Film Festival features 90 independent films
Susan Sarandon will be only the second person honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sonoma International Film Festival
The wine red colored carpet is prepped, the searchlights have been polished and the town is primed for the Hollywood invasion. The 14th annual Sonoma International Film Festival consumes the Valley April 6 to 10, bringing a long weekend of unique independent films, parties that overflow with food and wine and a celebrity laced tribute to screen siren Susan Sarandon.
“The festival’s programming will be filled with surprises,” said Program Director Cevin Cathell. “The documentary category is so strong this year, we have moved the doc screenings to the larger capacity Community Center.”
From the moment she captured America’s attention in the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Sarandon proved she had star power. Her career became as fiery as her signature red hair, commanding interesting character roles in films such as “The Witches of Eastwick,” “Thelma and Louise” and “Dead Man Walking.” For her illustrious career, including one Oscar win and four nominations, Sarandon will be honored with the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, April 9.
When it comes to the films, it will be a smorgasbord. The festival received more than 600 submissions from 14 countries as well as pulling films from some of the top festivals around the world, including the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, for a menu of around 90 short and feature length films. The films are shown at venues all around the Plaza, ranging from the historic Sebastiani Theatre to art films shown at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.
This year is all about the documentaries, which range in topics from “Deeper,” about snowboarders who travel the glove searching for the highest and most remote peaks to ride; to “Death By Medicine,” a dark look into America’s pharmaceutical companies. The films are created by first timers and seasoned directors, of which 200 are expected to attend. One of those filmmakers will be Juanita Wilson, named one of Variety magazine’s Top Director to Watch in 2011, who’s film “As If I Am Not There” takes a critical look at the war in Bosnia of the 1990s. Actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, presents her first film as a writer and director – the documentary “Miss Representation” about how the objectification holds women back professionally and politically, which features interviews with the likes of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Condoleezza Rice and Katie Couric.
In between screenings, the festival includes lavish, wine soaked parties with a taste of the best Sonoma has to offer. Festival passes range in price, offering entrance to everything from a single film to an all access pass. For all the details, point your browser to www.sonomafilmfest.org.