Sonoma International Film Festival announces 2024 award winners

The 27th annual Sonoma International Film Festival reached a new milestone in attendance this year.|

The 27th annual Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) reached a new milestone in attendance for this year’s five-day event, which took place March 20 to 24. The festival featured 107 films including shorts and features.

SIFF announced the 2024 Grand Jury and Audience Awarded Films as the festival came to a close on Sunday.

The Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature was awarded to “Goodbye Julia,” directed by Mohamed Kordofani. The Stolman Audience Award for Best feature went to “The Teacher Who Promised The Sea,” directed by Patricia Font.

The Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature was awarded to “Invisible Nation,” directed by Vanessa Hope. The A3 Audience Award for Best Documentary was given to “Call Me Dancer,” directed by Leslie Shampaine and Pip Gilmour.

The Grand Jury Award for Best Live Action Short Film went to “ILY, Bye,” directed by Taylor James. The Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Short Film was awarded to “A Part of You / Made Me Whole Again,” directed by Destyn Fuller-Hope and Andrew Wonder.

The Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short Film went to “Bug Diner,” directed by Phoebe Jane Hart, and the McNeely Audience Award for Best Short Film was awarded to “Save the Cat,” directed by Jordan Matthew Horowitz.

Golden Globe winning actor Beau Bridges received a SIFF Lifetime Achievement award and chef Susan Feniger was awarded the SIFF Culinary Excellence Award during a special dinner and film screening of documentary “Susan Feniger. Forked,” directed by Liz Lachman.

Festivalgoers enjoyed food, wine and dancing at SIFF special events hosted at Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery, HopMonk Tavern Sonoma, The Lodge at Sonoma and Buena Vista Winery.

The festival included world, U.S. and Bay Area premieres of films as well as multiple award-winning and critically acclaimed films. Twenty-five countries were represented in this year’s lineup of 43 narrative features, 16 documentary features, and 49 short films.

The McNeely Audience Award winner, “Save the Cat,” told the true story of a Ukrainian family that was forced to flee the country and relocated to Sonoma County. Following their relocation, reuniting their daughter with her beloved cat required a heroic community effort by a group of strangers.

Christine Weiss Lurie, the producer of the opening night film, “Widow Clicquot,” and Tilar Mazzeo, the author of the book that inspired the film, attended the screening.

Weiss, addressing the audience of the sold-out screening opening night at Sebastiani Theatre, said it was exciting to be there for the festival’s 27th year.

“It’s an honor to have our premiere among this wine-loving and grape-growing community,” Weiss said.

The producer was pleased to see Madame Clicquot’s story come full circle as author Mazzeo wrote the nonfiction book while living in Wine Country.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Molloy at emma.molloy@sonomanews.com.

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