A Truly Festive Festival: Days of Wine, Roses, and Films at the Twentieth Sonoma International Film Festival


By Meredith Brody

Sometimes when I’m at a film festival, I forget to enjoy myself. I’m so focused on seeing as many movies as I can that entire days will be spent entirely in the dark, fueled only by caffeine and hand-held snacks.


Happily, I’ve realized that there are better ways to experience a festival, and the Sonoma International Film Festival was a big part of my education. Sonoma, of course, is home to many of California’s best wineries, and I still remember the time I was offered a glass of wine at one of my first Festival screenings – before they even asked me for my ticket!

The Festival is set in a number of venues around Sonoma’s beautiful and historic park and town square, itself ringed with intriguing restaurants and shops. A walk from one venue to another not only exposes you to numerous temptations of consumption, but also beautiful plantings and lush gardens. Years ago a friend of mine referred to New York as “the City of Bad Smells;” every year I think of Sonoma as the City of Good Smells. Sonoma’s relaxed charms never fail to induce a feeling of dolce far niente in me.

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On Black Women, The Normalization/Cycles of Trauma and the Effects of War on the Black Female Body

A Review of Danai Gurira’s powerful play Eclipsed

 By Ashley Smiley

On Sunday, March 12th, I witnessed a matinee performance of Eclipsed at the newly renovated Curran Theater in San Francisco. Upon entering the theater, audience members are given a thorough and informative program and there is a screen that traces Liberia’s history which is an amazing point of entry as the play is set during the 2003 Liberian Civil War.

Eclipsed set.jpg

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Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Celebrating 35 Years of Asian Film Festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area

While every birthday is special, turning 35 is a proud moment for the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). CAAMFest 2017 will take place March 9-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area. CAAMFest is an 11-day feast for the senses, with film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists.

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An Interview with David Shepard

Excerpt from Georges MélièsConquest of the Pole

Jeff Joseph and Dennis Bartok recently published their fascinating book on movie collectors, A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies. It is filled with passionate film buffs, crazy characters, chases, FBI raids (including the arrest of movie star Roddy McDowell) and enough unbelievable “You couldn’t make that up” adventures to make a series of exciting movies. Ultimately it is a salute and appreciation for what these people have gone through doing their part to save our precious and often lost movie history.

 The authors conducted dozens of fascinating interviews and sadly some had to be cut. A second book is a possibility but for now we offer a sneak preview of what might included.

 Here, for the first time, is their interview with  film preservation and restoration master David Shepard who passed January 31, 2017. There will are links and videos below for background and samples of the films Shepard found, saved and restored.

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Getting Inside the Head of an Alamo Drafthouse Film Programmer

By David Robson

On Sunday, March 5, Kodak joins forces with the Alamo Drafthouse chain (and many other movie theatres around the country) to celebrate Reel Film Day. This new event confirms Kodak’s commitment to 35mm film as an exhibition (as well as preservation) format, and the partner venues are screening a number of classic and lesser-known films on reels of film in solidarity and celebration. Additionally, funds raised from Reel Film Day screenings will support a new preservation project by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation.  where these exciting projects are guided by Margaret Bodde.

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