San Diego International Film Festival 2016 has come once again to our fair city and this year there will be more amazing films to be shared.

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Opening Night Premiere begins with the film “Dion” as a young Indian man who was adopted by an Australian couple is determined to fine the family he barely remembers. The film stars Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire,” Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman. After the film is the Opening Night Party held at The Westgate Hotel.

That isn’t the only highly anticipated film that will be showing at the SDIFF. Other films include “Tresspass Against Us” with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson, “Denial” with Rachel Weisz and Andrew Scott, “Julieta” with Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte, “No Pay Nudity” with Gabriel Byrne and Nathan Lane and finally “And Punching the Clown” with Henry Phillips and Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons.

More features include “American Fable,” “Blood Stripe,” “Chronically Metropolitan,” “Dead Raw,” “Fear Inc.,” “Johnny Frank Garret’s Last Words,” “Love is all You Need?,” “Neither Wold Nor God,” “Opening Night,” “Po” and so many more.

From around the world, films have been submitted from the UK with “Chasing Robert Barker,” from Ghana “Children of the Mountain,” and from Hungary “Demimonde.” Also, from Norway “House of Norway,” from Spain “Ma Ma” and “The Cliff.”

The documentaries are filled with amazing storytelling that are filled with complex human and global issues. They include After Spring, Bodyguards: Secrets Lives from the Watchtower, Citizen Soldier, Crossing Bhutan, Epiphany, In Utero, Inn Saei: The Power of Intuition, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise, The Incomparable Rose Hartman and Underfire: The Untold Story of PFC. Tony Vaccaro.

The Shorts Showcase is an opportunity for up and coming filmmakers to present their work. There are categories ranging from Independent Animation with Alike, Borrowed Time, Illegal Move, Linden Tar, Moom and Los Gatos. The category of Crossroads including A Forest, Red, Turnings, and Youth. Curious Voyage looks at Love is a Sting, Loveology, Tiny’s New Home and Wannabe.

Global Consciousness looks at Bon Voyage, Madaran, Mine, Out of the Village and Zaar. Illusion brings Alien Hunter, Everything Will Be Okay, Perchance, The Voice in the Head and You Can Go. Unexpected Endings offers Black Swell, Breakfast with Tiffany, One Good Pitch, Search History, Snake Bite and So Good to See You.

When Worlds Collide gives Cupid, Hush, Partners, Prisoners and The Firefly Girls.

Twisted Humor is one of my favorite categories with An Arms Length, Barry, Mine, The Bathtub and Wifey Redux.

There is also a Military category Heart of a Soldier that offers a look into the stories of those affected by their military experience. Shorts include American Girl, Places Like This, The Flying Greek and The Sand Box.

The Social Justice Film Track and Social Impact Panel bring a big spotlight to issues that filmmakers have the opportunity to bring to viewers. Partnering with Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, filmmaker Thomas Morgan and Kweku Mandela, these panels bring insight from the filmmakers with in depth conversation. Also the Industry Panels include Actors Panel moderated by Ben Lyons, Meet the Critics hosted by Film Critics Jeffrey Lyons and Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz.

Director Ted Melfi returns to the San Diego Film Festival to talk about his upcoming film “Hidden Figures” with a panel discussion of how the film came to life. “Hidden Figures” is the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) – three African-American women working at NASA as the brains behind the launching of astronauts into space.

More of the Special Events include theHub that will have live music, art, entertainment, food trucks, complimentary beverages and games in the beer garden. It is a fun night of festivities and the Festival’s cultural addition at Horton Plaza Park.

The Night of Stars is Thursday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that honors those who imagination, passion and vision that influence cinematic excellence. This year Annette Bening is receiving the Gregory Peck Centennial Award, Kate Beckinsale will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award and Simon Helberg receives the Auteur Award. Jason Mitchell will receive the Rising Star Award and the Chris Brinker Award Honoree is announced the night of the Tribute.

On Saturday, October 1st, at The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, filmmakers will come together to discover who will receive the Jury Awards for the competition films with the Filmmaker Awards.

Also, at ArcLight La Jolla on Sunday, October 2, Culinary Cinema Film & Fork brings food and film together. Esteemed San Diego Chef create food and wine tastings inspired by the film being shown. “Ants on a Shrimp” is one of the films to be tasted along with the culinary film “Chefs.”

It is important to know as well that the SDIFF brings education through storytelling with FOCUS. This is a year-round education initiative working to enhance academic engagement with dynamic film screenings, collaborative workshops, in-school artist residencies and teacher training. FOCUS takes a holistic approach to learning emphasizing creativity, critical thinking and social interaction in the four core programs of Career, Creation, Artistry and Teaching. FOCUS brings the power of storytelling through film to San Diego Students!

It is amazing that the San Diego International Film Festival brings so much in the way of film and with so many categories. That means there is something for everyone! Between Downtown San Diego and ArcLight La Jolla, film lovers will have so many choices and can’t go wrong with any of them.

To see a complete list of films, features, documentaries, shorts and panels please visit www.sdfilmfest.com. While there, check out the schedule and ticket availability for each show. The site also gives you the opportunity to purchase and print your tickets!

Come join me as I moderate panels and the amazing filmmakers for what will be a thrilling and informative five-day film adventure at the San Diego International Film Festival in Downtown San Diego!

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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.