“The specific vibe and character of Film Fest Petaluma has always been inextricably linked to the character of the downtown Petaluma area,” explained Michael Traina, Santa Rosa Junior College film and media instructor, and director of the annual short-film showcase Film Fest Petaluma.
“Spending a day in a place like this, that’s certainly one of the things that draws filmmakers from around the world,” he said. “And it’s one of the things that brings film fans down from Santa Rosa or up from Marin.”
Film Fest Petaluma, running May 7 at The Mystic Theatre is Traina’s baby through and through, and he’s clearly proud of it.
Along with teaching and running a weekly on-campus cinema series, the festival is one of the main reasons Traina relocated here from Los Angeles eight years ago. The long-time instructor and part-time filmmaker is fully aware that Petaluma’s small-town charm is one of the festival’s chief selling points, for audience and movie-makers alike.
Since the festival began in 2009, it has depended on the participation of artists from all over the globe. And there’s just something about a place like Petaluma, and a venue like The Mystic Theatre, that Traina says is irresistible to a certain breed of film fan.
“Being in a historic venue that’s over 100 years old, with a bar that’s open during the show, with cabaret seating and a balcony, it adds a lot of fun and mystique to the movie-watching experience,” Traina said2. “When directors come from out of the area and drive up The Mystic, they are usually kind of blown away, seeing this old-fashioned theater with that awesome marquee out front. It’s exciting, as a fan of film, to screen your movie in a place like that.”
“Click ‘Here‘ to read full article in the Petaluma Argus-Courier