Santa Barbara Film Fest Lineup: From ‘Barrymore’ to Andy Serkis to ‘Ben Hur’

Festival announces nearly 200 films, plus awards for Melissa McCarthy, Rooney Mara, Shailene Woodley, Demian Bichir and Patton Oswalt

Last Updated: January 5, 2012 @ 9:35 AM

The 27th Santa Barbara Film Festival will showcase nearly 200 films, including more than 50 world or U.S. premieres, along with revival screenings of "A Clockwork Orange" and "Ben Hur" and tributes to Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir and Andy Serkis (below), SBIFF announced on Thursday.

Andy SerkisFilms will include the U.S. premiere of director Ron Fricke's wordless "Samsara," which was shot in more than 20 countries around the world; the first U.S. screening of Christopher Plummer's one-man show "Barrymore," which won raves at the Toronto Film Festival; and the world premiere of "Live at Preservation Hall: A Louisiana Fairytale," a documentary about the collaboration between the alternative band My Morning Jacket and New Orleans' legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

The festival, meanwhile, has a added a slate of six recipients of its Virtuosos Award to its lineup of tributes: actors Demian Bichir, Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy, Patton Oswalt, Andy Serkis and Shailene Woodley will receive the honor on Friday, February 3 at the Arlington Theatre.

Panels will include the festival's traditional lineups of screenwriters, directors, producers and women in film.

"Our program this year reflects invigorating change," said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling in a press release announcing the lineup. “When I joined SBIFF ten years ago, I set out to bring the festival's program and its sidebars to reflect the city of Santa Barbara as a city, and its community. This year we’ve taken that concept even further. We have a fantastic, quirky, all encompassing program.”

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from January 26 through February 5 in the coastal town north of Los Angeles.

The entire lineup is available at the SBIFF website.  Some highlights:

As previously announced, the festival will open with Lawrence Kasdan's "Darling Companion," starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline, and close with Nadine Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now?," the Lebanese Oscar entry and the winner of the audience prize at Toronto. The opening night program will be accompanied by a screening of the new Pixar short "La Luna."

"Samsara" will serve as the festival's Centerpiece Gala.

The newly-announced Virtuosos Award lineup will join a slate of honorees that also includes Viola Davis, Christopher Plummer, Martin Scorsese and "The Artist" stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo.

Field Trip to the Movies:
In a program sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 4,000 fifth and sixth grade students from Santa Barbara County will attend a free screening of "Rango," followed by a Q&A with director Gore Verbinski.

Warner Archives:
The festival will present digitally restored prints of films from the Warner Bros. catalog, including "A Clockwork Orange," "Ben Hur" and "Dangerous Liasons."

Independent Features:
This competition program will include "Sassy Pants," Coley Sohn's comedy with Haley Joel Osment and Anna Gunn; "Vinyl," Sara Sugaman's film about an '80s rock band that goes incognito to make a comeback two decades later; and "Behold the Lamb," a British road movie from director John McIlduff.

International Features:
A slate of 10 features, five of them U.S. premieres, includes "Alois Nebel," the Czech Republic's Oscar entry, as well as "Generation P" from Russia and "Romeo Eleven" from Canada.

Documentary Features:
Another competition section, these 11 films include Stacey Peralta's "Bones Brigade," Stephen L. Jones' surfing-themed doc "El Mar, Mi Alma" and "Golden Slumbers" ("Le Sommeil d'or"), Davy Chou's look at the flourishing Cambodian film industry destroyed by the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

Spanish/Latin America Cinema:
Nine films include the Venezuelan Occar entry, "The Rumble of the Stones," as well as the Cuban musical doc "El Medico: The Cubaton Story" and the Brazilian drama "Found Memories."

Cinema Nouveau:
The French Oscar entry, "Declaration of War," heads a lineup of half a dozen French films.

Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice:
Nine films that deal with social issues make up this competitive category, which includes "Dirty Energy," a documentary about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and "Pink Ribbons, Inc.," Lea Pool's look at the machinery surrounding breast cancer charities.

Short films:
Dozens of shorts are spread out across several different programs; directors include Brad Hall, Brie Larson, David Lowery and Don Hertzfeldt, while Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Henry Winkler, Amy Madigan, Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates are among the cast members .

Non-Competition Films:
Special screenings of "Hugo," "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Puss in Boots," "The Artist" and others highlight a full slate of films tied to special programs and tributes.

The festival will also include Lawrence Kasdan retrospective, five food-themed "Screen Cuisine" films, and special presentations of another 15 films, including  "Dogtooth" director Giorgos Lanthimos' "Alps," Wim Wenders' "Pina," Lasse Hallstrom's "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," Amy Berg's "West of Memphis" and Jon Shenk's documentary "The Island President."