Though primarily a virtual affair this year with a binge-watch menu of 120 streamed movies, the Sonoma International Film Festival (March 24-28) opens tonight with the first of three drive-in events.
Each of these screenings will take place at Sonoma Skypark, 21870 Eighth St. East, Sonoma.
Opening Night, March 24 – Six Minutes to Midnight, starring Judy Dench.
Friday Night, March 26 – Spacewalkers
Saturday Night, March 27 – The Comeback Trail, with Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman.
Cost is $75 per car ($10 discount for all pass holders). Gates open at 6:15 p.m. Order on the festival website
Because of Covid and closed theatres, the rest of the festival is all virtual. A state-of-the-art streaming platform makes the entire program accessible online, anywhere and at any time.
“An advantage of a virtual film festival is one can see far more films and can see them any time over the five-day period,” said SIFF Artistic Director Kevin McNeely. The whole bundle is accessible with one pass (also virtual). “Any film, any time. It’s easy to navigate.”
In the real world (circa 2019), pass-holders were often forced to choose between films screening at the same time. Not now, when gotta-see movies can be downloaded in any order. And there’s no schlepping between theatres, no matter how charming the walk is.
“SIFF will take you around the world and expose you to different cultures, customs, languages, and lifestyles,” McNeely promises. Along with the true independent productions, documentaries and shorts are 20 premieres. The line-up includes Hollywood name-droppers like Opening Night’s Six Minutes To Midnight starring Dame Judi Dench, and the Closing Night film, The Comeback Trail, with Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, and Morgan Freeman.
Additional elements will include festival-produced interviews and introductions with the filmmakers, along with cooking demos and wine tastings. There will be two in-person Drive-In events held on the runway at Sonoma Skypark.
The best way to experience the festival, and have access to all online films and special events, is through the SIFF Virtually Everything Pass for $175, which also includes SIFF Saturdays, a monthly virtual screening on the last Saturday of every month throughout the year. SIFF Drive-Ins tickets are $75/per vehicle.
For information about passes, Drive-Ins, and individual online film tickets for SIFF2021, visit: sonomafilmfest.org/festival.