SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 02: A view outside the Arlington Theatre at the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival Opening Night on March 02, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival Returns In-Person March 2 through March 12, 2022


On March 2, 2022, the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG®, returned in-person and opened with the world premiere of The Phantom of the Open. Movie goers watched on as Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse took to the stage to welcome attendees from all over the world to Santa Barbara. The festival’s Executive Director Roger Durling then introduced the film and said, “While tonight is a celebration, we’re at the same time holding a place in our hearts for the people of  Ukraine…Art has the power to bring us together…It’s essential that we started the festival with something positive, a crowd pleaser and something uplifting.” 

The Phantom of the Open, a heartwarming British comedy starring Oscar winners Sally Hawkins and Mark Rylance. The film is based on the true story of Maurice Fitcroft, who entered the 1976 British Open despite never having played a round of golf before. He shot the worst round in Open history and drew the ire of the golfing elite, but he ultimately became a folk hero. More importantly, he showed his family the importance of pursuing your dreams.

This year’s festival will feature a full lineup of films including 48 world premieres and 95 US premieres from 54 countries –  up 59 more films than last year! As a festival with such diverse leadership, and a particularly strong Latino presence, it was of utmost importance to the team to have films from all over the world be represented, including Nordic/Dutch, Eastern European, Middle Eastern/Israeli, and of course, Spanish and Latin American Cinema. 

The funds raised through the festival and affiliated events are vital to the community, providing direct support for SBIFF’s plethora of free programs that serve over 14,000 people annually and reach some of the most vulnerable members of society – including at-risk and underserved youth, low-income families and their children, cancer patients, and transit-dependent senior citizens. SBIFF screens Academy fare in the Arthouse theater throughout the year, even throughout the pandemic, to encourage people to come back to the theater in a safe way. 

Upcoming tributes will include live presentations to Kristen Stewart, Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Aunjanue Ellis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, Caitriona Balfe, Ariana DeBose, Alana Haim, Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Simon Rex, Saniyya Sidney, and many more. The SBIFF will take place on March 2 through March 12, 2022. 200+ films, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. This year’s lineup is available on SBIFF’s mobile app. For additional information or to buy passes, visit

More About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival: 

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 36 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.