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Your Guide to the 2015 San Diego Film Festival

Want to make the most of your experience at the San Diego Film Festival? From not-to-miss special events and insider film picks to attendance tips and the up-to-date festival schedule, here’s everything you need to know before attending the 2015 San Diego Film Festival.

Not-to-Miss Special Events

The San Diego Film Festival is not just about watching movies. Of course there WILL be a lot of viewing happening during the film fest, but some of the best moments happen off the screen and outside of the theater. You may even come face-to-face with a celebrity. Check out the top four events that the San Diego Film Festival team is telling you not to miss.

Opening Night Film & Party

September 30, 2015 at 7p.m., Harrah’s Resort So Cal

Walk the red carpet, grab some bites and beverages, smile for a glam shot, attend an exclusive film screening, mingle with filmmakers and dance the night away to kick off this year’s San Diego Film Festival. The Opening Night film will be September’s of Shiraz, starring Adrien Brody and Salma Hayek. Following the screening, Adrien Brody will be in attendance for the Q&A hosted by film critic Jeffrey Lyons.
Learn More About Opening Night

VARIETY’S Night of the Stars Tribute

October 1, 2015 at 7p.m., The Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla

Want to get up close and personal with celebrities, filmmakers, and industry insiders? Check out the most glamorous red carpet event of the festival as San Diego shows its appreciation for the extraordinary contributions to some of Hollywood’s most accomplished actors and filmmakers. Star Wars’ John Boyega will also be honored at this special event. Dress to impress—you never know who you’ll get to meet.
Learn More About Variety’s Night

Reframed Party

October 2, 2015, Quartyard

A party with a purpose—this night will benefit the educational initiatives of the San Diego Film Foundation. The night will feature a celebrity grudge match, an interactive show, music, a photo booth, food trucks, a live graffiti wall, and a chance to play, dance and win prizes. Learn More About Reframed Party

Culinary Track

October 4, 2015 at 10:30a.m., Arclight Cinemas, Theater 4

A feast for the eyes and palate, Culinary Cinema will pair San Diego’s hottest film festival and celebrated chefs. The menu includes two culinary themed movies—King Georges and Cooking Up a Tribute—and celebrity chefs whipping up savory food with wine tastings inspired by each of the films. Learn More About Culinary Track

Not-to-Miss Films

Over 100 films—a mix of American and International features, short films and documentaries—will be shown at this year’s San Diego Film Festival. This may seem like a lot, but they were the chosen stars after sifting through almost 2,000 film submissions from over 65 countries. How can you possibly choose which to attend when they are all the cream of the crop?

Executive VP of the Festival, Tonya Mantooth, is especially eager to present this year’s lineup. “We are excited to debut this year’s diverse selection of films to our enthusiastic film-loving community,” said Mantooth. “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.”

Of the 100+ on the program Mantooth gives us her favorites:


Youth explores the lifelong bond between Fred and Mick, two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. While Fred has no plans to resume his musical career, Mick is intent on finishing the screenplay for what may be his last important film. Set against a sprawling landscape of unforgettable sights and intoxicating music, Youth asks if our most important and life-changing experiences can come at any time—even late—in life.

*Direct from Cannes, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Jane Fonda

Go With Me

A modern fable set against the rugged backdrop of a Pacific Northwest logging community, Go With Me tells the story of Lillian, a young woman newly returned to her hometown who becomes the subject of harassment by a man named Blackway, an ex-cop turned violent crimelord who operates without impunity in this small community on the edge of the wilderness. Forsaken by the local townspeople, advised by the Sheriff to leave town, Lillian decides instead to take a stand against her sociopathic stalker.

*North American Premiere, with Anthony Hopkins


When new kid in town Ed Wallis is given an assignment to interview an older person, he turns to his mysterious neighbor, Ashby Holt for help. That new connection leads to unexpected journeys for both of them, as Ashby—who turns out to be a retired CIA assassin—deals with a terminal prognosis, and Ed deals with adjusting to life with his newly single mom and developing a relationship with a brainy classmate, Eloise.

*West Coast Premiere with Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff and Sarah Silverman


In the hazy aftermath of an unimaginable loss, married couple Sarah and Phil come unhinged, recklessly ignoring the repercussions. Phil, a NYC cop, starts to lose sight of his morals as Sarah puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations. Meadowland is a visceral exploration of grief and hope.

