Award Winning Films Announced Of The 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 18: (L-R) Winners of the Audience Choice Award for '26.2 To Life' Carolyn Mao, Christine Yoo, and Sara Jane Sluke attend the Awards Breakfast during the 38th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at El Encanto on February 18, 2023 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Award Winning Films Announced Of The 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival


(February 18, 2023) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is excited to announce the award-winning films for the 38th edition. Awards were announced at a ceremony this morning hosted by El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, in Santa Barbara with Jury and Filmmakers in attendance.

“This 38th edition of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival drew filmmakers from as far as Turkey, India, Israel, and Sierra Leone, half of whom were women. We were delighted with the enthusiastic reception to our diverse program of 200 films from 43 countries. Cinema is one of the most powerful vehicles for empathy, providing a window of understanding to all who seek to look through it.  We thank the filmmakers in attendance and our avid Santa Barbara audience for so heartily embracing the festival experience. Several films prompted standing ovations and packed theaters, marking 2023 a full-throttled return to celebrating cinema from around the globe” commented SBIFF’s Programming Director Claudia Puig.

The films were chosen by jury members Angie Wang, Antonio Marziale, Christina Birro, Elizabeth Marighetto, Gwen Deglise, Jean Oppenheimer, Jeff Arch, Lela Meadow Conner, Leslie Ekker, Margy Rochlin, Nicole Noren, Perry Lang, Robert Abele, Steven Raphael, Tim Cogshell, and Tim Matheson.

Audience Choice
Sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent

Directed by Christine Yoo


Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema

Directed by Chandler Levack

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film

Directed by Kei Ishikawa

Best Documentary Award

Directed by Kim Hopkins

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema

Directed by Clara Cullen

Best Middle Eastern/Israeli Film Award

Directed by Ehab Tarabieh

Best Nordic Film Award

Directed by Elfar Aðalsteins

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film

Directed by Lena Karbe

ADL Stand Up Award, sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties, the Skinner Social Impact Fund, and Steve & Cindy Lyons

Directed by Colm Bairéad

Best Documentary Short Film Award

Directed by Masako Tsumura, Erik Shirai

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film

Directed by Turan Haste

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film:
*Now eligible for the 2024 Academy Awards

Directed by Heeyoon Hahm


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 37 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.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community throughout many free educational programs and events. 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.