EXCLUSIVE: Oscar and DGA feature directing nominees Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan and Denis Villeneuve now can add another honor to the list: Each is receiving the 2017 Outstanding Directors of the Year Award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The helmers will be celebrated individually for their respective films La La Land, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and Arrival. The individual honors will be followed by a joint conversation among the directors on their craft, their movies and the general state of modern filmmaking. I will be returning to SBIFF this year to moderate the evening, which is set for Tuesday, February 7, at the Arlington Theatre.

“These directors are true visionaries, with a body of work that exemplifies excellence in filmmaking,” SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said. The festival says the Directors of the Year honor is given to directors that push the boundaries of cinema with their innovative approach. They are master storytellers, bringing  their vision to life on the screen.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival opens Wednesday and runs for 11 days with many Oscar-nominated stars and filmmakers headed up north to participate.