by LINDA FRABL | photo by Tony Amat

New Perspectives

volunteer_carlson2When thinking of a notable film festival, Cannes or Sundance usually comes to mind, and not necessarily San Diego. Rancho Santa Fe resident Vicky Carlson hopes to help change that. Utilizing her former experience as the CEO of LEAD San Diego, a nonprofit that informs community leaders on civic issues, Vicky is excited to rebuild and rebrand everyone’s impression of the San Diego International Film Festival (SDIFF).

As the CFO and secretary on the board of the directors with the San Diego Film Foundation, Vicky commented, “Along with my fiduciary responsibilities as a director, I am also an ambassador, connector, and fundraiser, helping to grow the organization and its reach. If done right, the SDIFF could be a game changer for San Diego. It could drive our economy and get international attention as one of the top stops on the way to the Academy Awards.”

Now the SDIFF is considered one of the leading stops on the independent festival circuit, and is the region’s premier film event. This year’s SDIFF takes place Oct. 4 through 8 at both La Jolla UTC and in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego. Highlights include a “culinary cinema” event featuring food from local chefs/restaurants, a “Meet the Filmmakers” panel, a filmmaker’s awards show, and even a VARIETY Night of the Stars Tribute (previous honorees include Annette Bening, Geena Davis, Alan Arkin and Beau Bridges). Vicky added, “This festival is full of fun, excitement, and glamour, and it gets better every year.”


Name: Vicky Carlson
Community: Rancho Santa Fe
Profession: CEO/Business Professional
Hobbies & Interests: Oil painting, hiking, traveling, reading
Favorite Local Spots: Home, local trails, and Rancho Santa Fe Bistro


Even though the glitzy festival is loaded with star-studded grandeur, Vicky is cognizant that it also satisfies a deeper level of meaning and understanding for the attendees. She explained, “The San Diego Film Foundation believes that film can be transformative. We plan to use film to explore issues of social justice, to create dialogue, to encourage self-reflection, and ultimately to develop empathy. Individuals can take in new perspectives and determine how that information might change their own views and actions within their communities.”

In her free time, Vicky loves oil painting, reading, volunteering with the Voices for Children nonprofit, and hiking (she recently completed her fifth Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike). Vicky also adores Rancho Santa Fe, where she’s lived since 2009. She exclaimed, “Coming home feels like a retreat with its miles of beautiful trails, quiet atmosphere, friendly neighbors, and horses right on our property.”