Santa Barbara International Film Festival Adds 15 Movies to Showcase Lineup

Alexander C. Kaufman
The Wrap
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Adds 15 Movies to Showcase Lineup

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival added the Oscar-nominated "A Royal Affair," "How to Survive a Plague and "War Witch" -- along with 12 other films -- to its lineup, the festival announced Monday.

The festival, which begins on Thursday, also will screen the world premieres of South Africa's "Angels in Exile" and Canada's "Retreat," and the domestic premieres of France's "Maddened by His Absence" and India's "Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights."   "We've added some fantastic new films that broaden the scope of the program and embody the international spirit of the festival," Michael Albright, SBIFF's director of programming, said in a statement.

Oscar nominated films added are:   A ROYAL AFFAIR (En kongelig affære), Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic/Germany (Academy Award  nominee) Directed by Nikolaj Arcel This sumptuous historical drama from writer-director Nikolaj Arcel (screenwriter of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) chronicles the scandalous love triangle between a queen, her German doctor, and the mad King of Denmark.   HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, USA Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Directed by David France A vital documentary that traces the history of the AIDS activist coalitions ACT UP and TAG, whose radical initiatives broke crucial new ground in the fight against HIV in the 1980s and 1990s.   WAR WITCH (Rebelle), Canada (Academy Award nominee) Directed by Kim Nguyen In Sub-Saharan Africa, a 14-year-old girl tells her unborn child the story of her life at war. It all started when she was abducted by the rebel army at the age of 12.   World Premieres:   ANGELS IN EXILE, South Africa Directed by Billy Raftery Narrated by Charlize Theron An 8-year journey that challenges viewers to look past the violent and often graphic image of homeless youth and see them for what they are...children.   RETREAT, Canada Directed by David Cherniack A documentary that follows the trials and tribulations of thirty-five Westerners as they go through an intense eight-week meditation retreat in Thailand led by Alan Wallace.   U.S. Premieres:    MADDENED BY HIS ABSENCE (J'enrage de son Absence), France  Directed by Sandrine Bonnaire Deeply affected by the death of his son in a car accident nine years ago, Jacques (William Hurt) struggles to come to terms with his past.    SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS, India  Directed by Suman Ghosh An 80-year-old Kolkata retiree is determined to turn off the streetlights after sunrise, but finding someone to take him seriously proves a battle against indifference and complacency   In addition, the following have been added to the program:   BEIJING FLICKERS, China– West Coast Premiere Directed by Yuan Zhang Dumped, fired, evicted and abandoned by everyone, a down-on-his-luck man finds solace with a circle of equally ill-fated friends, in this touching and lighthearted drama from independent Chinese auteur Zhang Yuan.   BEYOND THE HILLS, Romania/France Directed by Cristian Mungiu A young Romanian woman sets out to retrieve her childhood friend from her "captivity" in a remote Romanian monastery, and soon comes into violent conflict with the archaic strictures of this traditional community.   MUMBAI'S KING, India Directed by Manjeet Singh A young boy comes of age in a Mumbai slum while dealing with his long-suffering mother and violent father, in this gently observational portrait crafted in the tradition of the great neorealist classics.   STEEL, Italy Directed by Stefano Mordini In a working-class town off the coast of Italy just miles from paradise, Anna and Francesca, two teenage girls spend their last summer of innocence before high school.   SOUND CITY, USA – West Coast Premiere Directed by Dave Grohl Musician Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana fronts a mission to resurrect the rapidly vanishing human touch behind the creation of music.   STILL MINE, Canada Directed by Michael McGowan An elderly couple fights against local authorities in rural New Brunswick to build their final home.   STUDENT, Kazakhstan – West Coast Premiere Directed by Darezhan Omirbayev A solitary philosophy student commits a calculated violent crime against the backdrop of Kazakhstan's growing inequality, institutional corruption, and a ruthless underworld in this contemporary adaptation of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment."    THE PUNK SYNDROME, Finland/Norway/Sweden Directed by Jukka Kärkkäinen, J-P Passi Punk music is about being a voluntary outcast. What if the outcasts want acceptance? Turning punk on its head, the mentally challenged members of Pertti Kurikka's Name Day find acceptance in the music they create.

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