Ben Kingsley to appear at Sonoma International Film Festival for ‘Jules’ world premiere

The film, starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jane Curtin and Zoe Winters, will open the festival with some of the stars in attendance.|

'Jules,’ starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jane Curtin and Zoe Winters will get its world premiere as the opening night film at the Sonoma International Film Festival on Wednesday, March 22.

Film stars Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Zoe Winters, Jade Quon, along with director Marc Turtletaub, will be in attendance for the opening night film.

The film follows an unusual and unexpected visitor who brings together several people living in a small city in rural Western Pennsylvania in this dramedy.

The festival has hosted several special premiers since it began 25 years ago. Just last year, it showed Paramount Pictures’ “The Lost City” starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and Brad Pitt as an advance screening two days before it released worldwide, and hosted the directors Aaron and Adam Nee at the festival.

But a worldwide premier is still a big get for the March festival since there aren’t many big movies that set their release dates for the beginning of the year.

According to an article by The New Yorker, “For decades, Hollywood’s release strategy has been governed by a simple calculus: summer is for blockbusters, the end of the year is for classy Oscar bait, and the other months are for stuff you fear no one wants to see.”

“Jules” carries big name Kingsley, who’s been in blockbusters such as “Shutter Island,” “Schindler’s List” and ”Iron Man 3.”

“Artistic Director Carl Spence’s deep festival experience and longtime relationships give SIFF access to new films, industry decision makers and talent. Sonoma as a destination festival also provides a welcoming and entertaining experience for filmmakers and industry guests; and festival goers are astute, enthusiastic cinephiles, further providing vital audience feedback,” Ginny Krieger, executive director for SIFF, said in a news release.

"Jules“ will be screened at both the Sebastiani Theater and the Veterans Memorial Building throughout the festival. Get the full details on the festival’s website.

New festival parties

The film festival is as known for its parties as its films, and this year will be no different, with some new events planned this year.

The “GAY-LA Disco Party” invites guests to put on their white suits, satin shirts and platform shoes for this new festival party at the Cogir VIP Lounge. A DJ will spin dance music all night long, and party-goers can do the hustle while enjoying wines, spirits, beers, beverages and food from local purveyors on Thursday, March 23, at 8 p.m.

The “¡Viva España!” party celebrates the culture, films and heritage of Spain. The event will take place on Friday, March 24, at 8 p.m. and features Gloria Ferrer wines, spirits, beers, beverages, music and paella.

The last party of the festival commemorates the 2023 Centerpiece film, Benjamin Millepied’s “Carmen.” The Saturday event, typically the festival’s swankiest party, will celebrate the film and those who made it. Expect unique bites, local wines and live music to round out this March 25 celebration.

Tickets for the festival’s parties are available for individual purchase, but are also included for all Patron and Soiree passholders.

The five-day festival will take place from March 22 to 26 when 105 films representing 29 countries will be screened, including premieres, full-length features, documentaries, short films and student films. Also this week, the festival released it's full lineup of films, which can be found on the website.

Find out more about the festival and ticketing options on SIFF’s website at at

Contact the reporter Rebecca Wolff at

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