OCTOBER 18 – 22, 2023

Slateannouncement2020 2

The Re-Imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival Announces Festival to Feature Virtual Village & Drive-In Movies!

NOMADLAND Opening the San Diego International Film Festival lineup and announcing;
114 Films in Gala, Narrative, Documentary, and Short Selections

SAN DIEGO/LOS ANGELES, CA (September 22, 2020): The re-imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival (October 15-18) produced by the San Diego Film Foundation, announced today that the Film Festival will open with the third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND. Other spotlight features include HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT, DO SOMETHING, BLITHE SPIRIT, FAREWELL AMOR, STARDUST, DRUNK BUS, ONE OF THESE DAYS and HONEYMOOD. Film lovers will enjoy features, documentaries and shorts online in the San Diego International Film Festival Virtual Village and on the big screen at the Festival Drive-In Movies at Westfield UTC. 

A sweeping panoramic portrait of the American nomadic spirit set on the trail of seasonal migratory labor, Chloé Zhao’s (SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME, THE RIDER) NOMADLAND is a road movie for our times, now doubly relevant and resonant in this moment of redefinition and change. We see the grandeur of the American west, from the Badlands of South Dakota to the Nevada desert, to the Pacific Northwest, through the eyes of 61-year old Fern. She is played by Frances McDormand (FARGO, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI) who also brought Zhao on board when she recognized a kindred spirit in the director’s previous film, THE RIDER. Together they create a portrait of a woman who has lost a husband and in fact her whole former life, when the company town where she lived is essentially dissolved. But in her process, she gains strength and a new life. Fern finds her community in the nomad gatherings she attends which include Linda May and Swankie (real life nomads who play themselves), closer companionship with Dave (David Strathairn), and along with others she meets on her journey. But most importantly, as Zhao puts it “, …in nature, as she evolves – in the wilderness, in rocks, trees, stars, a hurricane, this is where she finds her independence.”


Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

According to Tonya Mantooth, CEO/Artistic Director of the San Diego International Film Festival, “Like everyone else, we’ve spent the better part of this year exploring options. We’ve landed on two platforms that will serve us this year as well as for years to come – online film screenings in our Festival Virtual Village and films on the big screen at our Festival Drive-In Movies. Both are COVID appropriate and the combination allows us to present both independent and studio films.” 

“Our 2020 slate has been curated from over 3000 film submissions from 68 countries. The foreign films are particularly strong this year and the documentaries highlight important topics of social impact including civil rights, environmental and animal extinction issues, diversity and inclusion, and much more. And the ever-popular shorts tracks are guaranteed to engage, entertain and delight in so many ways,” added Mantooth.

Now in its 19th year, the San Diego International Film Festival is the region’s premier film festival and one of the leading stops on the film circuit. The Film Festival is proud to screen narrative, documentary and short films, both in and out of competition, vying for top award honors. The lineup below includes 114 films total, 25 Narrative Competition films, 14 Documentary Competition films, and 75 Short films. 

To attend, get an All-Access Pass, Virtual Fest pass or a Virtual Day Pass to receive access to the virtual film screenings and panels during the festival week. The All-Access Pass also gets you access to our new Drive-In movie experience for the whole family.  

For more information regarding passes/tickets, press accreditation, industry passes, or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.sdfilmfest.com

More additions will be added to the program and announced soon.



Narrative Competition (25)

  • 150 Million Magical Sparrows, Dir. Brahmanand S Siingh & Tanvi Jain, India, San Diego Premiere 
  • 9,75, Dir. Uluç Bayraktar, Turkey, North American Premiere
  • Arracht, Dir. Tom Sullivan, Ireland, West Coast Premiere
  • before/during/after, Dir. Stephen Kunken & Jack Lewars, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Blithe Spirit, Dir. Edward Hall, UK, World Premiere
  • Children of the Storm (Racheltjie de Beer), Dir. Matthys Boshoff, South Africa, West Coast Premiere 
  • Drunk Bus, Dir. Brandon LaGanke & John Carlucci, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Eat Wheaties!, Dir. Scott Abramovitch, Canada, West Coast Premiere
  • Farewell Amor, Dir. Ekwa Msangi, USA, So. California Premiere
  • Honeymood, Dir. Talya Lavie, Israel, West Coast Premiere
  • Love Sarah, Dir. Eliza Schroeder, UK, US Premiere
  • Ms. White Light, Dir. Paul Shoulberg, USA, West Coast Premiere 
  • Nomadland, Dir. Chloé Zhao, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • One of These Days, Dir. Bastian Günther, Germany, California Premiere
  • Pig, Dir. Franco Verdoia, Argentina, West Coast Premiere
  • Presumption of Guilt, Dir. Oleg Asadulin, Russia, So. California Premiere
  • S#!%HOUSE, Dir. Cooper Raiff, USA, So. California Premiere
  • Stardust, Dir. Gabriel Range, UK, World Premiere
  • The MisEducation of Bindu, Dir. Prarthana Mohan, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • The Other, Dir. Charlotte Dauphin, France, North American Premiere
  • The Outside Story, Dir. Casmir Nozkowski, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Through the Glass Darkly, Dir. Lauren Fash, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Twiceborn, Dir. Hiroshi Akabane, Japan, United States Premiere
  • Victim(s), Dir. Layla Zhuqing Ji, Malaysia, West Coast Premiere
  • Wine Reflections, Dir. Vitaly Muzychenko, Russia, World Premiere

