“The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. Across Sonoma Mountain wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smoulders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive. I am filled with dreams and mysteries. I am all sun and air and sparkle. I am vitalized, organic.” — Jack London
This is the first post about a week-long bevy of events that was the 16th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival. As we were lucky enough to be festival partners for this event (we made the VIP gift baskets), we were given Premiere passes which we shuffled around most of our staff so that many of the California Delicious team could enjoy this wonderful event.
We arrived in Sonoma in the evening to catch the first screening of the festival. The weather was perfect; warm enough to stand in line outside the Sebastiani Theatre without a jacket and meet some of the other festival goers. The movie, The Iceman, is a feature length movie based on a true story outlining the life of a Mafia hit man living in New Jersey in the 1950’s onward The movie was introduced firstly by Kevin McNeely, the Festival’s Director who read the Jack London quote above, which was used to introduce every film this year. We were also lucky enough to have a few introductory words from by Ariel Vromen and Ray Liotta who are the director/writer/producer and supporting actor respectively.
Opening night. Celebrities. Reception cocktails. The energy in the theater was electric.
We watched the movie, which I thought was great! It was exciting, dark and sad, not necessarily in that order. I won’t discuss it more as I don’t want to ruin the plot for those of you who may watch it but I will mention that some of the audience members left during the film, probably because of the overt violence throughout the film.
After the movie, we headed towards the after party which was located at the General’s Daughter or Estate Restaurant- which presently seems to be closed to the general public.This beautiful historic house, which is nestled away in a residential area of Sonoma, was the perfect location for the opening night party. There was food provided by the venue, delicious wines donated by the Sebastiani Winery and the soundtrack was created by the awesome Eighth Street 5 Band, who rocked out constantly until all the guests were asked to leave! While snacking on some delicious deep-fried risotto balls, we started chatting with a future University of California Berkeley graduate, the Registrar at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and a Filmmaker from Living on One Dollar who became our party-crew for the evening.
After wine tasting with our new friends, we headed over the Steiner Tavern, the local dive bar located directly on the plaza. We continued to make new friends, from all careers and walks of life but all of whom were associated with the Film Festival. It was great to see one event bring together such an eclectic mix of people! As it was a school night, my date and I sadly said our goodbyes and drove off into the night, leaving Sonomawood behind us.
Pictured below is the custom gift basket we created for the Film Festival VIP’s which included all filmmakers, Presenting Sponsors Netflix and many others