Sonoma International Film Festival, an overview from festival director Kevin McNeely

Kevin McNeely at SIFF17 (photo credit @KingsleyHurley)I love chatting with Kevin! And this year was extra special as it was Sonoma International Film Festival’s 20th anniversary. I don’t normally podcast event interviews, but we touched on so many things about the festival that I do want to share this one.

Happy birthday, SIFF! Here’s to another 20 years of Sonomawood!

About the festival:

“Now in its 20th year, the Sonoma International Film Festival takes place in the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country and will feature more than 90 hand-selected films including independent features, documentaries, world cinema,  and short films. All films are shown at intimate venues within walking distance of Sonoma’s historic plaza. The Festival is dedicated to promoting independent film, supporting filmmakers around the world and inspiring film lovers.”

To find out more about upcoming Sonoma International Film Festivals, keep an eye on the website, Facebook, and Twitter. To search comments on year’s past, simply use #SIFF plus the year. For example, this year was #SIFF17.

Here is the interview followed by a list of the jury and audience awards from SIFF17. Original air date: 3/14/17




20th Anniversary Festival Weekend Wraps Up


SONOMA, CA (April 3, 2017) – The Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) is pleased to announce the Jury Award and Audience Award winners from the 20th Anniversary celebration of film, food, wine and spirits this past Wednesday, March 29 to Sunday, April 2, 2017.


“What a great Festival,” enthused executive director Kevin McNeely. “We are still counting ticket stubs but this may have been the best attended in the whole 20 years. The weather was superb, parties were fun and swanky and the food and wine flowed. Can’t wait for next year.”


Highlights from the most attended festival in it’s 20 year history include the Backlot Tent themed parties, the Q & A with Angela Sarafyan of The Promise on Opening Night, and the overflowing reception at the Zina Lounge at the Ledson Hotel for In Search of Fellini with critic Leonard Maltin and writer Nancy Cartwright and actress Maria Bello.


The Film Jury Award winners of the 20th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival were announced Saturday evening during the Red Carpet Celebration in the Backlot Tent.


Best American Independent Feature: June Falling Down (dir. Rebecca Weaver)


Best World Feature: Nelly (dir. Anne Émond)


Best Documentary Feature: The Girl Who Saved My Life (dir. Hogir Hirori)


Best Animated Short: The Orchestra (dir. Mikey Hill)


Best Comedy Short: How You Look At It (dir. Wendy Seyb)


Best Documentary Short: Double Talk (dir. Jessica Bernstein-Wax)


Best Dramatic Short: A Tie Riceballs (dir. Shingo Usami) & Crisscross (dir. Michael Jackson)


Best World Short: On the Run (dir. Gianguido Spinelli)


The Audience Award winners of the 20th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival were announced yesterday evening in the SIFF Village Backlot Tent, amidst the hubbub of the festival’s Closing Wrap Party.


The A3 Audience Award for Best Documentary: A Tie Perfume War (dir. Michael Melski) & James Beard: America’s First Foodie (dir. Elizabeth Federici)


The Stolman Audience Award for Best American Indie: Handsome Devil (dir. John Bulter)


SIFF Audience Award for Best World Cinema: My Mother’s Wound (dir. Ozan Aciktan)


Best Dramatic Shorts: Nocturne in Black (dir. Jimmy Keyrouz)


Best Comedy Shorts: The Games We Play (dir. Annika Marks, Rich Newey)


Best Documentary Short: Close Ties (dir. Zofia Kowalewska)


Best Animated Short: The Orchestra (dir. Mikey Hill)


Best Foreign Short: Sans Réponse (dir. William Papadin)

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