Documentary Competition (14)

  • Bastards’ Road, Dir. Brian Morrison, USA, San Diego Premiere 
  • Determined, Dir. Keren Perlmutter, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Escape from Extinction, Dir. Matthew R. Brady, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Harry Chapin: When In Doubt, Do Something, Dir. Rick Korn, USA, So. California Premiere
  • Into the Storm [En La Tormenta], Dir. Adam Brown, United Kingdom, San Diego Premiere
  • Let’s Work, Dir. Joey Travolta, USA, World Premiere
  • Making Lemonade: Our COVID-19 Story, Dir. Chris Francis, USA, US Premiere
  • MLK/FBI, Dir. Sam Pollard, USA, US Premiere
  • Public Trust, Dir. David Byars, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • SURVIVING THE SILENCE, Dir. Cindy L. Abel, USA, Southern California Premiere
  • The Last Out, Dir. Sami Khan & Michael Gassert, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • The Mustangs: An American Story, Steven Latham & Conrad Stanley, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • The Rememberer, Dir. Ariel Guntern, Argentina, San Diego Premiere
  • The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte hosts the Tonight Show Dir.Yoruba Richen, USA, California Premiere
  • You Asked for the Facts: Bobby Kennedy at the University of Mississippi, Dir. Mary Blessey, USA, West Coast Premiere


Shorts Tracks Competition  (74)

American Indian Stories:

  • Bad River, Dir. AJ Reid, USA, World Premiere 
  • Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible, Dir. Kristen Lappas & Tom Rinaldi, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Blackwater, Dir. Boise B. Esquerra, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Invasion: The Unist’ot’en’s Fight for Sovereignty, Dir. Michael Toledano & Sam Vinal, Canada, San Diego Premiere
  • Little Chief, Dir. Erica Tremblay, United States, Seneca-Cayuga Nation, San Diego Premier

Animation Filmmaking:

  • Abandoned Block, Dir. James Bourne, Canada/USA, San Diego Premiere 
  • Da Sola, Dir. Morgan Gruer, USA, World Premiere
  • Grab My Hand: Letter to My Dad, Dir. Camrus Johnson &  Pedro Piccinini, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Her Boat, Dir. Yingzhong Hu, Canada, San Diego Premiere
  • Home of my Memories, Dir. Javier Méndez Lafón, Mexico, North American Premiere
  • Let’s Eat, Dir. Dixon Wong, USA, World Premiere
  • Metro6, Dir. Geoff Hecht, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Odd Dog, Dir. Keika Le, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • To: Gerard, Dir. Taylor Meacham, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Umbrella, Dir. Helena Hilario & Mario Pece, Brazil, San Diego Premiere]
  • Windup, Dir. Yibing Jiang, USA/China, San Diego Premiere

Dramatic Fanatics:

  • Feeling Through, Dir. Doug Roland, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Lián, Dir. Darren Teo, Singapore, North American Premiere
  • My War, Dir. Jojo Erholtz, USA, North American Premiere
  • The Present, Dir. Farah Nabulsi, Palestine, San Diego Premiere
  • Soukoon, Dir. Farah Shaer, Lebanon, San Diego Premiere
  • UMAMA, Dir. Talia Smith, USA/South Africa, West Coast Premiere


  • City of Widows, Dir. Lacey Uhlemeyer, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Justice of the Pies, Dir. Michelle Marrion, USA, World Premiere
  • My Father The Mover, Dir. Julia Jansch, USA/South Africa, West Coast Premiere
  • Pant Hoot, Dir. Richard Reens, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Rewilding Honeybees, Dir. Cameron Nielsen, USA, So. California Premiere
  • Todavía Después, Dir. Santiago Maza Stern, Mexico, World Premiere

For Shorts & Giggles:

  • Coffee Shop Names, Dir. Deepak Sethi, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • For your Consideration, Dir. Poppy Gordon, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • JAMS, Dir. Louis Leuci, USA, World Premiere
  • One Last Last Heist, Dir. Darrin Rose, Canada, California Premiere
  • Post Love, Dir. Max Barry, Ireland, California Premiere
  • Swim to Steven, Dir. Amy French, USA, California Premiere
  • The Friggin Best, Dir. Mary Gulino, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • They Won’t Last, Dir. Portlynn Tagavi, USA, San Diego Premiere

Global Consciousness:

