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A Conversation with Tonya Mantooth CEO and Artistic Director of the San Diego International Film Festival

We sat down with Tonya Mantooth, CEO and Artistic Director of the San Diego International Film Festival to learn a little more about this year’s festival (October 10-14) and what San Diegans can look forward to seeing!
Q: The San Diego International Film Festival runs for 5 days in October (10-14.) What sort of films can people expect to see?
Tonya: “The 115+ films selected for the San Diego Intl Film Festival are the very best studio films, indie features, documentaries, foreign films and shorts in the world! This year we received over 2,500 submissions from 60+ countries. We are proud to have a track record of screening many films that have gone on to win major awards including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and Call Me By Your Name last year. This year – we are excited to have Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite and Joel Edgerton’s
Boy Erased to highlight our gala presentations. W e also have a number of unique film tracks including Military, LGBTQ, Equestrian, Social Justice and Environmental which allow us to explore and open discussion on some major societal topics. D uring the festival, audi- ences can expect to see never-before seen films, world premieres, and exceptional work from San Diego filmmakers.”

Q: Where exactly does the Festival take place?
Tonya: “Well our Festival Headquarters are located at the Pendry San Diego, downtown- which offers all sorts of wonderful spaces for some of our signature parties – like the Night of the Stars – as well as hosting some of the fascinating film panel discussions. The Pendry San Diego also has plenty of spaces like Fifth and Rose, Nason’s Beer Hall & the Oxford Social Club that provide Festival attendees a sophisticated place to meet and hang out. Our Opening Night Film is showcased at the beautiful and historic Balboa Theatre, and the remaining slate of 115+ films are split between Regal UA Horton Theatre in Horton Plaza and Arclight Cinemas at UTC.”
Q: What are some of the fun events people can expect to enjoy at the festival?
Tonya: “The Night of the Stars Tribute returns on Thursday, October 11th as the premier event during the San Diego International Film Festival. This is a really glamorous evening for San Diegans to enjoy at the Pendry San Diego that includes a celebrity red carpet, cocktail reception and awards show. The Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence is presented by his daughter Cecilia Peck. (San Diego Film Foundation Board Member). The Nemeth Humanitarian Award will also be presented. Rising stars and other creative filmmakers will also be celebrated. Previous honorees who have joined us include: Sir Patrick Stewart, Annette Bening, Adrien Brody, Geena Davis, Kumail Nanjiani, Judd Apatow, Heather Graham and Mariel Hemingway. This year – we are excited to be honoring Alex Wolf, from the Spotlight presentation “Stella’s Last Weekend,” with the Auteur Award and Dominique Fish- back, from the Gala Presentation “The Hate U Give,” with the Rising Star Award. They will both be joining us at the festival. Our proximity to Los Angeles sets us in an ideal location to join forces with celebrities who share our goal of creating empathy through film.”

The Festival Walk of Fame

Friday Night party returns on Friday, October 12th at 9pm on at Horton Plaza Park. That party is a really fun 21+ event and is attended by San Diego International Film Festival filmmakers, celebrities and festival attendees alike! The night is filled with fun festivities, including live music, food trucks, complimentary beverages and interactive experiences that are sure to make you a star! And when you reserve your Festival Passes and tickets to special events – make sure to check out the panels being offered where you can discuss the industry and specific films with experts in the industry. Some of the exciting panels this year include Unstoppable Women, Social Impact, and Critics panels.There are so many fascinating stories and exciting events to share with San Diegan’s during the festival this year. We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone there!”

Click On Link To View Publication: San Diego International Film Festival

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