In March, filmmakers from across the globe settled into the sleepy and historic town of Sonoma for five days of film. The Sonoma International Film Festival is nearly a week long, marrying world-class films equally worthy wine and food experiences. Wine Country Moms Blog was privileged to attend the event, so we could share a behind the scenes experience for you, our readers. On Wednesday, Lindsey Tatum Photography (all still images provided by LTP) and I headed over to the Backlot tent off First Street, to scope out the opening night Gala. It was a bit breezy and cool with occasional rain drops.
The Backlot Tent
The tent, stationed back by the baseball fields just north of the square was the meeting space for breaks between films, the location for the opening night gala, the red carpet walk, and multiple film-maker Q and A’s. Basically, it was home base for the five day event. We wanted to show you what happens back there, because if you go next year, you will want to check it out.
The Food at SIFF
We were so excited to try food from some of the very best local artisans. Although the bites were all small, there was so many options that we walked around nibbling here and there, like we were on our own roving tapas party.
The Wine at SIFF
The wine! This is how you know you’re in Wine Country at a Film Festival. At the door, Gloria Ferrer greeted each guest with a glass of bubbly, and as you walked through the large interior space, you were given plenty of opportunities to taste at some of our very favorite local wineries.
The VIP Section
Tito’s Vodka, crispy tacos with caviar, plush leather couches…we only checked it out for a moment, VIP were given a private opportunity to mingle with film makers and enjoy an elevated experience.
The Vibe at SIFF
Lindsey and I loved the really cute photo booth where guests could play with some props and get some glamorous shots. Different areas of the back-lot tent had seating and art, arranged in an organic way so that you could take your food and wine samples, sit and and enjoy some art, then continue on through the tent to more experiences. The eclectic mixture of art and people was a perfect example of everything we love about Sonoma: quirky, casual mixed with high end food, wine, and fun.
A violinist riffed off the music in the background, and as the crowd grew, you could feel the excitement. We’ve never been to a film festival before, and the Gala was the perfect kick-off.
Our team spent the next few days celebrating this extraordinary event by attending films and listening in on film maker Q+A’s.
You Can’t Say No
One of the films we caught was You Can’t Say No, filmed right here in Sonoma County. The movie centers around a married couple on the verge of divorce who decide to play a version of truth or dare during their last week together.
Most of the film was shot in and around Santa Rosa and writer/star Hus Miller was a Santa Rosa High School graduate. Locals will recognize the beautiful vineyard-covered hills and a significant plot point revolves around the Wohler Bridge in Forestville. After the packed screening, director Paul Kramer answered questions from the audience. It was an amazing experience to see the beauty of wine country showcased on the big screen!