EXCLUSIVE: The annual and ever-popular Women’s Panel at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will feature a quintet of newly minted Academy Award nominees among the group of six  who will gather for the event Sunday morning at the Lobero Theatre. Moderated again by Madelyn Hammond, the always-hot panel should be especially pertinent this year as women’s issues in the industry have soared to the forefront of conversation.

Deadline

Participating in this year’s “Creative Forces: Women in the Business” panel will be Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Oscar-nominated director of the Documentary Short Heroin(e); Ru Kuwahata, Oscar-nominated director of Animated Short Negative Space; April Napier, costume designer for Best Picture nominee and Golden Globe-winning Lady Bird; Lucy Sibbick, Oscar-nominated hair and makeup artist for Darkest Hour; Darla K. Anderson, Oscar nominated producer of Animated Feature nominee Coco; and  Tatiana S. Riegel, Oscar-nominated Film Editor of I, Tonya, who received the American Cinema Editors’ ACE Eddie Award for that film over the weekend.

SBIFF has become renowned for producing insightful, intelligent and thoughtful panels that feature some of the brightest minds working in film today, many of whom are Oscar contenders. It has been an especially strong year for women at the Academy Awards, with a record-tying 40 nominated outside of the acting categories — an encouraging sign exemplified by the people on the panel this year. The panelists will touch on their current projects, provide insight into the creative process and share their thoughts on the future of filmmaking.

Santa Barbara Film Festival 2018 Poster
SBIFF

“The SBIFF Women’s Panel will once again bring together some of the most successful working artists from all corners of film production,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “Having risen to the top in their competitive respective fields, these women continue to pave the way in a male-dominated industry and have been successful in their own right.”

The 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival launches tonight and runs through Saturday, February 10. The festival previously honored Judi Dench with its Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film and also will honor Margot Robbie and Allison Janney (I, Tonya) with its Outstanding Performers of the Year Award, Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) with its American Riviera Award, Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) with its Santa Barbara Award, Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) with its Maltin Modern Master Award, Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) with its Cinema Vanguard Award and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Hong Chau (Downsizing), John Boyega (Detroit), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) with the Virtuosos Award. It will also honor all five Oscar nominees for Best Director with its Outstanding Directors of the Year Award.

The festival opens tonight with the world premiere of Emilio Estevez’s the public starring Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater and Taylor Schilling among its all star-cast. The tributes begin Thursday night at the Arlington Theatre with DaFoe’s, which I will be hosting.