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Beyond Popcorn 

Sonoma, Tiburon film fest highlights

click to enlarge FIT TO PRINT A documentary on Project Censored screens in Sonoma.
  • FIT TO PRINT A documentary on Project Censored screens in Sonoma.

In certain parts of the world, film aficionados have to wait months in between film festivals, often driving hundreds of miles over bridges and into major cities to get their cinematic fix. Such people, obviously, do not live in the North Bay, where every town worth its weight in cocktail napkins now has its own film fest. This weekend, two different festivals—each known for a sense of elegance and eccentric charm—will lure film fans, and filmmakers, to their respective towns.

Now in its 12th year, the Tiburon International Film Festival (running April 11–19), as its title implies, focuses on films from around the globe, with a crystal clear motto: "Understanding the world through film." Meanwhile, the 16-year-old Sonoma International Film Festival (April 10–14) has for years emphasized an appreciation for food and wine along with a love of fine independent cinema.

In Sonoma, highlights include Project Censored: The Movie (April 12, 6:30pm; April 14, 3pm), a short and sweet documentary inspired by Sonoma County's legendary alternative news-gathering project. The entertaining film features interviews with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Oliver Stone. Iceland's The Deep (April 10, 7pm; April 13, 9pm) recreates the true-life adventure of a man who survived in the freezing waters of Iceland after his boat capsized in 1984.

The Sinners (April 12, 8:30pm; April 13, 6:30pm), from Iran, is a Hitchcockian thriller set on the streets of Tehran. And for those who really like their cinema to be violent, consider The Best of Looney Tunes (April 13, 9:30am), a montage of ingenious Chuck Jones cartoons spanning the years.

For a bit of star-power, actor Ray Liotta will be present, introducing his hit-man thriller Iceman (April 10, 6:30 and 9:30pm), and Mary Louise Parker (star of Weeds and Fried Green Tomatoes) will be treated to a splashy tribute (April 13, 6pm).

Meanwhile, in Tiburon, fans of comedies will want to check out The President (April 12, 8pm), a farcical Dutch film about a lovestruck goat herder who finds himself running for president of Holland.

In Road to the Open (April 17, 8:15pm), Eric Roberts stars in a quirky love story about a depressed tennis player's unlikely second-chance at love . . . and a tennis championship. And the festival's local Marin Filmmakers series includes Past Their Prime, about the oldest living gorilla in captivity, and Running for Jim (April 16 and 18, 8pm) a thrilling documentary about high school track coach Jim Tracy and the length his team goes to help him once he's diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

For more, see www.sonomafilmfest.org and www.tiburonfilmfestival.com.

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