THE 14TH YEAR of the Wine Country Film Festival offers a varied program of some 80 works, including feature films, shorts, and documentaries.
The themes are "films from commitment" and "the arts in film." This year there's a strong section of French films and a spotlight on Iranian cinema. "All films are selected on the basis of compelling storytelling," says organizer Steve Ashton.
The festival also offers in-person tributes to Richard Harris (on July 22), Rita Moreno (on Aug. 4), and Kirk Douglas (on Aug. 12), who are all slated to participate in celebratory dinners, presentations, and screenings.
During the festival's Napa section, which runs July 2030, films screen at the Sequoia Grove Vineyards and tasting room in Rutherford and at the Harvest Inn in St. Helena. The Sonoma section, which runs Aug. 313, offers events at Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, the Sebastiani Theatre in Sonoma, and the Roxy Stadium 14 in Santa Rosa. Admission prices vary. Programs are available at all Copperfield's Books locations and Sawyer's News in Santa Rosa. For more information, call 935-3456.
HERE'S the straight dope on the Wine Country Film Festival:
KPFA on the Air NOTHING'S more frustrating than a film that promises more than it delivers. Nearly everybody knows something about the ongoing controversy over the fate of KPFA (94.1), the Berkeley radio station that has been broadcasting alternative viewpoints for half a century now. This 56-minute documentary from director Veronica Selver opens with dramatic footage from the height of the conflict last year, including scenes of civil disobedience by KPFA supporters determined to prevent parent company Pacifica Foundation from making drastic changes at the station. Then Selver delves deep into KPFA's compelling history. But the film returns us to the present day with the strong expectation that it will explore the current conflict. Instead, there's just a disappointingly quick wrap-up. Friday, July 22, at 7 p.m. Sequoia Grove Vineyards, 8338 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford. $10 (includes screening of The Terrorist).--Patrick Sullivan
My Father's Angel THE HORRORS of the Bosnian war follow two expatriate families living in Canada--one Serbian, the other Muslim--to a tragic conclusion. A smart script, strong casting, and powerful performances mark this compelling film, recipient of numerous Canadian film awards. Friday, Aug. 4, at 9 p.m. Sebastiani Theatre, 476 First St. E., Sonoma. $7. --Greg Cahill
Knockin' on Heaven's Door TRULY, there is nothing to be afraid of, the two main characters remind us throughout this German black comedy. After meeting in a hospital where they've just been diagnosed with different terminal ailments, Martin and Rudy decide that the fulfillment of their dreams must become an unstoppable goal. The power of the film's language is evident even through the subtitles, as in a scene in which Martin explains Heaven's inextinguishable memories: "And they remember how you can feel the sun losing its strength and the cool rising up until the fire burns only in your heart." The men's opposing personalities create humorous confusion as the two form an endearing bond. Fitful as the journey is, the film is funny in spite of a dark undercurrent. Saturday, Aug. 5, at 8:45 p.m. Sebastiani Theatre. $7.--Heidi Blankenship
Naked States DIRECTOR Arlene Donnelly captures the artistic vision and rude manner of art photographer Spencer Tunick during his quest to shoot nude portraits in each of the 50 states. The highlight of the film--assuming you're not put off by tan lines and spare tires--is the shoot involving 1,200 naked Phish fans laid out on an abandoned Air Force runway in Maine. Saturday, Aug. 5, at 10:30 p.m. Sebastiani Theatre. $7.--G.C.
After the End of the World A PRIEST, a rabbi, and a mullah walk into a cathouse . . . Sounds like a joke, but it actually does happen in this often charming, sometimes amusing drama about star-crossed lovers who meet after 40 years to recall their youthful friendship in Stalinist Bulgaria. A sympathetic portrayal of village life, Gypsies, and romance--coupled with a rare chance to glimpse Bulgarian cinema--make this a very special program. Saturday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. Roxy Stadium 14, 85 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa. $7.50.--G.C.
Midsummerr SURREAL dreamscapes, animation, and special effects elevate this slick, stylish 18-minute adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream set in a modern-day nightclub. Part of Short Program No. 4 on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 11 a.m. Sebastiani Theatre. $5.--G.C.
From the June 13-19, 2000 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.
© Metro Publishing Inc.