The San Diego International Film Festival begins Wednesday night with the screening of its first film and an opening night party.

The festival, which runs through Sunday, will include a Thursday night gala honoring actress Annette Bening. The San Diego native, a winner of two Golden Globes and a four-time Oscar nominee, will receive the festival’s Gregory Peck Award for Excellence in Cinema.

Bening is noted for roles in “American Beauty,” “Being Julia,” “The Kids Are Alright,” and “The American President,” among others.

Other awards will go to actress Kate Beckinsale, who had roles in “Love and Friendship” and the sci-fi fantasy “Underworld: Blood Wars,” plus “The Big Bang Theory” cast member Simon Helberg, who made his feature film directorial debut last year with “We’ll Never Have Paris,” and Jason Mitchell, who portrayed “Eazy E” in “Straight Outta Compton.”

The opening night film at Balboa Theatre, “Other People,” follows a struggling comedy writer who returns home to be with his sick mother and feels alienated in the place where he grew up.

A complete schedule, ticket options and list of venues in downtown San Diego and La Jolla is available online at

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.