Film Fest sets opening, closing night films

Posted on March 20, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma International Film Festival opens April 10 with “The Iceman,” starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco and Ray Liotta, and closes April 14 with the North American premiere of “A Monkey on My Shoulder,” starring Juliette Binoche.

In another marquee event, the SIFF will honor Academy Award-nominated actor Demián Bichir (shown) with the Sonoma Spotlight Award at a tribute event on Saturday, April 13. Bichir received an Academy Award, SAG Award and Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best Actor for his portrayal of an undocumented worker in “A Better Life.” He also starred in Steven Soderbergh’s 2008 two-part epic “Ché” as a young Fidel Castro, as well as Oliver Stone’s “Savages”, both with Benicio del Toro. He is also known to television audiences for his role on the Showtime series “Weeds.”

“The Spotlight Award focuses on an actor’s body of work, highlighting their defining roles and bringing them to the forefront,” said SIFF Executive Director Kevin McNeely. “Demián’s filmography in both the United States and Latin America is quite extensive and impressive. We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate his incredible work.”

Directed by Ariel Vromen, “The Iceman” is the true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer who happened to be a family man, a family that had no clue about his real profession until their patriarch was arrested. The opening night festivities take place at the Sebastiani Theatre on Wednesday, April 10 with director Ariel Vromen and Ray Liotta attending.

“A Monkey on My Shoulder (À coeur ouvert),” directed by Marion Laine (“A Simple Heart”) and starring Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”) and Venezuelan superstar Édgar Ramírez (“Carlos”), is a compelling French film that tells the story of two heart surgeons, Mila and Javier. Married for 10 years, they have two passions: their jobs and each other…. until her pregnancy undermines the balance of their relationship.

Now in its 16th year, the Sonoma International Film Festival will present 90 hand-selected films including independent features, documentaries, world cinema, shorts and a showcase of Spanish language films, April 10-14. All films are shown at intimate venues within walking distance of Sonoma Plaza. Find out more at