Sonoma International Film Festival Brings Star Power to Sonoma Wine Country

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Mary Louise Parker and Demián Bichir

The 16th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) presented a sensational lineup from start to finish with more than 100 films and 7 premiers screened at 8 venues, not to mention A-list star power.

Amongst the films, parties and unforgettable food and wine that the 5-day event is known for, the SIFF honred Golden Globe-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker with the Sonoma Spotlight Award, joining honoree Demián Bichir at a Tribute event which took place on Saturday, April 13.  They dished with moderators Elliot Kotek and Claudia Mendoza-Carruth on each of their bodies of work, as well as their time spent together on the seriesWeeds. The two stars joined Ray Liotta and dozens of filmmakers at this year’s intimate celebration on Sonoma’s Historic Plaza.

A relaxed sophistication was the mood that captured the festival, which opened with the film, The Iceman, directed by Ariel Vromen and starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans and James Franco. Director Ariel Vromen and cast member Ray Liotta were in attendance and participated in a Q&A for the packed house at the Sebastiani Theatre on Wednesday April 10.  The two extended their stay in Sonoma in order to participate in the Sonoma Valley High School Media Arts Program where they answered questions from over 300 local aspiring filmmakers, as well as to attend a dinner that evening by presenting sponsor Netflix DVD.

Festival attendees were treated to a packed weekend, with daily wine tastings in the Backlot Tent, a Latin Fiesta with Mexican food by Rancho Viejo and music by the Carlos Herrera Band, a special beer dinner and film tour from premiere sponsor New Belgium, as well as an LGBT Secret Disco Party and Festival Gala, complete with music from local U2 cover band Unforgettable Fire.

To close the festival, attendees partied on into the night following the Closing Night screening of A Monkey on My Shoulder (Á Coeur ouvert) directed by Marion Laine and starring Juliette Binoche and Edgar Ramirez.

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