text by digital-media

06 March, 2024

Each year, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) brings filmmakers from all over the world to our little town. For 14 days, you can spot Hollywood professionals walking up and down State Street wearing SBIFF badges as they make their way from independent films to panels, and even to glamorous red carpet award tributes with the year’s most popular Oscar contenders. This year, the KCSB News Team, joined by a few cinephile members of the Executive Committee, brushed shoulders with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Mark Ruffalo, Emma Stone, Charles Melton, and more! Read on to get the inside scoop on this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival. 

Virtuoso’s Award – Yas & Zoha

  • Saturday, February 10th, was the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Virtuosos Awards, during which noteworthy talent — including America Ferrera, Lily Gladstone, Greta Lee, Charles Melton, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Andrew Scott, as well as Danielle Brooks and Coleman Domingo who couldn’t make it — was recognized and representation was discussed. KCSB’s Zoha Malik attended the red carpet alongside Yas Tsipena, speaking with talent including honoree Charles Melton, then covered the ceremony.
  • Listen to the full story here:


International Directors Panel – Marion

  • The International Director’s Panel was attended by almost all of the directors nominated for best International Picture- these included the legendary Wim Wenders for Perfect Days, Jonathan Glazer for Zone of Interest, Ilker Catak for Teacher’s Lounge, and Matteo Garrone for Io Capitano. Wim Wenders spoke about the life affirming and positive message behind his newest film, and the way he wanted to highlight a simple and exemplary life without making the film feel didactic. Additionally, Wenders spoke about the role that musicians like Patti Smith and Nina Simone play in the film- as sources of pure and unfettered joy- as well as the influence of Yasujirō Ozu on this film. Jonathan Glazer spoke about the incredible feat of filming Zone of Interest without having any crew inside the house with the cast- but instead filming through hidden cameras. Glazer also spoke about the role that sound played in this film- while Glazer never shows the horrors of Auschwitz, the audience experiences them through the incredibly gut wrenching sound design. 

Variety Artisans Award – Marion

  • The Variety Awards, an award intended to highlight film industry craftspeople who are exceptional in their field, included honorees such as: Stephane Ceretti (VFX for Guardians of the Galaxy), Billie Eillish and Finneas (songwriters for Barbie), Ludwig Görasnsson (compower for Oppenheimmer), Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer (production designers for Barbie), Kazu Hiro (hair styling and makeup for Maestro), Jennifer Lame (editor for Oppenheimer), Rodrigo Pietro (cinematography for Killers of the Flower Moon), Michael Semanick (sound for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse), and Holly Waddington (costume designer for Poor Things). Once Billie Eillish and Finneas arrived at the Arlington Theater, the line of eager fans- which wrapped around the street corner- went wild. Once inside, the honorees were brought out one by one and were interviewed regarding their roles in the films. 
  • During the panel, the artisans revealed how they implemented their expertise to aid in the creative vision of the film. For example, Ludwig Orenson revealed that the 6 note motif known as “Oppenheimer’s Theme” took months to arrive at, but that eventually he sent a voice note of his musical epiphany to Nolan. Immediately upon hearing the motif, they both knew that they discovered the one because of the theme’s “fragile and vulnerable feeling.” By contrast, Billie Eillish and Finneas shared that they discovered the chords to “What Was I Made For?” almost instantaneously after sitting down at the piano, 24 hours after watching a cut of the film. At the end of the interviews, all of the honorees received their awards and posed on the stage for pictures. 

Mark Ruffalo American Riviera Award – Marion 

This year, Mark Ruffalo was selected as the recipient of the American Riviera Award. This tribute event was attended by Ruffalo himself, with a special appearance by his co-star in Poor Things, Emma Stone. On the carpet, KCSB-FM’s Internal Music Director asked Ruffalo about the role music plays in his creative process. In response to this question, he said that  he “[loves] anything that’s Elliot Smith … he just connects [him] to [his] emotional life, so I could use him for anything.” 

Inside a packed Arlington Theater, the audience cheered as Ruffalo took the stage and conversed with the host about his career. The conversation was intercut with snippets of the performances spanning a decades-long career. Ruffalo’s charm and charisma shone, as well as his humble nature, really shone through throughout the interview- in which he talked about moving his family to upstate New York, the early days of his career, and generous insights about what it was like to prepare for each of his diverse roles (from Avengers to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). At the end of the interview, Emma Stone showed her love and appreciation for her co-star by giving a beautifully warm speech. Ruffalo thanked the audience and ended the night by emphasizing the need for more peace in the current state of our world. 

Directors Award – Brandon & Marion

  • On Tuesday February 15, 2024, SBIFF invited Oscar nominated directors, the legendary Martin Scorsese and upcoming brilliance, Justine Triet to receive the SBIFF 2024 SBIFF Directors of the Year Award. The panel stood as an open space for Scorsese and Triet to share their experiences of youth and the occasions for their creations. Scorsese shared stories about his past as a sick child having to lens the world through his apartment window in Queens, New York’s Elizabeth Street. 

Montecito Awards – Brandon & Zoha

  • On February 15, 2024, actor Jeffrey Wright received the Montecito Award at the 39th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival while representing the film American Fiction. KCSB’s Brandon Yi and Zoha Malik attended the red carpet prior to the ceremony, and spoke with Wright about identity pieces.
  • Listen to the full story, along with Brandon’s interview of Jeffrey Wright, here:

Writer’s Panel – Joyce and Marion


On Tuesday, February 13th, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival hosted its Writers Panel, which featured the seven Oscar-nominated screenwriters behind Poor Things, Maestro, Past Lives, Anatomy of a Fall, May December, the Holdovers, and American Fiction. KCSB’s Joyce Chi and Marion Suchowiecky got to speakwith some of the writers on the red carpet. Listen to our interviews with Celine Song, Arthur Harari, Sammy Burch, and Tony McNamara. 


Posted in News, Blog