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Indybay Feature

Sonoma Valley Film Festival

Wednesday, April 11, 2007
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Sonoma Valley Film Festival
589 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476
Location Details:
The Sonoma Valley Film Festival films will be screened at various locations near Downtown Sonoma. The complete schedule and directions can be found at

The 10th Anniversary Sonoma Valley Film festival takes place from April 11 - 15. The festival has become widely known for its film selections, particularly films that focus on social and political issues of our time. These films are thought provoking and always intensify conversation among film lovers and festival goers.

This year will be no exception. The 75 film line-up is packed with some of the year’s top films from around the globe – works that take on issues ranging from the life-changing humanitarianism, homosexuality, war, natural disasters, Alzheimer’s Disease, any so many other pertinent issues. Tickets to the festival are on sale at

Some of this year’s most talked-about highlights include:

Recycled Life — Documentary Short

For over sixty years, children have been born and raised here, parents and grandparents eat and survive here. Thousands of families have thrived in the largest and most toxic and dangerous area in all of Central America - the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. Its inhabitants (“guajeros”), who recycle the city's trash, have been shun by society and ignored by the government, until a disastrous event in January 2005 forever changed the face of this landfill and the dignified people who call it home. The film was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short.

Director: Leslie Iwerks
Country: USA

12:08 East of Bucharest -- World Cinema

Did the revolution even happen? 16 years after the fall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, a local TV station has invited guests to share past moments of revolutionary glory. A drunken history teacher and a lonely retiree who moonlights as Santa are forced to answer questions from dubious viewers who aren’t even convinced the Revolution took place in their city. This wry, dead-pan farce was a Telluride Film Festival favorite this year.

Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Starring: Mircea Andreescu, Teo Corban, Ion Sapdaru
Country: Romania

Away from Her –- World Cinema (Bay Area Premiere)

“I never wanted to be away from her …” Screen legend Julie Christie unleashes a career-highlight performance in this beautiful, heartbreaking and confident debut feature directed by Canadian actress Sarah Polley. Married for 50 years, a loving couple are forced to face up to a terrifying reality… the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Christie's performance as the stricken wife is matched by British stage star Gordon Pinsent's turn as her devoted husband. Courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment.

Director: Sarah Polley
Starring: Julie Christie, Gordon Pinset, Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomas, Michael Murphy, Wendy Crewson
Country: Canada

Beyond the Call -- Documentary

Three death-defying humanitarian heroes travel the globe.

With the soul of a Mother Teresa and the swashbuckling guts of Indiana Jones, the three-man humanitarian organization called Knightsbridge provides aid to needy people, one impoverished and war-torn country at a time. Alternately thrilling, amusing, and ultimately inspiring, director Adrian Belic tracks three heroes through a real-life 21st Century adventure.

Director: Adrian Belic
Country: USA

Emile Norman: By His Own Design -- Documentary

A richly-detailed portrait of a passionate artist.

A fascinating look at the life and times of the self-taught Big Sur artist who, at age 88, is still working with the same passion for art, nature and freedom that inspired him through seven decades of a changing art scene and turbulent times for gay men in America. The husband-wife acting team of Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry shepherded this project as producers from start to finish, developing a close relationship with the artist, his circle of friends, and his art.

Director: Will Parrinello
Country: USA

Homestretch -- Documentary

The power of horses to heal hard hearts.

Our society warehouses convicts, often in subhuman living conditions. On a parallel track, the world of thoroughbred racing routinely sends over-the-hill horses to the slaughterhouse. A deeply-affecting cinematic experience, Homestretch chronicles the pairing of inmates and rescued end-of-career racehorses, as they come together on prison farms to care for and save each other.

Director: Sheri Bylander
Country: USA

Office Tigers -- Documentary

Outsourcing, yuppies and cross-cultural corporate cubicles in Southern India.

Cultural explorer and filmmaker Liz Mermin (her hit Beauty Academy of Kabul played at the 2050 Sonoma Valley Film Festival) returns to Sonoma with her newest expose, set in a U.S.-owned outsourcing company in India, whose clients include the top investment banks in the world. A rare and sometimes comic look at cross-cultural corporate training, the lifestyles of young urban professionals in a conservative Southern Indian city, and the changes that outsourcing is bringing to our world.

Director: Liz Mernin
Country: UK, Denmark

Rain in a Dry Land -- Documentary

Two war-scarred families journey to a strange new world.

In 2004, thirteen thousand Somali Bantu refugees realized their dream of coming to America. The refugees are now living in fifty cities across the country, becoming the largest African group from a single community to settle in the United States at one time. Filmmaker Anne Makepeace brilliantly succeeds in chronicling the lives of two Somali Bantu families as they leave behind a 200-year legacy of oppression in Africa to face new challenges in a strange new land.

Director: Anne Makepeace
Country: USA

Shoot Down -- Documentary

Tragedy in the sky, over the waters between the U.S and Cuba.

On February 24th, 1996, agencies monitoring electronic tracking equipment were asked to focus on the Florida Straits. Three small symbols slowly traced across an Air Force radar screen – tiny Cessnas flown by Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami-based organization formed to rescue Cuban raft refugees. Suddenly, the Cessnas were attacked by two unidentified white marks traveling at over 400 miles per hour. What followed was a human tragedy and political firestorm.

Director: Cristina Khuly
Country: USA

Siberian Dreams -- Documentary

Activist and supermodel Irina Pantaeva reports on cultural upheaval in her homeland.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Janet Gardner joins with actress/ activist/supermodel Irina Pantaeva on a journey from the catwalks of jet-set fashion back to Irina's roots in northern Siberia. The Buryats were a nomadic Mongolian tribe, and the region has a fascinating history interweaving the modern and the ancient, Asia and Europe, and major political and cultural upheavals. Irina, also a highly-regarded and well-reviewed author, is an engaging guide on this journey into a seldom seen world.

Director: Janet Gardner
Country: USA

Steal a Pencil For Me -- Documentary (West Coast Premiere)

Secrets and love in a Nazi death camp.

From Netflix’s Red Envelope Division and Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Michele Ohayon, comes a surprising but true story about a love triangle in a concentration camp. During the WWII Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, a man, his wife and his mistress find themselves incarcerated in the same barracks in the same death camp.

Director: Michele Ohayon
Country: USA

The Damndest Finest Ruins -- Documentary

Corruption, chaos and Caruso: the1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

In three terrible days one hundred years ago, San Francisco, the "Paris of the Pacific," was wiped from the earth by a massive earthquake. Director James Dalessandro uses rare photos and actual film of the disaster to paint a riveting portrait of chaos, corruption, and the will to rebuild. A captivating story of human courage and political incompetence, underscored by the music of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, who performed five hours before the disaster and barely made it out alive.

Director: James Dalessandro
Narrator: Peter Coyote
Coountry: USA
Added to the calendar on Fri, Mar 23, 2007 9:57AM
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