There’s no question about film festivals being a great platform for filmmakers to showcase their hard-earned lives and many filmmakers have something to say. Whether it is a documentary on a young boy turned saint in Indonesia, or a fun short about pyramid schemes, film festivals are the place to make a statement and try and change the world a little. This year the San Diego Film Festival is partnering with Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon and filmmaker Thomas Morgan (WAITING FOR MAMU) of Reframed Pictures to form the Social Justice Initiative. The SJI is highlighting “documentary films to tell transformational stories with lasting social impact, with the goal of shining light on socially relevant causes, people and issues,” according to their recent press release. Sarandon, Morgan, and the Vice President of the San Diego Film Festival (SDIFF) Patti Judd will be curating the festival with hopes of enlightening and bringing awareness to those stories. Amazing entrepreneurs and magazine outlets, such as Variety and Stella Artois, which offer citywide discounts to all who attend, also proudly sponsor the festival.
The Festival experience begins September 30 and extends for a week. For five days, the festival offers screenings, discussion panels, and industry parties that are bound to create connections and lasting impressions. This year festival is screening an array of films with wellknown actors we love. Among those are the films; Diablo starring Scott Eastwood (GRAND TURINO) and Walton Goggins (DJANGO UNCHAINED); Sex, Death and Bowling with Adrian Grenier (ENTOURAGE) and Selma Blair; West of Redemption starring Billy Zane (TITANIC); India’s Daughter directed by Leslee Udwin and starring Badri and Asha Singh; and Go With Me starring Julia Stiles, Alexander Ludwig, and Anthony Hopkins. All these films have flowing stories with undeniable talent. The San Diego Film Festival is known for bringing together artists, film aficionados, celebrities, and scene-stealers from all over the globe. Through the festival, San Diego is truly finding its indie heartbeat and creating new frontiers among the film and art worlds.
Jeffrey and Ben Lyons, two noted film critics, will moderate the Social Justice Documentary Panel and scheduled a workshop on October 2. Out of the many filmmakers, a few internationally renowned filmmakers will appear on the panel: Kweku Mandela of Out of Africa Films; Jack Henry Robbins (STORIED STREETS); director Leslee Udwin (INDIA’S DAUGHTER); Dawn Porter (GIDEON’S ARMY, 2014 Independent Spirit Award Winner); and Thomas Morgan (WAITING FOR MAMU). Susan Sarandon is delighted “to expand its involvement in bringing awareness to worldwide social issues through this partnership with the SDIFF.” She says, “We have much to look forward to.”
In 2014, the SDFF premiered films such as Reese Witherspoon’s Wild, and the Oscar winning movie The Imitation Game. With more and more indie film buzz growing each year, this festival is guaranteed to inspire and bring new films into the San Diego limelight.
Along with the five-day festival premiers, SDFF also holds a VIP Screening Series year-round. The most recent screening was this past July featured the film The End of the Tour with a special appearance by the film’s star, Jason Segel. San Diego is creating a space and awareness to screen and feature career changing films such as these. With nothing but love and appreciation for the art of filmmaking, San Diego can proudly boast that they are one of the best independent films festivals in the country.
The SDIFF is produced by the San Diego Film Foundation, an educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their mission is to “support the art of independent filmmaking through producing an annual film festival, developing stimulating film-related events throughout the year, supporting and nurturing student filmmaking programs in local schools, supporting the development of the local filmmaking industry, and enhancing the economic growth of San Diego.”
The festival passes vary from VIP to day passes, which grant the attendees access to industry panels, film screenings, filmmaker awards ceremony, celebrity tribute program, VIP lounges, parties, and pass holder perks at surrounding businesses. With such an array of programs and films, the festival is guaranteed to be a positive investment and soul nourishing experience for all who wish to attend.
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