Celebrating its 20th year, the Sonoma International Film Festival reels in for five days Wednesday, March 29 to Sunday, April 2. Watch for great films, good food, and even some outstanding food films.
The opening night reception will feature food from many local restaurants and 10 wineries. Sonoma Market will provide a food table in the VIP tent and at the Saturday morning Family Film screening at the Sebastiani Theatre.
A documentary called “James Beard: America’s First Foodie” will screen first at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art at 5:30 on Friday, March 31, accompanied by Beard’s “favorite” onion sandwiches recreated by John Toulze of the Girl & the Fig, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Vintage House. (For the record, I’ll be presenting both screenings.) The film features many American food experts including Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Guerneville chef Clark Wolf and Judith Jones, the one editor who saw hope and purpose in Julia Child and published her books for Knopf after several other publishers turned Child down.
“James Beard” will be preceded by the short film, “Caviar Dreams.” At both venues, Tsar Nicolai caviar will be served before each “Caviar” screening.
Film and food fans can go from the museum to the Backlot Tent that night from 7 to 10 p.m. for lots of Taiwan “nightlife” and Taiwanese food and drinks and a lively Night Market scene.
Sunday brings the festival’s closing movie, “Cook Up A Storm” that presents a Cantonese street cook and a French-trained Michelin-starred chef who meet while getting ready for an international culinary competition and discover they have a lot in common.
The new Wine Lounge in the Backlot Tent featuring pours by 30 wineries, with Benziger Family Winery the featured wine for the whole festival. Tito’s vodka, made with corn, will be the exclusive SIFF vodka, and Tito himself – real name Bert Beveridge – will attend the world premiere of “This Side of the Dirt,” a film adapted from a play Tito wrote. For info and passes visit sonomafilmfest.org.