” inspired by the story about the Pride Lands, will run on select days at the Fantasyland Theatre. Guests who stay overnight at the Disneyland hotel will have the opportunity to paint an animation cel, with artwork of Princess Tiana, and then check out souvenirs from Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets in the New Orleans Square. Also at the California parks, Black Panther and the Dora Milaje warriors can be spotted greeting and training recruits at the Avengers Campus in California Adventure park.

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