One of our prize winners, Alexa Malloy, tells us about her experiences at the Sonoma International Film Festival in early April 2014…
We had an amazing time at the Sonoma International Film Festival. We went every day except Wednesday. On the first day (Thursday)we saw The Chef, We the Nobles, The Organic Life and The Golden Scallop. We packed some food, because we had so little time between our movies. Luckily at many of the venues there were bananas, oranges, cheese and crackers, as well as drinks. The Chef was a warm and funny comedy, about an aging chef (played by Jean Reno). We the Nobles was one of the most popular movies in Mexico. The Organic Life is adorable- and should soon be available on Amazon. It’s the story of one man’s year in organic farming, as filmed by his girlfriend, who obviously loves him very much. It’s an engaging and upbeat exploration of the food industry, from the perspective of a small-town organic farmer. The Golden Scallop is a Mockumentary about a scallop contest, and it is quite funny. You won’t see anything else like it. Don’t miss it. It will make you hungry for scallops, though.
The second day we saw Volcano, which was laugh out loud funny, and next we saw The French Minister (which I can’t recommend- unless you already have some background knowledge of French politics from the 80’s and 90’s, as well as a well rounded knowledge of French Bureaucracy- and even then you might not enjoy it, because the movie is uneven). Finally, we saw Tasting Menu at Murphy’s Pub, AND ate dinner at the same time- which was a good thing, because that movie will make you hungry. I had a wonderful chicken, with broiled Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. Delicious! I can’t wait to go back to Murphy’s! They had so many delicious things on the menu, and they carry my favorite cider- Angry Orchard.
Delicious fresh breads by Festival Sponsor Basque Boulangerie
Saturday I saw Taking my Parents to Burning Man- which very well could change my life. I decided, while watching it, that I needed to go to Burning Man- and I’ll take my children (who, imo, also need to go). This event will NOT be filmed. I have no idea how it will turn out, but as I am now Spry Bry’s friend on Facebook (he’s the lead character in the documentary- and I do mean character) I feel I should go, and then inform him that I went. After this life changing experience we saw My Straight Son, a wonderful LGBT film from Latin America. The father/son relationship was much more nuanced than I had expected, and we all felt this was a great film, and remarkably came from a first time director. Finally, we saw The Butterfly’s Dream (Turkish) and which may be one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen. It’s beautiful. It’s superbly acted. But everyone in the theater was weeping buckets by the end, except me. I was angry. I had been in a superb mood all day, thinking about Burning Man, so I was really annoyed when I got my first hint that all would not go well for the handsome young men in Butterfly’s Dream. And things did not go well. So we went home after that. I can only recommend the movie to people who feel they are far too happy.
Smoke Open Fire Cooking were cooking out in the middle of the Sonoma Plaza all week long
The Backlot tent was an exclusive area for VIPS and was also in the middle of the Plaza
On our last day we saw Longwave, ate at the Girl and the Fig, and then saw Life’s a Breeze. I wanted to see Belle, but I had burned everyone in my family out, and they mutineed. Next year I am going by myself, since I could, literally, watch movies from dawn until midnight. I’m not sure why my family are such lightweights, but they are. Longwave was a very appealing picture, about the carnation revolution, which I knew nothing about, and which seems to be a pretty fascinating piece of history. (I tried to find a book on this revolution on Amazon, but so far have not been able to find one.) Our final movie (due to my family’s fatigue) was Life’s a Breeze. Not one I would recommend, because most of the characters were so unlikable. I ended up feeling they were all idiots, and I was very sorry for them, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the movie.
In front of County Hall and iconic Sonomawood sign
I met a lot of wonderful people in the movies, and discovered Illy drinks (which I am now addicted to, thank you very much SIFF), and generally had a blast. I can’t remember when I’ve had such a good time. If you love movies, Sonoma International Film Festical is the place to go. And on top of the movies, there’s a lot of wonderful food and wine everywhere.