Sports Movies at 2015 Santa Barbara Film Festival

SBIFF-Poster-2015McFarland, USA isn’t the only sports film on offer at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival As usual, the festival returns with a handful of intriguing action sports and outdoor adventure films.

The 2015 slate of films was released last week and a screening schedule with times and locations will follow in the coming days.

It’s the United States premiere of “McFarland, USA,” a Disney film about a high school cross country running team from the predominantly latino farming community in Central California. Leading actor Kevin Costner and director Niki Caro will be in attendance when McFarland is screened as the festival’s closing night showcase on Saturday, February 7 at the Arlington Theatre.

For Santa Barbara locals, the surfing and outdoor adventure titles are big draws.

There are two World Premieres and four U.S. Premieres in this year’s To The Maxxx program, which traditionally includes the surfing and action sports films. This year’s TTM collection is lighter than usual for surfing titles, but instead pushes the limits of human experience with episodes of mountain climbing, snowboarding, skateboarding, running and cycling.

Mountain climbers will be treated with the U.S. Premiere of “Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell.” It’s a Red Bull production so you can expect incredible footage with an athlete pushing the limits of their sport. In this case it’s about mountain climber David Lama and his daring ascent of Cerro Torre in Patagonia.

Surfers can check out “Spirit of Akasha,” directed by Australian Andrew Kidman. It celebrates the concept of “soul surfing” and the positive qualities of the surfing lifestyle.

Overall the Santa Barbara Film Festival will screen 197 films from January 27 through February 7.

Sports Movies at 2015 Santa Barbara Film Festival:


McFarland, USA
Saturday February 7th
8:00pm — Arlington Theatre

—Based on the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell
Directed by Thomas Dirnhofer

Cerro Torre Trailer

Featuring: David Lama, Peter Ortner, Jim Bridwell, Toni Ponholzer, and Markus Pucher
—Set against the backdrop of breathtaking Patagonia, David Lama, climbing’s wunderkind, sets out to climb the infamous south-east face of Cerro Torre, a mountain once said to be the most difficult in the world.

Life in Extremes
Directed by Sascha Köllnreitner
Cast: Guillaume Néry, Halvor Angvik, and Gerhard Gulewicz
—Why would anyone dive under the ocean without oxygen, cycle across America with little sleep, or fly from cliffs wearing a webbed suit? This film shows three extraordinary athletes who do just that.

Fair Chase
Directed by Alex Cullen and Emma Tammi
—Top distance runners from around the world team up to test the evolutionary theory that running was the first human weapon, key to our species survival.

Far From Home
Directed by Galen Knowles
Featuring: Brolin Mawejje, Rob Kingwill, and Travis Rice
—Brolin Mawejje, a native Ugandan who moved to the United States at age 11, wants to make history in the 2018 Winter Olympics as the first snowboarder to represent an African country.

Tim Zom Trailer

Spirit of Akasha
U.S. Premiere
Directed by Andrew Kidman
—Seeks to portray the compelling beauty of surfing and its associated lifestyle. A cinematic fusion influenced by surfing, music and film making.

What the Sea Gives Me
Directed by Pierce Kavanagh

Zombie: The Resurrection of Tim Zom
Directed by Billy Pols
Featuring: Tim Zom
—The intriguing story of Tim Zom (AKA Zombie), who breaks free from a dark, criminal life by falling in love, embracing the streets, and redefining himself as one of Europe’s most distinguished Skateboarders.

Like Air
Directed by Jake Viramontez
Featuring: Kathryn McCormick, Alyssa Gaines, Kayla Sameski, and Montserrat Roberts
—On their journey to a national championship, three high school competitive dancers discover their personal identities through dance and the life it breathes into their souls.