Santa Barbara Film Fest Honors 'Birdcatcher's Son' With Audience Choice Award

'The Birdcatcher's Son' - SBIFF Winner - H - 2020
Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Elsewhere, the prize for best international feature film went to Fatos Berisha's 'The Flying Circus.'

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, dedicated to showcasing independent and international cinema, on Saturday revealed its winning films for the 35th iteration of the fest during a breakfast at the Belmond El Encanto resort.

Chosen by a jury of filmmakers and critics, the films received honors in categories including best social justice film and best Nordic film, in addition to recognizing the most outstanding live-action, short and animated projects. 

Richard Hobert's The Birdcatcher's Son won the festival's top prize, the Audience Choice Award, while Fatos Berisha's The Flying Circus was presented the Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for best international feature film. In addition, the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema went to William Nicholson's Hope Gap. 

"It’s been a wonderful 35 years celebrating international cinema as well as our local roots," SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said in a statement. "We are grateful for all of the staff, volunteers, audiences and filmmakers that were able to join us at SBIFF to come together as a community to celebrate over 200 films — forge a sense of community and love that defies boundary."

Meanwhile, South Korean filmmaker Boon Jong Ho was feted as director of the year for his dramedy Parasite.

Looking ahead, the 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival is set to run Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2021, and will feature over 200 films and numerous world and U.S. premieres. 

A full list of 2020 winners follows.

Audience Choice Award sponsored by the Santa Barbara Independent
Richard Hobert's The Birdcatcher's Son (Fågelfångarens son)

Best Documentary Short Film Award
Henry Roosevelt’s Sixth of June

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live-Action Short Film
Jianna Maarten’s Sin Cielo

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film
Jonathan Langager’s Cosmic Fling

Best Documentary Award sponsored by SEE International
Brian Morrison’s Bastards’ Road

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film
Fatos Berisha’s The Flying Circus (Cirku Fluturues)

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema
William Nicholson’s Hope Gap

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema
Gerardo Herrero’s The Goya Murders

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film
Jesper W. Nielsen’s The Exception (Undtagelsen)

ADL Stand Up Award sponsored by ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties
Lydia Dean Pilcher's Liberté: A Call to Spy

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film
Katherin Hervey’s The Prison Within