The Sonoma International Film Festival announces an epic line-up for its 19th year celebration.
For the 4th year in a row SpritzSF is the official marketing and creative agency for Sonoma International film Festival. We cannot wait to see firsthand what they did.
The five day program will take place Wednesday, March 30 to Sunday, April 3.
The Sonoma International Film Festival is by far considered one of the nation’s top film festivals.
SIFF presents over 100 films shown at 6 venues, all within walking distance from Sonoma’s historic plaza — dubbed SIFF VILLAGE — in the heart of California Wine Country and will host nearly 200 filmmakers from around the world.
“Every year we set out to bring unique films with new, provocative and inspiring ideas, accompanied by their filmmakers which add a certain pizzazz to our five-day festival,” said Executive Director Kevin McNeely.
This year SIFF will honor actor and director Meg Ryan with a SONOMA SALUTE AWARD at a Tribute event on Thursday, March 31. Beginning with a special screening of Ryan’s directorial feature film debut, Ithaca.
Meg Ryan’s comedic appeal was widely recognized in her first Golden Globe-nominated performance as Sally Allbright in When Harry Met Sally.
“We are honored to screen Ithaca, Meg’s directorial film debut,” commented McNeely. “She is a critically-acclaimed actress whose films reflect a wide range of dynamic roles that make her a unique talent in the motion picture industry. We are thrilled she will be a part of our 19th festival!”
Opening this year’s festival is Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs, which stars Amy Ryan, Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and Rachel Brosnahan. A few years after a war photographer’s death in a car crash, her husband, Gene (Byrne), and two sons Jonah (Eisenberg) and Conrad, have to reopen old wounds when a retrospective of her work is being held at an art gallery. Just like how a photograph’s meaning can be altered by framing and depth of field, so too can these three men’s memories and feelings offer a unique perspective on their wife or mother. The opening night festivities will take place at the historic Sebastiani Theatre on Wednesday, March 30.
SIFF concludes with The Sense of Wonder, a romantic comedy directed by French director Éric Besnard.
At a glance a few highlights:
1. Opening Night Reception – SIFF will begin the Film Festival libations at the Backlot Tent in the middle of the historic Sonoma Plaza.
Attending filmmakers, festival sponsors and pass holders will be treated to the epicurean delights of the girl & the fig, Café La Haye, the Swiss Hotel, Della Santina, Harvest Moon and Touché Mobile Chefs, as well as bubbles by Gloria Ferrer, still wine from Madrone, Lake Sonoma, Clos Du Bois, Buena Vista Winery, Corner 103 and Petroni Winery.
2. Preceding the opening night film, SIFF will present the Sonoma Salute Award to Producer/Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen, in honor of his dedication and support of the festival.
A Sonoma resident and owner of Kamen Estate Wines, Kamen has been writing screenplays for 35 years and is best known for such films as TAPS, The 5th Element, and the Karate Kid, Transporter & the Taken His next film to be released is Warriors Gate.
Kamen will also give a Screenwriting Master Class on Saturday, April 2, from 11:45 – 12:30 pm, in which he will talk about the mechanics of a screenplay.
3. From Script to Distribution Panel, Saturday, April 2, 10:30-11:30 am – Q & A. (Panel will feature this year’s jurors, listed below).
4. “SIFF VILLAGE”: The Village will add convenient facilities and new levels of fun and engagement to this annual celebration. Located at the eastern lot of Sonoma’s Veterans Hall, just off First Street East, the SIFF Village will consist of a main hospitality tent, known as “The Backlot Tent” and a new, European-style tent called “Le Tigre”, that will serve as a 110- person screening venue during the day, and at night it will be transformed into a magical space for Burlesque and Vaudeville performances.
5. SIFF Village will have a food court and also welcome multiple food trucks as well as the “Feast It Forward” VIP area with their Airstream lounge. Weather permitting, there will be a variety of seating areas sprinkled around the Village. The Backlot Tent main hospitality area will feature a daily happy hour from 3 – 6pm with music, local premium wines and festive cocktails. SIFF Village will serve as a showcase for the Festival’s food and beverage sponsors, allowing Festival goers to enjoy their premium products and flavors.
6. Sonoma Valley High School Student Films, Thursday, March 31 – Sonoma Valley High School Media Arts Program is in its 13th year and the student shorts will be shown Thursday morning at the Sebastiani Theatre. SRO!
7. FAMILY PROGRAM, Saturday, April 2 – The Family Program will start with Everybody is a Star/Alchemia Performers and short videos by director Peter McEvilley. The Feature presentation is Oddball, the true story of how a dog saves an Australian village.
8. Awards Ceremony, Saturday, April 2 (5-6pm) – At the Sebastiani Theatre. During the evening hours, the Backlot Tent will host spirited themed parties inspired in centerpiece festival films:
9. Hemingway & Havana, Thursday, March 31 (8-11pm) – In the spirit of Havana Motor Club and Papa, celebrate the food and music of Cuba. An array of empanadas and tortas cubanas provided by the girl & the fig. Sample a Cohiba cigar, sip on a Don Julio tequila and dance the night away with Freddy Clarke and the Wobbly World.
10. Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves, Friday, April 1 (8-11pm) – Continue the party after Yard Dog Road Shows Get your groove on with the gypsy jazz band Vignes Rooftop Revival, followed by a local DJ. Sample some deliciousness from one of Sonoma’s best caterers.
11. Old Hollywood, Saturday, April 2 (8-11pm) – Celebrate with the juried award winners, following the Awards Ceremony, dance, drink and eat in style. Wear your Hollywood best. Music by recording artist Roberta Donnay and local DJ.
12. Closing Night party, Sunday, April 3 (8-10pm) – It’s a Wrap! One last hoorah after the closing night film, featuring music by the Grateful Bluegrass Boys.
Film Categories & Sidebars:
Over 100 films from around the world will be brought together to form an incredibly unique and diverse festival experience.
This year’s jury members are: David Dinerstein (producer), Mike Repsch (Breaking Glass Pictures), Ariane Rocchi (Magnolia Pictures), Steve Chagollan (Variety) for Features; James Cromwell (actor), Sir Nigel Daly (producer/director), Michael Howell (E.D. Devour Festival/Chef) for Documentaries; Leslie Vanderpool (E/D. Bahamas International Film Festival) and Lucy Walker (Academy Award-nominated director) for Short films..
Films from the following categories will be shown:
- American Indies
- World Cinema
- Environmental/Social Causes
- Food & Wine
- Extreme Sports
- Health & Wellness
- Cinema en Español
- Best American Independent Feature
- Best World Feature
- Best Documentary Feature
- Best Narrative Short
- Best Documentary Short
- The A3 Audience Award of $1,000 for Best Documentary
(named in honor of Amar A. Archbold, a longtime supporter and extraordinary Board member)
- The Stolman Audience Award of $1,000 for the Best American Independent Feature
(named in memory of Caroline and Ed Stolman, founders of the Sonoma International Film Festival)
- SIFF Audience Award Best World Feature of $1,000
The best way to experience the Sonoma International Film Festival and have access to all films is by getting a SIFF pass.