Guide to Film Festivals in Sonoma County
As spring blossoms in Sonoma County, so too does our film festival season. There's no more picturesque place than Wine Country in which to mingle with film makers and movie stars with local wine in hand. Festival organizers know this and have woven an array of iconic silver screen celebrations into the fabric of Sonoma County.
Ranging from small venues showing a half-dozen screenings on a single day, to multiple-day schedules celebrating some 100 movies all across downtown Sonoma, these festivals showcase international talents and attract people from all over the world. What's more elegant, after all, than an afternoon in an artsy movie theater, nibbling West County charcuterie and sipping local wines?
2021 Update: During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many Sonoma County activities are still available and ready for you to enjoy. However, certain indoor activities such as museums and large gatherings such as nightlife and live music as well as performing arts are temporarily restricted or unavailable. See What's Open
Normally, held over five days in the eastern Sonoma County town of Sonoma, the Sonoma International Film Festival is an intimate celebration of unforgettable cinema, world-class food, and fine wine. The line-up typically features more than 90 hand-selected films, including independent features, documentaries, world cinema, and shorts. This year the festival has gone virtual. The festival is dedicated to promoting independent film, supporting filmmakers around the world, and inspiring film lovers. Details: sonomafilmfest.org
Israeli Film Festival, March
Founded in 2016 and hosted by the Jewish Community Center, the Israeli Film Festival features handpicked films from Israel. The festival seeks to nurture an appreciation of Israeli culture, exploring the human stories and important issues facing Israeli society, and the larger world. The films focus on issues of gender identity, love at old age, the pull between secular and orthodox, and the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. The film festival will continue virtually in 2021 for three weeks, with flexible access throughout to watch the films online. Details: jccsoco.org
Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival, October
Each year the film festival committee at the Jewish Community Center in Santa Rosa screens more than 100 dramas, comedies, and documentaries to pick six that will be shown during the annual festival in October. The goal is to present a slice of Jewish life from around the world, and the festival's tagline is that you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy these movies. The 2021 festival will be screened virtually; see their website for more details.