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Tribute to the Stars

26 Oct 2022

written by Cindy Matalucci

It is the 21st Annual, San Diego International Film Festival and we are back in person again!

The festival took place from October 19-23. They put the “Fest” back in Festival with a return of some in-person festival favorites.

50 in person screenings and this year included the return of the Opening Night Film Premiere & Reception, the Night of the Stars Tribute, Culinary Cinema, plus more in-person parties, panels and networking events.

We take you inside the Tribute to the Stars/Night of the Stars Tribute Event.


Tonya Mantooth CEO and Creative Director

This is a night of celebrating and honoring the film industry’s most accomplished actors, directors and filmmakers. Ceo and Creative Director Tonya Mantooth tells us what we can expect at this amazing celebration.


Andy Garcia

Andy Garcia was honored with the Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence.

He has had a stellar career appearing in numerous successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather: Part III, The Untouchables, and When a Man Loves a Woman. More recently, he has starred in Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, The Lost City and the newly released Father of the Bride.

García was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Vincent Mancini in The Godfather Part III.

We spoke with Andy about his defining role, his secret to a successful marriage, what brings him joy, and much more.

It was a “pinch Me” Moment.


Regina Hall

Regina Hall was honored with the Cinema Vanguard Award.

With numerous film and television credits to her name, Hall has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses. This year, Hall had the honor of hosting the 94th Annual Academy Awards alongside Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes.

She recently starred in Honk For Jesus with Sterling K. Brown.

We talk to Regina about her favorite roles, building chemistry with her co-stars, and her passion for giving back. She is a Board Member and Ambassador for The Scleroderma Research Foundation.

She was a delight to chat with! So Funny!


Lisa Ann Walter

Lisa Ann Walter was honored with the Virtuoso Award.

Actress Lisa Ann Walter is one of the stars of Quinta Brunson’s Emmy-nominated ABC workplace comedy, Abbott Elementary, about a group of teachers at an underfunded public school in Philadelphia and is known for playing “Chessy” in The Parent Trap.

Lisa had us cracking up on the red carpet. We talk to her about the impact her show Abbott Elementary is having on the masses, and how people are “serving Chessy, Giving Chessy…”


Lonie Paxton & Andrew Harding

Nocking Point Wines received the Impact Award!

Andrew Harding, founder of Nocking Point Wines and Lonie Paxton, Chief Strategy Officer, former New England Patriot and 3-time Super Bowl Champion have joined forces at Nocking Point Wines, a purpose-driven winery.

They have donated over $2 million to charity since 2013. They pride themselves on using their wines & their platform to make a difference one delicious tasting glass at a time.

We talk to them about their partnership with the Film Festival and how they have joined forces with celebrities, charities, and individuals to make a difference in the world!

Dr. Brooke Parker Bello was honored with the Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Brook Parker-Bello is an author, film-maker, civil rights leader and champion survivor from domestic sex-trafficking. She is the CEO and Founder of More Too Life™, an organization devoted to advancing victims of all forms of human trafficking and sexual violence.

She has spoken alongside presidents, prime ministers, and fellow change-makers at universities, large conferences, and federal agencies. Aside from holding a PhD in Pastoral Clinical Counseling, she was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama and the White House, the Advocate of the Year Award from Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott.

Tony Hale was Awarded the Fairbanks Award

2-time Emmy Award-winning actor, producer and author Tony Hale is best known for his role as Gary Walsh, the downtrodden personal aide to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Selina Meyers on HBO’s Emmy Award-winning political comedy, Veep.


Perry Mattfeld

Mending the Line, the Movie received the Valor Award

The Valor Award is given to a military themed film that conveys the impact of war while unfolding the emotional layers and the human condition of fighting a war.

We talk to Perry Mattfeld who plays Lucy in the movie.


Director Joshua Caldwell, Producer Kelly McKendry, and writer Stephen Camelio


Joshua Caldwell

Female Films:

We loved all the films in the festival that showcased women, being both producer and director! We had a chance to speak with a few of these directors.


Sarah Carter, Director and Producer of In Her Name.

We talk to Sarah about being a woman film maker, the message she wants the audience to take away from the movie, shadow work, and more.

About the Movie:

The film: After decades of radio silence estranged sisters reunite while forced to contend with their egomaniacal formerly-important-artist father’s terminal illness, family bankruptcy, and their mother’s recent suicide. Immersed in the absurdity of the Los Angeles art world they’re able to let go of differences and love again.


Christine Ko and Jung Ryeo-Won

We talk to first time filmmaker Christine Ko about her movie and the experience she had making a film with a mostly female crew!

Feature, International (Foreign) Film, First time Filmmaker, Female Filmmaker

Premiere: North American Premiere

Director(s): Christine Ko
Producer(s): Park Joon-suh
Screenwriter(s): Seo Ja-yeun
Starring: Jung Ryeowon (Diary of a Prosecutor, Castaway on the Moon), Lee Jung-eun (Juvenile Justice, Parasite)

Synopsis: One quiet snowy morning, a car rolls into a small hospital. Out of the car steps two women, one covered in scars, and the other, stabbed. Do-kyung (Jung Ryeo-won) claims that the unconscious, stabbed woman is her sister. Sergeant Kim Hyun-ju (Lee Jeong-eun) begins to investigate what happened to the two women.

It was an amazing night!

Cindy’s Dress by Dress The Population

Photo by Trento Badillo


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