The re-imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival (October 15-18) 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.”

Now in its 19th year, the lineup for the the San Diego International Film Festival includes 115 films total, 25 Narrative Competition films, 16 Documentary Competition films, and 75 Short films.


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 LeGanke & 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 Bidhu, 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 (15)

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

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

Public Trust, Dir. David Byars, USA, San Diego Premiere

Roadless, Dir. Steve Jones & Jon Klaczkiewcz, USA, San Diego Premiere

SURVIVING THE SILENCE, Dir. Cindy L. Abel, USA, Southern California Premiere

The Earth is Blue as an Orange, Dir. Iryna Tsilyk, Ukraine, West Coast 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 Mazda 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. Natalie 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

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