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San Diego International Film Festival returns with red carpet event

Several familiar Hollywood celebrities made their way to La Jolla for the Night of the Stars Tribute.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — In its 21st year, the San Diego International Film Festival returns with the Night of the Stars Tribute. 

Tonya Mantooth, the CEO of the festival called the night a huge success and added that this year’s films focus on topics like social justice, women and LGBTQ rights

“It’s really our way of honoring the celebrities, the actors that come down here and really appreciate their work and that’s what tonight’s about,” said Mantooth.

Andy Garcia, who starred in “The Untouchables” and “The Godfather III”  was awarded the Gregory Peck Award—the highest achievement award at SDIFF.

He expressed his commitment in his long career in Hollywood that's earned him this honor.

The Godfather was the movie that inspired me to try to become an actor and do that kind of work,” said Garcia. 

He also talked about the state of Latino representation in the film industry.

“The opportunities have grown and the diversity has grown for Hispanics and other cultures, but we still haven’t really gotten our share of the stories,” said Garcia. 

There was also Regina Hall, whose recent work includes, “Honk for Jesus save your Soul.”

Hall also received an award for her past and current comedy films, she explained how proud she is of her growth.

“I just love seeing some of my projects mirror some of that growth that has come throughout the years,” said Hall.

The festival line up includes 115 films, one of those the films being introduced is called “Lovely Jackson—a biographical film about a black Cleveland man by the name of Ricky Jackson  who was wrongfully convicted for murder and was exonerated 40 years after.

Ricky’s brother, Larry Jackson was at the event and CBS 8 asked him how it felt reliving the events on the big screen.  

“It took me back to that moment, I was 15-years-old and I just saw the police storm into our house and seeing the film took me back to that moment,” said Larry. 

Each year the San Diego International Film Festival receives more than 3,000 submissions from dozens of countries around the world.  

Right now there are screenings in La Jolla and in Balboa Park starting at $16. Closing night will take place on Sunday.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego International Film Festival to highlight social issues (Oct 11, 2022) 

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