San Diego International Film Festival. Courtesy photo

The San Diego International Film Festival, beginning Thursday, celebrates its 20th anniversary with films starring Oscar winners Olivia Colman and Joaquin Phoenix, and a screening aboard the USS Midway.

The hybrid festival, with in-person and virtual events and screenings, will take place in multiple locations, including the downtown Midway Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts and San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park and the Catamaran Resort on Mission Bay.

The festival runs through Oct. 24.

Last year’s festival fans got a chance to see future Oscar-winner Nomadland before its wide release. This year’s feature highlights include:

  • C’mon C’mon, with Phoenix, screening at 7 p.m. Thursday, on Opening Night at MOPA, ahead of its Nov. 19 release.
  • The Power of the Dog, a period piece starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, at 4 p.m. Friday at MOPA. Oscar-winner Jane Campion directs the film, set for a Nov. 17 release.
  • The Lost Daughter, with Colman, screens at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Catamaran. The film marks actress Maggie Gyllenhaal’s screenwriting and directing debut, based on the novel by Elena Ferrante. It’s due to be released Dec. 17.

In addition, the Midway screening, on Oct. 23, features The Hornet’s Nest, a 2014 documentary about the long U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Patrons also can access more than 150 films On Demand in the festival’s “Virtual Village,” along with Q&As with filmmakers from around the world. 

Tonya Mantooth, the festival’s CEO and artistic director, called the slate “one of the strongest film line-ups in our 20-year history.” She also noted changes in the industry, including more filmmakers who are female and/or people of color, and the increase in movies that examine social topics.

“We are thrilled to provide a platform to showcase that change,” Mantooth said.

The festival received more than 3,000 film submissions representing over 65 countries for the 2021 edition.

Full festival passes start at $159, while virtual passes are $49. Individual screenings cost $16.

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