Interview: Sonoma International Film Festival’s Kevin McNeely on SIFF’s 25th Edition—March 23-27, 2022

By Geneva Anderson

Long before “festing” was a trend, Sonoma International Film Festival’s Executive Director, Kevin McNeely, and his team began holding lively soirees in a tent pitched on Sonoma Plaza.  High-level passholders, filmmakers and celebrities made a beeline to this little hub to mingle and enjoy the crème of Sonoma Valley’s wine, spirits and food.  The concept evolved and the tent became the legendary “backlot.”  With its roaring theme parties, live music, dancing, food and wine, SIFF sealed its reputation as the high-end/good time festival.

This year, SIFF celebrates its 25th anniversary March 23-28, and film programming that challenges its wonderful parties.  It all unfolds within the radius of Sonoma’s historic town square or “SONOMAWOOD.”

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BREAKING BREAD ACROSS BORDERS + Recipes

By Joyce Goldstein

A-Sham celebrates the food of the Levant (Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon) in a three-day event where Arab and Jewish chefs cook their traditional foods together, sharing family recipes and culture.

 

BREAKING BREAD, a new documentary by Beth Elise Hawk focuses on the annual A- Sham Arabic Food Festival in Haifa, a city with a healthy cultural life enjoyed by both Arabs and Jews.

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Cooking Middle Eastern With Joyce

Joyce Goldstein has written 28 cookbooks, been a chef at Chez Panisse and her own Mediterranean restaurant Square One in San Francisco. Currently she is a consultant to restaurants and for product/recipe development. Her recipes present the foods of Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

She has selected some recipes for our readers from two of her books, The New Mediterranean Jewish Table and Saffron Shores.

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MESSAGES FROM JULIA

by Peter L. Stein

For many years I saved a phone message from Julia Child on my answering machine. Back then, in the early 1990s, I was a television producer at KQED, San Francisco’s public television station. Despite my frequent encounters with talented artists through my work, as well as a growing friendship with chef Jacques Pépin, with whom I had been producing several seasons of PBS cooking programs, I can still remember the shiver of excitement when I retrieved a message on my office voicemail which began, in that unmistakable forceful warble, “Hello Peter, it’s Julia Child!”

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