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SIFF and the Perils of Pauline

Witnessing the arrival of another Sonoma International Film Festival – at least from the outside looking in – at times reminds us of the Rocky and Bullwinkle parody of the Perils of Pauline, with the fair damsel (SIFF) tied to the railroad tracks by the evil Snidely Whiplash while a train is heard coming, the sound of its whistle looming ever closer.

As outside observers begin to wonder if Dudley Do-Right will come galloping to the rescue, the clock is ticking and a solemn-voiced announcer intones melodramatic warnings about the fate of the damsel in distress.

The train, of course, is the impending arrival of more than 3,000 film festival fans along with 200 filmmakers, the preparation of eight screening venues and the coordination of more than 200 volunteers, all, it sometimes seems, scheduled to convene at the eleventh hour, plus 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

And yet, again and again, the damsel is delivered from disaster and the festival unfolds, the films are successfully screened and those 3,000-plus fans end up having a marvelous good time.


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