The Sonoma Film Festival Is Almost Here, April 2-6

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The Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) has announced the upcoming 17th edition which runs Wednesday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 6th

Considered one of the nation’s top destination film festivals, SIFF presents over 100 films shown at 8 venues, all within walking distance of Sonoma’s historic plaza, in the heart of California Wine Country.  SIFF will host over 200 filmmakers from around the world, featuring the best food and wine from the Valley’s top restaurants and wineries.

Opening night and screening of The Ice Man at Sonoma International Film Festival, April 10 - 14, 2013. Actor Ray Liotta and Director Ariel Vromen speak at the Sebastiani Theatre.

This year, the film festival is offering an exciting new service: FREE executive shuttle from SF to Sonoma over the weekend, compliments of Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation. Here’s the link for info and reservations. 

There are more exciting details, including highlight movies, the Latin Fiesta Party (Friday at 5:30pm) and the poster for the LGBT party (Saturday at 7pm) – all are below. Hope to see you there!

This year, the Sonoma International Film Festival will open with two films:  Dom Hemingway,and Beside Still Waters. 

Don Hemingway is directed by Richard Shepard, and stars Jude Law, Emilia Clarke, Richard E. Grant and Demián Bichir. After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safecracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.  

Beside Still Waters is written and directed by Chris Lowell, an ode to the consoling power of deep, abiding friendships. The film cuts between melancholic wistfulness and the sheer delight of living fully in the moment – drinking, dancing, and scheming with those people who know us best. Writer/producer Mohit Narang will attend. 

SIFF concludes with Belle, directed by Amma Asanté and featuring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Tom Wilkinson and Miranda Richardson.  This beautiful period romantic drama is about a mulatto girl brought up in British aristocracy. 
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 Festival Highlights & Special Events

Complementing its diverse and truly international program of independent cinema, SIFF offers a unique blend of world-class cuisine from local artisans and exceptional wine from Sonoma vintners, making for an epicurean experience few film festivals in the world can match.  Renowned filmmakers, industry leaders and celebrities have enjoyed its intimate ambiance, while many filmmakers who have premiered at SIFF return with future projects.   Following are just a few special highlights the festival has to offer:

Opening Night Reception – Attending filmmakers, festival sponsors and passholders will be treated to the epicurean delights of Saddles, the girl & the fig, Café La Haye, the Swiss Hotel, Della Santina, Centre du Vin, Epicurean Connection and Smoke Open Fire Grill, as well as bubbles by Gloria Ferrer, still wine from Envolve, Muscardini Cellars, Buena Vista Winery and Chateau St. Jean.

Born in Chicago Film & Concert – In 1960, a group of white teenage Chicago musicians traveled to the city’s south-side music clubs to learn the Blues from the original masters. This is their story.  Bob Dylan, BB King, Eric Burdon, Barry Goldberg, Elvin Bishop, Harvey Mandel, Nick Gravenitas and Mike Bloomfield.  Some of these incredible musicians will perform immediately following the film.  Sonoma Veteran’s Hall, tickets $55 film/concert, VIP tickets $100 (meet & greet/preferred reserved seating). Doors open at 7:30, film at 8:00 p.m. and concert at 10 pm.

Sonoma Valley High School Student Films, Thursday, April 3  – A highlight of the festival, where students of the Sonoma Valley High School Media Arts Program present their short films on the big screen.  Under the direction of teacher Peter Hansen, these kids write, shoot and edit films that focus on every aspect of their lives. Not only this is a free event, you will come away understanding that tomorrow’s filmmakers are coming out of this unique educational program.  Sebastiani Theatre, 10:00 am – Noon.

Vintners, Growers & Groovers, Thursday, April 3 – An evening to celebrate Sonoma Valley following screenings of local filmmaker Casey Beck , who directed The Organic Life – farm to table documentary and The Fourth Noble Truth, written and directed by Gary McDonald and starring Harry Hamlin and Kristen Kerr.  A buffet of down-home food including fried chicken & riblettes by Sondra Bernstein of the girl & the fig, and a cookie bar provided by Crisp Bake Shop.  Wines by Chateau St. Jean and a Signature cocktail by Angel’s Envy Bourbon, music by the John Brothers Piano Quartet. 

Latin Fiesta, Friday, April 4 – A festive gathering of Latino community leaders, filmmakers from Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico, patrons and guests celebrate the Valley’s diversity with the rhythms of the Carlos Herrera Band, folkloric dances by the Quetzalen group and flavors by Rancho Viejo, La Casa, Maya & Bay Area Catering paired with Robledo wines at the Backlot Tent.  Following the Fiesta will be screening of the signature Cuban musical Chronic Love/Amor Crónico with Cuban actor/director Jorge Perugorria. This film is part of the Cuban focus on theVamos al Cine program featuring the best of cinema en español.

Children’s Program, Saturday, April 5 – FORTISSIMO, a short about a charming 12-year old who rekindles the spirit and career of a Parisian mime performer. Then, film director and writer Peter McEvilley will present his captivating French short Le Souvetage (French w/English voiceover) featuring the amazingly talented Olate dogs who will be on hand to perform. After what promises to be a lively Q&A with Peter & dogs, a live musical performance by members of “Everybody is a Star” will follow, under the direction of Nicholas Olate. This unique morning extravaganza will entertain young (6+) and old.  Free admission for children/$10 for parents. This show is courtesy of local producer Howard Sapper and Halo, Purely for Pets.

Queens & Cowboys LGBT Party, Saturday, April 5 – Celebration of namesake film focusing on being gay in the world of rodeo.  Wade Earp (descendant of Wyatt Earp) will be part of the celebration. This evening is supported by Out in the Vineyard (promoting positive LGBT lifestyles) and dot429 (gay/lesbian professional network) of San Francisco.  Festival ambiance with spirited music, wines by Stein Family Vineyard, the makers of same Sex Marriage wines…get ready to get down at our hoe down. 

Awards Ceremony, Sunday, April 6 – Announcement of the winners of the Jury and Audience Awards created by Cristaux International. 

Sonoma International Film Festival

 Festival Pass Information

With several pass options available, SIFF can be enjoyed at different levels ranging from Day Passes and Cinema Passes to Cinema Soirée Passes to VIP Patron Passes for the full festival experience. 
More information at

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