Shining the Light on Celebrity Chefs and Legendary Wine Country Women at the Sonoma International Film Festival  

By Geneva Anderson

(March 21, 2023)

Long known for its culinary and wine films and now, its celebrity chef events, the 26th Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF), March 22-26, finds magic in its combo of film, food, wine, parties and its gorgeous wine country setting.  This year’s edition offers 110 films from 32 countries, one world premiere and eight U.S. premieres.  SIFF has always excelled at bringing audiences great stories, especially dramas that find their resolution in working together in a food, wine, or vineyard setting. Its two celebrity chef dining experiences are luxurious splurges that enliven the whole festival experience: the annual Chefs & Shorts dinner and Joanne Weir’s luncheon.

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All The Beauty and Bloodshed

By C.J. Hirschfield

(March 10, 2023)

The documentary feature All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is actually three movies in one. Directed by 2015 Academy Award winner Laura Poitras (Citizenfour), the film explores the art, life, and political activism of internationally renowned artist Nan Goldin, whose story could not be more compelling. Through her photos, slideshows, interviews and video footage, we get a real sense of what inspired both her art and her activism.

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A House Made of Splinters

By C.J. Hirschfield

(March 8, 2023)

Some feature length documentaries transport you across the world, into space, or under the ocean, exploring fantastic and fascinating environments that you never could have imagined.

The Academy-Award nominee A House Made of Splinters takes place under just one roof, and the drama is no less compelling for it. Inside the walls of an Eastern Ukraine temporary shelter for children, there is compassion, friendship, love, and joy, mixed with fear, pain, and lost childhood.


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All That Breathes

By C.J. Hirschfield

(January 17, 2023)

The Oscar folks recently announced their shortlist of 15 films that will advance in the Documentary Feature Film Category for the upcoming Academy Awards, out of 144 that were eligible. It’s an impressive list that includes excellent features on Russian activist Alexei Navalny, iconic poet/singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, and two fearless volcanologists who made an exciting life together.

And while I think it’s a long shot that a film about two brothers in New Delhi who have devoted their lives to rescuing injured birds will ultimately win, HBO’s All That Breathes deserves a place on the distinguished and competitive lineup for its sensitive portrayal of family, its reverence and respect for the natural world, and its warning about the dangers of religious hatred that divides us. Continue reading