Santa Barbara film festival sets lineup; 'McFarland, USA' to close

'McFarland, USA' will close the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present 23 world premieres and 53 U.S. premieres at its 30th annual gathering, including the American debut of the Disney sports drama "McFarland, USA," organizers announced Thursday.

Starring Kevin Costner and directed by Niki Caro ("Whale Rider"), the fact-based "McFarland" tells the story of a new coach at a predominantly Latino high school in a struggling California farm town as he helps forge a championship cross-country team.

The Santa Barbara fest, which runs Jan. 27 to Feb. 7, previously named director Richard Raymond's Iran-set drama "Desert Dancer" as its opening film.

Other festival selections unveiled Thursday were the world premieres of Brad Hall's "Generosity of Eye," Andrea Jublin's "Banana" and Jake Viramontez's "Like Air" and the U.S. premieres of Xu Ang's "12 Citizens," Andrew Napier's "Mad As Hell," Bryn Evans' "Hip Hop-eration" and Cyprien Vial's "Young Tiger."

In addition to screenings, panels and special events, the SBIFF, which has carved out a niche as one of the last stops on the awards season trail before the Oscars, will present tributes to a slew of actors.

They include Jennifer Aniston ("Cake"), Michael Keaton ("Birdman"), Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones ("The Theory of Everything"), Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher"), Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette ("Boyhood"), David Oyelowo ("Selma"), Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl"), and J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash").

The full festival lineup is available on the SBIFF website.

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