*West Coast Premiere, starring Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson


Teenager Zach Cooper is upset about moving from a big city to a small town, but finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah’s mysterious dad is in fact R.L. Stine, the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. As Zach starts learning about the strange family next door, he soon discovers that Stine holds a dangerous secret: the creatures that his stories made famous are real.

*Family-friendly film, starring Jack Black

This is Happening

At his father’s request, Phillip Davis is sent to place his grandmother Estelle into a home. What he doesn’t plan for is his younger sister Megan tagging along. A small-time pot dealer, Megan uses the trip as a cover for a five-pound marijuana purchase. When Estelle discovers Phillip’s plot, she takes off for Seattle, unaware that her granddaughter’s drugs are stashed in the trunk of her car. The estranged siblings have no choice but to track Estelle down, reconnecting along the way.

Mantooth also said she’s thrilled to introduce two of the festival tracks: the social justice track and the military track. Both tracks are exciting new initiatives for the Festival that bring awareness to important issues in both local and global communities.

Military Track

The San Diego Film Festival’s Military Film Track features films that focus on reintegration issues, PTSD and Wounded Warriors. Following the screenings, panels of key military personnel will lead discussions. Through the conviction that film changes lives, the Military Track at the festival is the start of a year-round military initiative the San Diego Film Festival has developed. Return to Dak To, West of Redemption, and No Greater Love are all part of the Military Track.

Social Justice Track

The San Diego Film Festival’s Social Justice Initiative is a platform for documentary films to tell transformational stories with lasting social impact. In partnership with Susan Sarandon and Reframed Pictures, this track will feature five new films at the festival that bring awareness to important issues: Storied Streets, He Named Me Malala, Kidnap Capital, India’s Daughter, and Deep Run.

Planning Your Festival Experience

So you’ve got your ticket, your calendar is clear, and you’re excited for the festival—that’s not enough! To make the most out of your Festival experience, make sure you plan ahead.


Are you a VIP member? Don’t forget to take advantage of all of the perks available to you! During the festival, you’ll not only have unlimited access to all films, events, panel discussions, and workshops, you can also enjoy VIP lounges with free food and cocktails. And the best perk may be the complementary valet parking. Check out all of the VIP Pass perks, and get your ticket if you don’t already have one.  VIP Passes


While you may get in without a reservation, it’s definitely not guaranteed. Once you have your ticket, secure your spot at the films you want to see by making a reservation online. This not ensures your seat in the theater, but also helps you plan your festival experience. What if you change your mind? No problem, you can access the site and make changes from your mobile device.


Make sure you know where you need to be for which films. There are two festival villages for viewing films:

A free shuttle will be running between the theaters every 30 minutes, so be sure to leave plenty of time to get to your film on time!

Attending the Screenings and Events

Make sure to arrive to your screenings and events at least 20 min before they’re scheduled to begin—even if you have a reservation. For those with reservations, ticketholders will be admitted to the theatre in this order: Patron Circle, Press, VIP Passholders, Festival Pass and Day Pass holders, and single ticket holders.

If you’re a Passholder and want to attend a screening, but don’t have a reservation, there may be extra seats. Go to the box office when you arrive and ask about the availability of Rush Tickets.


The San Diego Film Festival is proud to present Audience Awards, determined by popular vote from the audience. So don’t forget to cast your vote and turn in your ballot before the end of your screening. Winners will be announced after the festival.

Stay in the Loop

For the most up-to-date event info, festival changes and announcements, follow the San Diego Film Festival on Twitter, @SDFilmFestival. You can also find updates about the Festival on Facebook and Instagram.

Be sure to share your photos and festival enthusiasm on social media with the hashtag #SDFilmFestival.

Still Need a Ticket?

No problem, you have options. There are six types of festival passes, from VIP to day pass and individual event or screening tickets. Festival Producer Stephanie Inscoe recommends that first-time festival goers split the Ticket Bundle with a friend. “This way, you can pick-and-choose five films, attend the parties together, and view the movies with a friend,” Inscoe said. With the ticket bundle, you get 10 tickets to use however you’d like (some limitations apply.) So you could also grab 10 friends and attend just one screening as a group.