I often forget that just because something is local, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a travel worthy event. This year I attended the 21st annual Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) and managed to see 6 films over 3 days and enjoy some beautiful if not a wee bit rainy Sonoma Valley.
My favorite part of the festival is that the little town square of Sonoma turns into Sonomawood! It is like be in Hollywood but with good wine!
You can buy festival passes or buy tickets for each film that you want to see. However, everyone with a pass is entitled to enter the movie first and just because you have a ticket, you are not guaranteed a seat in the theater so if you are a big movie buff, the pass is worth it!
Walking around the square there is plenty to see and do between films. We started with an awesome brunch at the Girl and the Fig with an assortment of mussels, duck mousse, truffle fries and steak tartare accompanied by some bubbles before moving onto the main course. It was decadent and delicious!
There is not a lot of space or time to rest between films but we snuck in a few minutes and laid down on a dry part of concrete and caught a few rays and some shut eye just in time to run to another film!
So, what movies did I see? I liked most of them but a few of them I would like to never see again!
Summary: Charlotte Winston, recovering from a car crash which has recently taken the lives of her husband and child, finds herself unable to stop her downward spiral of despair and loneliness. An eventual suicide attempt is thwarted by Nick, a Marine veteran suffering from PTSD, who comes onto her orchard. Charlotte and Nick begin a tenuous and complicated relationship as Nick stays to help her run the farm. Through a series of unforeseen events, Nick’s mental state begins to wind violently out of control as Charlotte struggles to hang on to their new world together.
Thoughts: This movie had potential but runs too long as the dialogue is slow. It is definitely not an uplifting feel good movie but a movie to discover the relationship that can develop between people. Not my kind of movie but I know some people really enjoyed it.
Summary: A feature length film that explores the life of award-winning audio artist Joe Frank whose innovative work and career on radio has spanned four decades.
Thoughts: I had never heard of Joe Frank and went into this documentary not expecting anything. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Joe Frank and I thought the movie moved quickly and seemed to highlight the man as he was. If you want to learn about someone interesting, I highly suggest this documentary!
Summary: Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi, Beyond the River delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit.
Thoughts: Fantastic movie about the life of two men and one sport that brought them together. I knew nothing about the Dusi and watching this movie was like an uplifting unexpected look into a part of the world and a part of life I never knew about. There are some subtitles for the Afrikaans but most is in English.
Summary: Just days from signing divorce papers, Hank and Alexandra give their relationship one final shot by playing a game with only one rule: no matter what they ask each other to do, they can’t say no.
Thoughts: This movie was really funny! The movie takes you on a journey with laughs and fun experiences and a fun love story. The characters are well developed and the movie is based in Sonoma County so grab your wine and sit down for lots of laughs and a great idea for relationships!
Summary: When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control.
Thoughts: This is a foreign film from Iceland with subtitles and a little weird. The plot is oddly funny and disturbing and you do grow to feel for the characters. The ending is gruesome but slightly expected from a foreign film.
Summary: Life Hack is an incredibly timely ensemble comedy about digital privacy… or lack thereof. A humorous cautionary tale about cyber threats in the digital age. Cover your webcam.
Thoughts: Think The Hangover but for cyber security. Tons of hilarious jokes and oddly true to life for so many people. This was one of my favorite films and absolutely worth seeing. Anyone that has ever owned a computer or a cellphone will understand this movie.