San Diego Film Festival

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San Diego Film Festival
Location San Diego, California, United States
Language English

The San Diego Film Festival is an independent film festival that takes place annually in San Diego, California and is produced by the non-profit San Diego Film Foundation.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Held in October in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and La Jolla, the festival is a showcase for US and international independent filmmakers, the festival features competitive juried categories including narrative feature films, short films and documentary films and Native American. Additional categories include: sports, music, family friendly, animation and military genres.

The Festival features panel discussions with leaders in the entertainment industry including companies American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Indiegogo, Rogue Arts, FilmEngine, GoDigital, PivotShare, Princebury Media, New School Media and Legend3D.

Notability at Festival[edit]

2016 Jeffrey Lyons hosted with co-host Ben Lyons

2015 Jeffrey Lyons hosted with co-host Ben Lyons.

2014 Jeffrey Lyons is host.[14] [15] Films include Reese Witherspoon's Wild[16]

2013 film critic Jeffrey Lyons, is added as festival host and the honorary jury chairman. Ben Lyons, entertainment reporter, is co-host.

2012 marked the first-ever film festival tribute and retrospective of award-winning director Gus Van Sant's work. Films in the retrospective included: Good Will Hunting, Milk, To Die For, and My Own Private Idaho.[17] Erik Wahl made an art to pay tribute to the director.[18]

Under the Festival's new leadership and capital more talent and a more prominent slate of films were added including the Weinstein Company's "Silver Linings Playbook" (starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro) and "The Sapphires". Also on the film slate were "Quartet" (Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut starring Maggie Smith), "Seven Psychopaths" (directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken), "Grassroots" (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal), and "The Oranges" (featuring Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester and Allison Janney).[19]

Award-winning world premieres at the 2012 festival included The Story of Luke and Red Line.[20]

Changes in 2012 included a new "Native American Voices" category focused on Native American films and filmmakers, the program launched with the feature film Shouting Secrets and documentary film Thick Dark Fog. A Native American Voices filmmaker panel included actors Saginaw Grant and Ruben Chato.

The current festival leadership took over in 2012, Dale Strack, Chairman and CEO; Kevin Leap, President; Tonya Mantooth, Vice President; Patti Judd, Vice President. The Festival was founded in 2001 by Robin Laatz (event planner) and Karl Kozak (indie filmmaker).


2016 Competition and Audience Choice Award Winners

  • Breakthrough Documentary In Utero
  • Best Narrative Feature So B. It
  • Chairman’s Award Citizen Soldier
  • Breakthrough Feature Po
  • Best International Film Julieta
  • Best Documentary Political Animals
  • Kumeyaay Eagle Award Te Ata
  • Best Military Film Railway Spine
  • Best Comedy The Late Bloomer
  • Best Narrative Short Bon Voyage


2015 Competition and Audience Choice Award Winners

  • Best Narrative Feature Diablo
  • Best Documentary India's Daughter
  • Best Foreign Victoria
  • Best Short Sub Rosa
  • Best Animation Soar
  • Best Family Film Operation: Neighborhood Watch!
  • Best Military Film No Greater Love
  • Kumeyaay Award For Blood
  • Chairman’s Award Kidnap Capital


  • Best Feature Moments of Clarity
  • Best Documentary Return To Dak To
  • Best Short Gunfighter
  • Best Gala He Named Me Malala


2014 Competition and Audience Choice Award Winners

  • Best Narrative Feature Where the Road Runs Out
  • Best Documentary Waiting for Mamu director Thomas Morgan
  • Best Foreign Feature Schimbare
  • Best Narrative Short The Bravest and the Boldest
  • Best Animated Film Dam Keeper
  • Kumeyaay Award Sycuan Our People. Our Culture. Our History.
  • U-T San Diego Award Where the Road Runs Out
  • Chairman’s Award Hornet’s Nest


  • Best Studio Feature The Imitation Game
  • Best Feature Cas & Dylan
  • Best Documentary Waiting for Mamu
  • Best Short Sure Thing
  • Best Foreign Noble



  • Best Narrative Feature Autumn Blood director Marcus Blunder
  • Best Documentary Feature Of Kites & Borders director Yolanda Pividal
  • Best International Feature The German Doctor director Lucia Puenzo
  • Best Short Drama Solidarity director Dustin Brown
  • UT San Diego Award - Best Feature Film Winter in the Blood director Alex Smith & Andrew J. Smith
  • Chairman's Award Chez Upshaw director Bruce Mason
  • Audience Award - Best Studio Feature 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen
  • Audience Award - Best Feature Brahmin Bulls director Mahesh Pailoor
  • Audience Award - Best Documentary Lion Ark director Tim Phillips
  • Audience Award - Best Documentary Alekesam director Jason Bergh
  • Visionary Filmmaker Award Judd Apatow
  • Emerging Producer Award Justin Nappi
  • Chris Brinker Award Shaun Kosta, The Republic of Two
  • Humanitarian Award Mariel Hemingway Presented by Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital


  • Best Narrative Feature The Story of Luke director Alonso Mayo
  • Best Documentary Feature A Sister's Call director Kyle Tekiela & Rebecca Schaper
  • Best Comedy Feature 3,2,1... Frankie Go Boom director & writer Jordan Roberts
  • Best Foreign Feature Best Little Whorehouse in Rochdale director Ian Vernon
  • Best Short Drama Cherry Wave director Carey Willams
  • Best Short Comedy The Hiccup director Matt Smukler
  • Best Screenplay Below Zero writer Signe Olynyk
  • UT San Diego Award - Best Feature Film Red Line (2012 film) director Robert Kirbyson
  • Chairman's Award Tony Tango director Manolo Celi
  • Audience Award - Best Studio Feature Silver Linings Playbook
  • Audience Award - Best Feature Shouting Secrets
  • Audience Award - Best Documentary Not Yet Begun To Fight
  • Jury's Award - Best Comedy Crackers short film: writer, director, producer Gregory Principato





  1. ^ Gus Van Sant Tribute and Retrospective at 2012 Festival
  2. ^ Gus Van Sant to be honored
  3. ^ New leadership and direction for Festival
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Gaslamp Quarter location for 2012 Festival
  7. ^ Gus Van Sant to attend Retrospective, Festival expands to La Jolla
  8. ^ "San Diego Film Festival". 
  9. ^ "The Mantooth-Strack Family Works to Produce the San Diego Film Festival". 
  10. ^ Cavassuto, Maria (2016-08-30). "San Diego Film Festival Announces Full 2016 Lineup". Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  11. ^ Holmes, Mannie (2015-09-15). "San Diego Film Festival to Open with Adrien Brody’s ‘Septembers of Shiraz’". Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  12. ^ "Adrien Brody attends opening night of San Diego Film Festival". 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  13. ^ "San Diego Film Fest to honor Hollywood elite at La Jolla tribute event". Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  14. ^ Johns, Nikara (2014-08-06). "Jeffrey Lyons to Host San Diego Film Festival". Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (2014-08-29). "Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Wild’ to Open San Diego Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  17. ^ "Gus Van Sant to Attend Retrospective at San Diego Film Fest (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Gus Van Sant Tribute". CNN. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "San Diego Film Fest expands venues and preems, 'Quartet,' 'Seven Psychopaths' among headliners". Variety. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "THE STORY OF LUKE TAKES TOP PRIZE AT SAN DIEGO FILM FESTIVAL". UT San Diego. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "2012 San Diego Film Festival Announces Awards". KPBS. Retrieved 5 Oct 2012. 
  22. ^ "2012 San Diego Film Festival Announces Awards". Sandiegoville. Retrieved 4 Oct 2012. 

External links[edit]