So many film lovers were delighted to hear the news that renowned French film star Isabelle Huppert would join the list of prestigious celebrities being honored at the 32nd Santa Barbara International Festival. Isabelle was born in Paris France, is the mother of three, and has been married to Ronald Chammah since 1982. “She’s one of the greatest actors ever, and her legacy to cinema is unparalleled,” stated SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “Any film that includes Ms. Huppert is without a doubt immediately worth watching. She elevates any work – she’s elevated cinema. It’s overdue to celebrate this giant.”

Dom Perignon Champagne 3rd Year SBIFF Sponsor

Dom Pérignon was delighted to return for a third year as the Official Champagne of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival; a partnership that celebrates exceptional talent, innovation, freedom of expression and the power of creation in the world of film. It seem right that a renowned French Champagne Dom Pérignon celebrated Isabelle Huppert, and all the honorees in their luxurious, custom designed Dom Pérignon Lounge at The Arlington Theater.
Huppert is the most nominated actress for the César Award, with 16 nominations. Huppert was made Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite in 1994 and was promoted to Officier in 2005. She was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1999 and was promoted to Officer in 2009. Among international film’s most prolific actresses, Huppert has worked in Italy, Russia, Central Europe, and on the Asian continent. Her English-language films include: Heaven’s Gate (1980), I Heart Huckabees (2004), The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013), and Louder Than Bombs (2015). In addition to her extensive work in film, Huppert has received international acclaim for her stage career. Starting with her work in A Month in the Country, she has been nominated for six Molière Awards, including for her role in this year’s Phaedra.

Isabelle Huppert Montecito Award Acceptance Speech at the Podium

Legendary actress Isabelle Huppert accepted the Montecito Award with style, grace and brilliance. The acclaimed actress stunned everyone as she arrived in a designer gown of turquoise and peach by Gucci, with the word “Loved” sewn in sparkling white beads on the bodice. The exquisite gown was truly a show stopper on the carpet and on stage.

Although Huppert has starred in over 100 films, it was her performance in Paul Verhoeven’s thriller Elle that enamored audiences and made her the dark-horse of Oscar Awards Season 2017. Critic Anne Thompson did an outstanding job as moderator during a two-hour conversation with Huppert, detailing her career that spans from 1975 Rosebud to 2004 I Heart Huckabees. Her articulate and charming description of working her craft through the years with many great directors was fascinating and educational, and she shared she has no fear of any role: I like to do both. I was never really obsessed with doing dramas over comedies because in comedy you can find drama, and in drama you can find comedy.”

Regarding her latest role in Elle, Huppert noted that she is drawn to roles that give a realistic portrayal of women: “These films show women the way they are, not the way they should be.”

SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling Making Introductions

The evening concluded with a heartfelt speech from presenter William Hurt, who paid homage to his performance with Huppert in 2014’s The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.It’s an honor to deliver this award to an artist of such greatness, who has such strength, endurance, beauty divinity and fearlessness.”
Huppert shared how pleased she was that she had accepted Roger Durling’s invitation to come to accept the Montecito Award, was embraced by William Hurt, and said ” thank you for making me so happy, receiving this award has made me so very happy!”
Past recipients of the SBIFF Montecito Award include Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Bill Condon, and Naomi Watts.
Dom Pérignon
Dom Pierre Pérignon was the procurator of the Abbey of Hautvillers in Champagne from 1668 to 1715. His life’s work was guided by the single aim to create what he named: the “best wine in the world”. Today, each new vintage of Dom Pérignon is inspired by the same quest. For every vintage is a new beginning, a reinvention. Always a vintage wine, the Dom Pérignon commitment to vintages is absolute: Dom Pérignon is made from only the best grapes and is declared only in the most exceptional years, from a single year’s harvest only. Each Vintage has three Plénitudes, and is a true act of creation that is constantly renewed by Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy.
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. SBIFF offers 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums that transforms beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, CA into a rich destination for film lovers which attracts more than 90,000 attendees. SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through free programs like its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars. In recent years SBIFF has expanded its year round presence with regular screenings and Q&As with programs like Cinema Society, The Showcase and its Wave Film Festivals.

About Bonnie Carroll

Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News (, does travel, entertainment and food reporting on local Radio/TV, and contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications. She is a member of IFWTWA and NATJA. Contact her at