Sonoma List: 5 not-to-miss entries in the film festival

Here are five films Index-Tribune staff members are looking forward to seeing at the Sonoma International Film Festival:

The Public

While known mostly for his not-taken-very-seriously acting career, Emilio Estevez is slowly carving out a reputation as a thoughtful director ('Bobby,' 2006; 'The Way,' 2010). The festival screens his latest, 'The Public,' about a Cincinnati librarian (Estevez) who, on one freezing night, finds himself navigating an escalating social crisis when local homeless refuse to leave the warm library confines – leading to a standoff with local riot police. Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater and Jena Malone also star. March 28, 8 p.m.; March 31, 9 a.m. both screenings at Vets 1.

Jason Walsh

Julia Blue

While it doesn't boast a famous cast or epic story line, if you are a sucker for a love story, 'Julia Blue' might be just the ticket. This feature film centers on a photojournalism student who falls in love with an injured soldier while volunteering at a Ukrainian hospital. First-time filmmaker and NYU film school grad Roxy Toporowych won a Fulbright to visit the Ukraine just before the 2014 revolution and came back with the idea to write a contemporary love story with a female heroine. 'Julia Blue' looks like it has a strong plot (gritty rather than sappy) and will provide a peek inside a country that few of us have traveled to. It won Best Feature at the Anchorage Film Festival last year. 'Julia Blue' screens Friday, March 29, at 2:30 p.m. at Andrews Hall and Sunday at 9:15 a.m. at Vintage House.

Lorna Sheridan

Beauty and Ruin

As the City of Detroit crumbled and spiraled into bankruptcy, one of the world's most important collections of art, which just happened to be owned by the City of Detroit, was at risk of being sold to save city workers' pensions. 'Beauty and Ruin' talks to pensioners and others who wanted the art of the Detroit Institute of Art to be sold to cover the costs of those pensions. Founded in 1885 the institute blossomed in the '50s when Detroit was a wealthy city boasting a population of almost 2 million. The beauty of the collection is dramatically juxtaposed with the city's dilapidated houses and other buildings that look like a natural disaster swept through. Documentary writer and director Marc de Guerre's past films include subjects such as John Lennon, Nashville's Christian rock scene, and professional computer gamers in South Korea. Thursday, March 28, 6:30 p.m. at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

Anne Ward Ernst

The Ghost of Peter Sellers

Peter Medak – Hungarian-born director of 'The Ruling Class' and 'Romeo Is Bleeding' – was handed the unenviable task of directing Peter Sellers in a pirate movie in 1973, which turned out to be a disaster. Not only the film itself – 'Ghost in the Noonday Sun' barely saw release on Betamax in 1985 and reviewers were merciless – but the process of working with the brilliant depressive comic was devastating to the director. In 'The Ghost of Peter Sellers,' Medak revisits this shipwreck and attempts to salvage, if not a lost treasure, perhaps the gold coin of letting go. Friday, March 29, 2 p.m. at Vintage House; and Sunday, March 31, 11:45 a.m. at Vets II.

Christian Kallen

Mike Wallace Is Here

Constructed of archival footage from his storied career, this feature-length documentary paints a prismatic portrait of newsman Mike Wallace. Dubbed the 'Terrible Torquemada of the T.V. Inquisition,' Wallace was known for his irascibility. Cantankerous, choleric and abidingly curious, Wallace jousted with countless villains through 50 years on camera: Imperial Wizards of the KKK, mobsters, monopolists and authoritarians, Wallace grilled all takers unapologetically. He was much married, often depressed — even suicidal at one point — but the film focuses mostly on Wallace's professional legacy. The interrogator is interrogated for 94 minutes, and journalism's subsequent de-evolution is made plain. Saturday, March 30, 3:30 p.m., Sebastiani Theatre; Sunday, March 31, 4:30, Vets 1.

Kate Williams

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