SD Film Festival shines with star-powered films, panels, parties


The five-day, red carpet clad, San Diego Film Festival returns to San Diego for its 14th year on Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. The festival boasts over 100 films total, including seven celebrity-driven gala films featuring Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles and Sarah Silverman, just to name a few.

The San Diego Film Festival provides a space for both fresh filmmakers and seasoned cinema vets to present their work, offering a diverse selection for festival-goers.

“Our 2015 film slate has it all, from Hollywood’s most buzzed about award-season contenders to first-time filmmakers looking to make their mark on the festival scene,” said Tonya Mantooth, executive vice president and director of programming for the San Diego film festival, in a press release.

Not only will there be plenty of films to view, there will also be star-studded celebrity panels, an opening night celebration, after parties and the opportunity to get down with Susan Sarandon at the REFRAMED party on Saturday, Oct. 2. See below for more details.

Festival attendees will have two locations to view films from: The Reading Theater in the Gaslamp Quarter downtown and Arclight Cinemas in La Jolla.

The most noteworthy gala films include:

“Go With Me”

This film’s award-winning cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles and Alexander Ludwig. The drama tells the story of an ex-logger who helps a local woman in her hometown and in turn, is harassed by a cop turned crime lord.

Saturday, Oct. 3. 4 p.m. Arclight Cinemas Theater 11


Nat Wolff’s character Ed Wallis turns to his mysterious neighbor Ashby -- played by Mickey Rourke -- when given an assignment to interview someone older. Turns out, Ashby is a retired CIA assassin who is facing a terminal illness. Wallis endures a new, chaotic journey due to the interaction. Emma Roberts and Sarah Silverman play important roles in his life as his classmate and newly single mother.

Thursday, Oct. 1. 7:30 p.m. Reading Theater 9


Luke Wilson and Olivia Wilde come together to present a fever dream of a film, directed by Reed Morano. The two experience a beyond tragic loss and are forced to deal with their personal repercussions and livelihood thereafter. The film also features Elisabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi and Kevin Corrigan.

Friday, Oct. 2. 8 p.m. Reading Theater 15

“He Named Me Malala”

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s fight for education for all girls, daily life and immense struggle to change the world from afar is featured in this up-close documentary. This film is directed by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim.

Friday, Oct. 2. 8 p.m. Arclight Theater 12

“I Smile Back”

A married woman with kids takes the path of self-destruction indulging in drugs, sleeping around and leaving town whenever as she pleases. The film stars Sarah Silverman and Josh Charles.

Friday, Oct. 2. 6:30 p.m. Arc Light Cinemas Theater 4


Jackson lives a real-life nightmare after his wife is kidnapped by notorious bandits. Based in the post-Civil War area, the conflicted, young veteran is forced to engage in the evil of warfare yet again to save the love of his life. The film stars Scott Eastwood, Walton Goggins and Camilla Belle.

Friday, Oct. 2. 7 p.m. Reading Theatre 1


Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino presents “Youth,” a passionate film about the life-long friendship between two friends on the brink of retirement. The endearing film showcasing Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda, proves how our most important life events can occur very late in life.

Saturday Oct. 3. 7:30 p.m. Arclight Theater 4

Some of the night’s star-studded events include:

Variety’s Night with Stars Tribute:

One of San Diego Film Festival’s recurring events features a red-carpet affair to recognize those in the film industry who have made remarkable accomplishments. The “Visionary Filmmaker Award” is given to an outstanding filmmaker -- director, producer and/or screenwriter - who has contributed a body of work that has enhanced the art of visual storytelling and indelibly impacted the industry. The event will start at 7 p.m. Museum of Contemporary Art. 700 Prospect St. La Jolla

San Diego Film Festival REFRAMED Party:

SDFF partners with Reframed Pictures - a Susan Sarandon and Thomas Morgan project - to create a party with purpose. This unique event will benefit the education enterprises of the San Diego Film Festival Foundation. The night will be hosted by Ryan Willard with special appearances by three ping pong personalities. Attendees can enjoy a celebrity grudge match, photo booth, music, live graffiti wall, food trucks and of course, a dance party. The event will start at 9 p.m. Quartyard San Diego. 1102 Market St., downtown

Festival passes are on sale for the general public beginning Sept. 1. Passes allow access to the festival itself as well as the official festival lounges and filmmaker parties.

Day pass: $75; Ticket bundle: $120; Festival pass: $255; Festival VIP pass: $500

For more information on ticket purchase, industry passes, show times or sponsorship possibilities, visit SDFF online at

Arclight Theater 4425 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla. Reading Theater 701 5th Ave., downtown.

Source: DiscoverSD