Karen Allen returns for 25th Sonoma International Film Festival

The actor-director known for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to speak to Sonoma Valley High film students in March.|

Actress Karen Allen, star of such films as “Animal House,” “Shoot the Moon” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” is making a return trip to Sonoma this spring, as an industry guest at the 25th Sonoma International Film Festival, which runs March 23 to 27.

While in town for the festival, Allen will speak at the first of two screenings with Sonoma Valley High School filmmaking students at this year’s Media Arts Program Student Showcase, a compilation of student short films.

“We welcome festival friend Karen Allen for our 25th celebration,” said Kevin McNeely, SIFF artistic director in a press announcement. “She has enjoyed a long and successful career in film, stage and television, and worked with some of the best directors of our generation. Our students in the Media Arts Program will be able to learn so much from her given her rich career as an actor, director and acting teacher.”

Best known for her role as Marion Ravenswood in Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” a role reprised in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Allen has 65 film and television credits, including roles in iconic films such as John Landis’ “National Lampoon’s Animal House (her first role), Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” John Carpenter’s “Starman,” Richard Donner’s “Scrooged,” Paul Newman’s “The Glass Menagerie” and and Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X.”

In 2019, she was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her role in Tom Quinn’s “Colewell” and the film was nominated for the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. The film screened at SIFF 2019 with Allen in attendance.

Allen’s stage work includes playing Helen Keller in William Gibson’s “Monday After the Miracle” on Broadway, and she is a longtime collaborator on works performed at the Actor’s Studio, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Westport Country Playhouse.

Allen is also an accomplished fiber artist with a line of clothing and accessories (Karen Allen Fiber Arts at In 2010 she received an honorary doctorate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied as a teen before turning her attention to acting. Allen teaches acting at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

"I'm delighted to return to the Sonoma Film Festival for its 25th Anniversary,” said Karen Allen in the press announcement. “I shot a film in Sonoma in 1982 with Alan Parker directing and Diane Keaton and Albert Finney titled "Shoot the Moon" and have been in love with Sonoma ever since. My week at the festival a few years ago was filled with wonderful films, meeting extraordinary people and delicious food and wine.”

There are two screenings of the Media Arts Program Student Showcase, pending capacity limits. The first showcase, for students only, is on Wednesday, March 23 at 9 a.m. at the Sebastiani Theatre, 476 First St. E. The second is on Sunday, March 27 at 3 p.m. at Andrews Hall in the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St., and is free to the public, pending capacity limits. All COVID safety procedures will be followed; including proof of vaccination and mask protocols.

“The students of Sonoma Valley High School's Media Arts program are so excited to have Karen Allen come speak to our aspiring filmmakers and actors,” said teacher Peter Hansen. “Her films are timeless, generational and relatable.”

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