The San Diego International Film Festival (SDiFF), running from Wednesday, September 28 to Sunday, October 2, is the region’s premier showcase for outstanding U.S. and international independent filmmaking. The festival will occupy two unique festival villages – one in La Jolla with ArcLight Cinema, Westfield UTC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and one in downtown San Diego, encompassing several theaters and venues in and around the Gaslamp Quarter. Produced by the San Diego Film Foundation, the five-day event will feature 100+ independent films, studio premieres, panels with celebrities and industry insiders, red carpet events, parties, all-star tributes and filmmaker awards.
“The extraordinary films, remarkable talent and diversity of events at this year’s Festival is over-the-top exciting,” said Tonya Mantooth, Executive and Artistic Director of the San Diego International Film Festival. “With over 2,000 submissions from independent filmmakers in more than 65 countries, you can expect to see amazing cinematic storytelling and have opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the best filmmakers and content developers in the world.”
Over 100 of the films submitted will be carefully curated for screenings. This year’s festival will feature studio premiers as well as independent films from all genres. In addition, film tracks aimed at the San Diego Film Foundation’s five initiatives will be offered: social justice issues, the plight of returning military veterans, Native American life, women in film and environmental sustainability. Festival attendees are guaranteed to find films that inspire and entertain from the variety of films offered. Many screenings will also include panel discussions with the filmmakers and actors. Always a highlight of the festival, these Q&A sessions entertain and enlighten attendees through inspired conversation with the industry’s best.
Founded in 2001, the San Diego Film Festival has grown into one of the nation’s top cultural events through its countless opportunities to engage filmmakers, actors, directors and dealmakers from across the industry. Past premieres en route to awards season have included: “12 Years a Slave,” “The German” and “August: Osage County” (2013), “The Imitation Game,” “Whiplash,” “Wild,” “Mr. Turner,” “St. Vincent” (2014) and “Room,” “Youth” and “He Named Me Malala” (2015). Notable honorees of the festival have included Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, Beetlejuice), Adrien Brody (The Pianist), John Boyega (Star Wars), Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Argo), Beau Bridges (Descendants), Judd Apatow (Anchorman, 40 Year Old Virgin), Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds) and Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk).
Festival passes are currently on sale for VIP experiences and for the general public. VIP Annual Membership Passes include VIP screenings and events throughout the year, as well as exclusive treatment during the festival, and are priced at $550 through August 22. Festival passes for five days during the festival are priced at $275 through August 22. One day passes are priced at $75. Individual tickets will go on sale on September 1st. For more information on passes, press accreditation, industry passes, or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.sdiff.com.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm