“Larger, better, even more fun.”
Asked to describe the 19th annual Sonoma International Film Festival in a few words, this is how festival director Kevin McNeely defines the latest iteration of the event that has been bringing star-power and tourist-dollars to Sonoma every spring for nearly two decades.
This year, from March 30 to April 3, the message of “bigger and better” will have its symbol in the enormous “Backlot Tent” and adjoining circus tent – this year located adjacent to the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building – acting as the festival’s headquarters, part-time screening room, and party palace for the five-day run.
“Our tent will be 40 percent larger than the one we used last year,” McNeely says. “It will allow us to have a larger stage with more seating in the audience area. We will be taking advantage of that extra space by launching special events and parties that will blow your mind.”
P.T. Barnum could not have said it better.
Taking place at several locations throughout the downtown area, the 2016 festival promises some first-rate Hollywood star sightings, with special events featuring actress Meg Ryan, the director of WWII-set Tom Hanks film “Ithaca” (Sebastiani Theatre, Thursday at 3:30 p.m., screening and Q&A), James Cromwell of “Babe” fame (he’s a juror, so he’ll be hanging out at screenings), “Rhoda” actress Valerie Harper (the short film “Merry Christmas”) and others.
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