  • Gets Good Light, Dir. Alejandra Parody, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Like Turtles, Dir. David Mandell, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Rebel, Dir. Pier-Philippe Chevigny, Canada, San Diego Premiere
  • Seiva Bruta (Under the Heavens), Dir. Gustavo Milan, Brazil, West Coast Premiere 
  • A Syrian Woman, Dir. Louis Sayad DeCaprio & Khawla Al Hammouri, Jordan/USA, San Diego Premiere

Indie Stories:

  • Flip the Switch, Dir. Gretl Claggert, USA, World Premiere
  • Ghosted, Dir. Tracie Laymon, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • How Can I Forget, Dir. Natalia Andreadis, United Kingdom, San Diego Premiere
  • The Last Queen on Earth, Dir. Michael Shumway, USA, West Coast PremiereMy
  • Other Suit Is Human, Dir. Andrew Paul Montague, Ireland/UK, West Coast Premiere
  • Office Song, Dir. Marcus Markou, United Kingdom, San Diego Premiere
  • Pipo & Blind Love, Dir. Hugo Le Gourrierec, France, US Premiere
  • Private View, Dir, Theo Lindquist, USA, West Coast Premiere

On Pins & Needles: 

  • The Fourth Wall, Dir.Kelsey Bollig, France, San Diego Premiere
  • Hammurabi, Dir. Patrick Kennelly, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • The House Abandon, Dir. Clint D’Souza, Canada, North American Premiere
  • Instant Doctor, Dir. Diogo Gameiro & The Youth, Brazil,  North American Premiere
  • Postman, Dir. Minkyu Kang, USA, World Premiere
  • Wolf on a Leash, Dir. Luke McCain & Ryan Knight, USA, World Premiere

San Diego Scene:

  • Alone Together, Dir. Erin Martinez, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Anna, Dir. Rich Underwood, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Dance Until She Died, Dir. Tyler J. French, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • Novena, Dir. Nolan Valerio, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Old Aquatics, Dir. Stephen Mickelsen, USA, West Coast Premiere
  • The Fish in the Forest, Julian Clark and Gage Hingeley, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Under the Tent, Andrew Norbeck, USA, World Premiere
  • Zero Time To Waste – A Family’s Journey Toward Sustainability, Dir. Matt Helbig, USA, World Premiere

Short & Sweet:

  • Chen Chen, Dir. Kargo Chen, China, US Premiere 
  • Homesick, Dir. Koya Kamura, France/Japan, San Diego Premiere
  • Off Beat, Dir. Derin Kiyak, USA, San Diego Premiere
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Dir. Shiyue Xu, China, San Diego Premiere
  • Way Back Home, Dir. Diego Freitas, Brazil, San Diego Premiere

Twisted Humor:

  • All Is Well, Dir. Lauren Adams, USA, California Premiere
  • Gym Patriot, Dir. Slobodan Karajlovic, UK, World Premiere
  • In It Together, Dir. Filip Tellander, Sweden, San Diego Premiere 
  • Kini, Dir.Hernán Olivera, Uruguay, San Diego Premiere
  • Not Today Missy, Dir. Isabelle McNally, USA,  World Premiere
  • Sticker, Dir. Georgi M. Unkovski, Macedonia, West Coast Premiere
  • Waffle, Dir. Carlyn Hudson, USA, San Diego Premiere


About The San Diego International Film Festival:

The San Diego International Film Festival is the region’s premier film event and one of the leading stops on the independent festival circuit. The Festival offers a totally unique film experience; including world premieres, never before seen studio releases and the best in independent filmmaking. We believe cinema is a catalyst for positive change. The festival programming is diverse – however everyone has a genre that speaks to their heart – including us. With a passion for social impact topics, we’ve focused the lens on curated independent films that explore the issues affecting our world including homelessness, prejudice, pollution of the world’s rivers, animal and environmental extinction, sustainability, sex-trafficking, military stories and more.

About the San Diego Film Foundation:
Our mission is to use the experience of film to explore issues of global impact, to create dialog, and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world.  We leverage these important conversations via our partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education and the San Diego Unified School District to use cinematic storytelling to help educate future leaders on key issues affecting our communities and world. Our newest partnership is with UC San Diego Extension to create a Social Impact Film Channel on the UCTV platform that will support the United Nation’s ‘17 Sustainable Development Goals to Transform our World’.  The festival will curate films from around the globe to help further conversations and understanding of these U.N. goals and hopefully inspire action.

A 501c.3. The San Diego Film Foundation brings the finest independent cinematic storytelling from around the world to San Diego each year. We present films that make a difference through a robust variety of events and programs including:

  • The Re-Imagined SD Int’l Film Festival (Virtual and Drive-In October 15-18, 2020)
  • September Drive-in Movie series in partnership with Westfield UTC (Sep 18-26)
  • FOCUS on Impact Film Tour for High School Students
  • Film Insider Screenings