Week 8: Onward We Go!

So … today is St. Patrick’s Day … and also the start of the 9th Annual Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival! This event goes on until Sunday. I plan to attend at least one…

So … today is St. Patrick’s Day … and also the start of the 9th Annual Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival! This event goes on until Sunday. I plan to attend at least one day here to observe the crowd! I’ve revised my original plan to cover three local film festivals ( I couldn’t stick to just one …!) I wanted to be able to research some longer-running film festivals such as the Sonoma International Film Festival, which is celebrating its 19th year this month. I chose a genre-based film festival (Silver Scream Fest), a documentary-style film festival, and a general film festival with some serious history to focus on. A little information on each: The Silver Scream Film Festival is a genre-based event that is celebrating its very first year in Sonoma County.  The event was inspired by a long-running magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland which was established in 1958 as “a way to celebrate genre films and unite fans around the world.” This magazine, founded by Forest “Forrie” Ackerman, is said to be the world’s first monster fan magazine.  The magazine’s new owner, Philip Kim, paired up with CULT Film Series founder Neil Pearlmutter to bring the Silver Scream Film Festival to life. The small but wildly popular festival successfully debuted earlier this month, with about 2-3,000 people in attendance. Several local businesses were also involved and set up tables celebrating horror, sci-fi and comic book genres. The Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is celebrating it’s 9th year this month and is presented by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, a grassroots, nonprofit arts center created in 1988 by “a coalition of art, business and community members to provide art programs and services for all sectors of the community.” Eliza Hemenway founded the film festival in 2007 with “a vision to showcase strong, independent documentary films in West Sonoma County, and to network the local film community.” More information about the event will be forthcoming. The Sonoma International Film Festival is the county’s biggest film event.  Now in it’s 19th year, this festival will feature more than 90 films that include independent features, documentaries, world cinema, and short films. The festival boasts itself as “one of the top 10 destination festivals in the world.” This is a community-wide event that includes the participation of many local businesses offering food, wine and services. SIFF is also dedicated to the financial support of the visual arts educational programs in Sonoma Valley schools and community outreach programs. Taken from the SIFF website: “The festival originated by Sonoma locals and friends Carolyn Stolman and Jerry Seltzer.  The first two festivals were produced under the fiscal sponsorship of Sonoma’s Sister Cities Program and held in the early fall (1997 and 1998).  They included participation by industry luminaries (and regional residents) Danny Glover, Francis Ford Coppola and John Lasseter.” I’m hoping to interview one person from each festival. I just got my IRB approval, so I can now go ahead and solicit! There are many options, however, so I am not really worried about finding people willing to be interviewed. I’m also planning to attend the Sonoma International Film Festival at the end of the month. I applied for press credentials (since I do have a registered media website …) and am hoping to be accepted! What better way to attend a festival than as a member of the press? A busy month! I’m looking forward to compiling my research.