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Canadian films at the Annual Sonoma International


Eleven Canadian films will be screened at the 15th annual Sonoma International Film Festival, a five-day feast of wine, food and more than 130 independent films from around the world, which runs from April 11 to 15, 2012. Included in the Festival program are two Oscar®-nominated animated shorts, two Québécois films featuring the same leading man, and two powerful documentaries about two very different global catastrophes.


Québécois superstar Patrick Huard is the lead actor in Ken Scott's STARBUCK and Daniel Roby's FUNKYTOWN, both of which will be screened at the Sonoma International Film Festival. Outside of Québec, Huard is best known for his role opposite Colm Feore in Erik Canuel's 2006 bilingual buddy comedy BON COP, BAD COP, which broke box-office records to become the highest-grossing Canadian film of all time.


STARBUCK follows the life of an immature man who discovers he has unwittingly fathered over 500 children after donating sperm to a clinic 20 years earlier. Directed by Montrealer Ken Scott, screenwriter of THE ROCKET (Maurice Richard), STARBUCK has won Audience Awards at both the Vancouver and Calgary International Film Festivals, and writer/director Scott and co-writer Martin Petit won Best Original Screenplay at the 2012 Genie Awards earlier this month.


Depicting the lives of eight people during the disco-era fashion excesses of the '70s, FUNKYTOWN snagged the Genie Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design for renowned Cirque du Soleil costume designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt. FUNKYTOWN is director Daniel Roby's follow-up to his first feature, the vampire-themed WHITE SKIN (La peau blanche), which was named Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.


Toronto-based music video director Rob Heydon has adapted one of Irvine Welsh's short stories into the darkly romantic comedy IRVINE WELSH'S ECSTASY. Welsh is the bestselling Scottish author of Trainspotting, which was adapted for the screen by Danny Boyle in 1996. The film stars Vancouver actor Kristin Kreuk, best known for her role in television's Smallville.


Two Canadian documentaries explore very different crises that have recently riveted world attention. Montreal-based Orlando Arriagada's BEYOND THE MIRACLE (Detrás del milagro) is a Canadian/Chilean co-production documenting the harrowing ordeal of 33 Chilean miners who spent 69 days trapped underground in the summer of 2010, while the whole world watched. The film follows four of the miners as they adjust to life in the spotlight following their dramatic rescue.

No less gripping is KIVALINA V. EXXON: The Most Dangerous Litigation in America, which explores an Inuit village's David-and-Goliath battle against the world's biggest polluters - the oil and gas corporations - to resist the devastating impact of global warming on their tiny Alaskan island. Directed by Montrealer Ben Addelman, KIVALINA V. EXXON is produced by Toronto's David Miller, who also produced the short film ISSUES. One of 11 Bravo!FACT-funded short films screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, ISSUES - the story of an angst-ridden professional clown - is co-directed by and features actor Hugh Dillon, star of the hugely popular Canadian television series Flashpoint and Durham County.


Canada's National Film Board (NFB) has long been known for producing internationally recognized animated short films. Two of the three Canadian animated shorts included in the Sonoma International Film Festival's program were nominated for the 2012 Oscar® for Best Animated Short: Patrick Doyon's SUNDAY (Dimanche) and WILD LIFE by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby. The third is a Canadian co-production with Luxembourg entitled ROSE & VIOLET by Luc Otter and Claude Grosch.


Also courtesy of the NFB is Vancouver-based Jill Sharpe's BONE WIND FIRE, a visually luxurious 30-minute meditation on three iconic North American female artists: Mexico's Frida Kahlo, America's Georgia O'Keeffe and Canada's Emily Carr. Seven years in the making, BONE WIND FIRE premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October and won Best Canadian Film at Montreal's International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) just last week.


