Cloverdale, Calif. (April 12, 2021) – The Seventh Annual Alexander Valley Film Festival, presented by the Alexander Valley Film Society, will be conducted virtually Friday, April 23 – Sunday, May 2. Actor Beau Bridges will join his daughter, Emily Bridges, director of ACTING: THE FIRST SIX LESSONS, for the Opening Night panel discussion. Signature Film Society pop-up Drive-ins will anchor the event in Cloverdale and Healdsburg.
“This year, our theme is connection,” said Kathryn Hecht, Executive Director of the Alexander Valley Film Society. “The pandemic forced all of us to re-evaluate what matters most. Our entire team of staff and volunteers used the year of lockdown to work through what it means to connect and belong. This year’s Festival is a direct reflection of those renewed values.”
The Festival features a diverse array of films and filmmakers from around the world with 30 feature films, 38 short films, more than a dozen panels and Q&As, and 14 student works. Patrons will access the streaming portion of the Festival using a state-of-the-art viewing platform that can be viewed with Roku, AppleTV or screencast from computers to TVs.
New for 2021, the Festival moves to a springtime slot and features a collaboration with Film Fest Petaluma. The Santa Rosa Junior College-based organization provided four eclectic short film collections for screening.
All Festival ticket purchasers and pass holders will have access to the Film Festival’s Discord server for “Lobby Talks” throughout the week to meet virtually and discuss films. Mental Health Meetups are scheduled for each Sunday morning for patrons to gather virtually for complimentary yoga with Jenn Russo of Yoga on Center.
Program highlights include:
- The Festival kicks off on Friday, 4/23 at 6PM with an Opening Night panel discussion. Beau Bridges and Emily Bridges will discuss Emily’s directorial debut, ACTING: THE FIRST SIX LESSONS, in which her father, Beau, is featured. A west coast premiere, the film brings Richard Boleslavsky’s 1933 novel to the screen for the first time as part of an intimate glimpse into the life and craft of a multi-generational acting family.
- DIRTY DANCING plays in a pop-up Drive-In, Saturday, April 24th at 8:30PM at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair.
- On Sunday, April 25th at 4PM, tune in from home for Red Carpet Evening, the 93rd Academy Awards®. Tickets are on sale for elegant snack baskets from Cloverdale’s Dahlia & Sage and Cast Wines, or patrons can purchase separate Oscar bingo cards to try their luck at winning a bottle of wine from Selby Winery.
- Monday, April 26th at 6PM features “Amplifying Indigenous Stories.” The panel will highlight the filmmakers and stories from three films from the Festival: STORIES I DIDN’T KNOW, the story of a white woman confronting the past and beginning the process of making reparations in partnership with native community members; GUARDIANS OF THE RIVER, an appeal from indigenous leaders to restore a healthy Klamath River; and AGUILUCHO: DANCE OF THE HARPY EAGLE, a look at indigenous communities who meet a fair-feathered ally.
- Wednesday is Neighbor Night! On Wednesday, April 28th at 6PM, Chief Marshall Tuberville and award-winning photographer Kent Porter join filmmakers and subjects for the panel “Community Rising: Wildfire Response and Recovery” to discuss the local film THE KINCADE FIRE. To help celebrate the world premiere of the new documentary, local restaurants from the cities affected in the 2019 wildfires - PizzaLeah in Windsor, Campo Fina in Healdsburg, and Papa's Pizza Cafe in Cloverdale - will host specials for takeout.
- The 2021 Student Film Competition screens Saturday, May 1st at 8:30PM at the Healdsburg Community Center. Attendees will “drive the red carpet,” student works will play on the big screen, and students in middle school, high school, and college will compete for $3,000 in prize money.
All films open on Friday, April 23, at 9AM and close on Sunday, May 2, at 11:59PM. For film passes, individual tickets, the full lineup of films, live panel/Q&A times, and Oscar® opportunities, please visit https://www.avfilmsociety.org/alexander-valley-film-festival/.
This year’s festival is generously underwritten through significant contributions, notably Cartograph Wines, Big John’s Market, and Vanguard Properties.
All proceeds from the Festival and Red Carpet Evening benefit Sonoma County students and support year-round educational and cultural enrichment programs.
About the Alexander Valley Film Society:
The Alexander Valley Film Society strengthens our community by captivating and engaging audiences, cultivating new fans of film, and celebrating our collective humanity using cinema through year-round educational and cultural enrichment programs, as well as the annual Alexander Valley Film Festival. For more information, visit www.avfilmsociety.org.