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Project Contract – Revised

Mission Statement:

My project seeks to help generate an awareness and a historical archive of how film and moviegoing traditions are approached, supported  and celebrated in Sonoma County. I plan to research three main festivals:  the Silver Scream Film Festival (SSFF), the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival (SDFF), and the Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) as a my main focus of study and will perform extensive research on each festival. Each festival takes place in the month of March, so I will be able to attend all of them.  For each festival, I will include a timeline of each festivals history, a write-up on their unique features and a general observation of how festival-goers participate and interact at the events. I will research the motives and ideals behind each festival and compare them to other film festivals in the Sonoma County area. I plan to conduct interviews with key persons from each of the three festivals, as well as one by a festival-goer to share their experience.

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.”

In addition to showcasing these three festivals, I will provide a page with links to interesting information and relevant sites that refer to other local film festivals, and include information about Sonoma County’s involvement in the movie industry. I will also build an interactive map displaying notable local film sites that will highlight tidbits of historic and/or interesting information. I will include a calendar of events linking to as many local film festivals and events I can find so that film lovers might have an up-to-date and user-friendly website to peruse. My goal is to keep the website simple, elegant, informative and useful. An example of what I’m planning so far can be found here.

Tools Used:

  • interactive timeline
  • interactive map
  • video and audio equipment
  • pictures and websites as approved by site owners
  • editing software for pictures and video
  • music composed by Magic Spiral

Tentative Timeline:

  • March 2:  Submit interview questions to IRB
  • March 4-6:  Attend Silver Scream Festival to gather footage, observations, and other data
  • March 17 – 20: Attend Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
  • March 28: Interactive map for notable film history in Sonoma County completed
  • March 30 – April 1: Attend Sonoma International Film Festival
  • April 4: Interviews completed and transcribed
  • April 6: Interview transcripts submitted to festival coordinators for approval
  • April 11:  Timelines completed and uploaded to website
  • April 12: Final edit of video/audio footage compiled from festival and submitted for approval
  • April 14: All research completed and compiled into article-style drafts
  • April 21: First draft of website completed
  • May 5: Final revision of website completed


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