Haligonian Andrea Dorfman's HOW TO BE ALONE is one of nine shorts which comprise LUNAFEST, a traveling program of short films by, for and about women. Sponsored by the makers of Lunabar, the whole nutrition bar for women, LUNAFEST screens each year to over 20,000 people in 150 cities to raise funds for local non-profits and the Breast Cancer Fund.


Canadian films have historically been very well-received at the Sonoma International Film Festival. Three years ago, three of the nine juried awards were presented to Canadian films, including Benoît Pilon's THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE (Ce qu'il faut pour vivre), which was named 2009 Best World Feature.


Here is the full list of Canadian films screening at the 15th annual Sonoma International Film Festival:


  1. BEYOND THE MIRACLE (Detrás del milagro) | dir: Orlando Arriagada | Canada/Chile | 52 min. | Documentary feature
  2. BONE WIND FIRE | dir: Jill Sharpe | 30 min. | Documentary short
  3. FUNKYTOWN | dir: Daniel Roby | 132 min. | Narrative feature
  4. HOW TO BE ALONE | dir: Andrea Dorfman | 5 min. | LUNAFEST short
  5. IRVINE WELSH'S ECSTASY | dir: Rob Heydon | 99 min. | Narrative feature
  6. ISSUES | dir: Hugh Dillon & Enrico Colantoni | 6 min. | Narrative short
  7. KIVALINA V. EXXON: The Most Dangerous Litigation in America | dir: Ben Addelman | 90 min. | Documentary feature
  8. ROSE & VIOLET | dir: Luc Otter & Claude Grosch | Canada/Luxembourg | 26 min. | Animated short
  9. STARBUCK | dir: Ken Scott | 103 min. | Narrative feature
  10. SUNDAY (Dimanche) | dir: Patrick Doyon | 10 min. | Animated short
  11. WILD LIFE | dir: Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby | 13 min. | Animated short


About the Sonoma International Film Festival

A destination film festival located in the heart of wine country, the Sonoma International Film Festival offers eclectic programming screened at eight centrally-located venues, including the 1930s Italian-Renaissance-style Sebastiani Theatre on the historic Sonoma Plaza. Through partnerships with world-class wineries and restaurants, the Festival showcases the best of Sonoma Valley, making for an epicurean experience which few film festivals in the world can rival.


Named one of America's "Top Ten Best Vacation Film Festivals" in Chris Gore's Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, the Sonoma International Film Festival is uniquely positioned to be a lively celebration of film, food and wine. An annual gathering for film industry insiders, cinema enthusiasts and independent filmmakers, Sonoma is one of the most scenic and epicurean places to experience the art of film.


Founded in 1997 as the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, SIFF is now a five-day international event that takes pride in showcasing independent films.


SIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Festival supports the Sonoma Valley High School Media Arts Program established over a decade ago by the Sonoma Film Society.



The Sonoma International Film Society & Festival rely on the generous support of sponsors and corporate partnerships to help fund the year-round film society, Special thanks to this year's sponsors and partners:


  • PREMIERE SPONSORS: AT&T Advertising Solutions, Bistro Boudin, Chateau St. Jean, Comcast, Hey Mambo by The Other Guys, Mia's Kitchen.
  • MAJOR SPONSORS: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, The Fred & June MacMurray Foundation, MacArthur Place, New Belgium Brewing, Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, Wine Country Party & Events.
  • SUPPORTING SPONSORS: Dolby, Green & Black's Organic Chocolate, Infineon Raceway, LUNAFEST sponsored by Lunabar, Sotheby's International Realty, Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco, TV 5 Monde, Vode Lighting, Wildfire Web.
  • PRIMARY WINERY PARTNERS: Buena Vista Winery, Don Sebastiani & Sons, Sebastiani Vineyards.
  • TRANSPORTATION PARTNER: Pure Luxury Wine Tours.
  • La Quinceañera Film Fiesta is sponsored by the Fred & June MacMurray Foundation.

The 15th annual Sonoma International Film Festival will take place from April 11 to 15, 2012.


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