Geneva Anderson digs into art

The 16th Sonoma International Film Festival wraps today: ARThound recommends “Rebels with a Cause” and “Project Censored”

This evening, the curtain closes on the 16th annual Sonoma International Film Festival, which has brought  5 nights and 4 days of nearly nonstop screenings— 105 new films from more than 30 countries— with great gourmet food and wine.   Here are two films screening today that ARThound recommends without reservation.  They will connect you to your community, your planet and fire you up to go out and start changing the world!

Rebels With A Cause (U.S., 2012, 74 min):  We who are blessed to live in the Bay Area know how special the communities we live in are.  This valiant documentary connects us with our legacy of progressive thinking and activism.  Produced by locals Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto, who have collaborated on critically-acclaimed documentary and narrative films for the past 25 years, Rebels With A Cause documents the extraordinary efforts of several local citizens who saved the lands of the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area from development.  The film has its long-awaited world premiere at the 2012 MVFF to sold-out screenings and won the Audience Favorite Award for Best Documentary.  The coastal cinematography is stunning, making it an essential to see on the big screen.  With both filmmakers in attendance, and an enthusiastic local crowd, this is a festival experience not to be missed.

In the 1950’s, when California was the nation’s fastest-growing state, the prevailing vision for the coast was one of development—an extension of suburban housing developments with an eight-lane freeway connecting the Richmond Bridge and Point Reyes and marinas and hotels covering Bolinas Lagoon, Limantaur Estero and Tomales Bay.  At the time, most people assumed agriculture in the region was dead and the county’s dairymen and ranchers would become rich selling their land to real estate developers and move their operations elsewhere.   A handful of activists came together to awaken their neighbors, local farmers, and officials to the threat of over-development and the need to preserve open space.  Passionately, tirelessly, they raised support for conservation over time, successfully battling the most powerful opponents of their day in big industry and government.  Their efforts resulted in an 80 mile-long park that supports open space, recreation, agriculture and wildlife and shaped the environmental movement as we know it today, ultimately leading to a system of 14 National Seashores as part of the National Park Service.

“Rebels With A Cause” has it world premiere at the 35th Mill Valley Film Festival. Produced by Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto, the film traces the efforts of extraordinary local citizens who saved the lands of the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area from development.

Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Frances McDormand, Rebels includes a montage of news and television clips and a series of fascinating cameos and interviews, including former Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall; local legend, Gary Giacomini, of the Marin County Board of Supervisors who fought development tooth and nail; Katy Miller Johnson, widow of Congressman Clam Miller and mother turned activist; Amy Meyer, author of New Guardians for the Golden Gate: How America Got a Great National Park; and the Ellen Strauss of the famed Strauss Family Creamery, whose Tamales Bay dairy adapted pioneering practices and ultimately became the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi.   The film is living proof that people with vastly different visions and backgrounds can come together and achieve profound change be it from a kitchen table or in Congress.”Rebels With A Cause” was produced in partnership with KRCB, Channel 22, the PBS affiliate for Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties, so it will ultimately be presented nationally on PBS stations.  The film was inspired by the books of naturalist John Hart, The Wilderness Next Door and Farming on the Edge, and conservationist Dr. Martin Griffin, Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast. (Screens: Sunday, April 14 at noon at MacArthur Place)

Sonoma County real estate professionals Doug Hecker (left) and Chris Oscar spent six years making the documentary “Project Censored: The Movie,” which has its world premiere at SIFF.

Sonoma County real estate professionals Doug Hecker (left) and Chris Oscar spent six years making the documentary “Project Censored: The Movie,” which has its world premiere at SIFF.

 Project Censored The Movie! Ending the Reign of Junk Food News: We all know and joke about the farcical state of our news media. Since 1976, the very vital Sonoma State-based media watchdog group, Project Censored (PC), has sought to uncover the real agendas of corporate media by publishing an annual list of the top censored stories. Now there’s a thoughtful documentary, by former PC Sonoma State University student and Star editor Doug Hecker and longtime PC supporter Christopher Oscar, which features original interviews about PC and media censorship and PC’s longstanding efforts to expose important stories that are rarely—if ever—reported by corporate media. The 58 minute film captures luminaries Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Greg Palast, Oliver Stone, Daniel Ellsberg, Peter Kuznick, Cynthia McKinney, Nora Barrows-Friedman, John Perkins, Jonah Raskin, and others. Several PC affiliated faculty and students also participate including Dr. Carl Jensen, PC’s former director and Professor Mickey Huff, its current director. (Screens:  Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m., Burlingame Hall)

Determined to break the grip that junk food news has on the American people, two Sonoma County fathers, both with longstanding affiliations to Sonoma State University, uncover the Corporate media’s true agenda.  Project Censored The Movie! Ending the Reign of Junk Food News takes an in depth look at what is wrong with the news media in the US today and highlights the exceptional and important work of Sonoma State’s Project Censored (PC) and its commitment to media literacy education as an antidote to propaganda and censorship.

Closing Night: The festival closes tonight with the North American Premiere of A Monkey on My Shoulder (À coeur ouvert), directed by Marion Laine (A Simple Heart) and starring Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Venezuelan superstar Édgar Ramírez (Carlos), as cardiac surgeons who have two passions: their jobs and each other. When Mila unexpectedly becomes pregnant, the prospect of a baby undermines the balance of their relationship. Javier’s drinking becomes uncontrollable and they spiral downwards from unbridled passion to rage. (Screens Sunday, April 14, 6:30 p.m., Sebastiani Theatre)

Details: the Sonoma International Film Festival runs April 10-14, 2013, in Sonoma, CA. Eight screening venues are all within walking distance of the central town plaza. Street parking is ample.

Ticket Information:   If you are interested in attending a single screening at the festival–tickets are $20 in advance and $15 rush at the door, CASH–don’t dally!  It all ends this evening.  Detailed pass information at

All passes can be picked up at the Festival Box Office located on the East side of City Hall on Sonoma Plaza beginning Wednesday, April 10 at 1:00 PM. The box office will be will be open 4/10 (1:00 – 9:00PM); 4/11-4/13 (9:00 AM – 9:00 PM) & 4/14 (9:00AM – 5:00 PM).

The full list of films and scheduling is at  “To be announced” screening slots, will be announced by 10 a.m. this morning, ofering a second chance to see some of the festival’s most popular films.



April 14, 2013 - Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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