8:00 Friday morning and I’m feeling a little off. I bike to the community center before class to pick up my truck which I left last night after getting a ride to “Wicked Little Letters” at the Veterans Hall. This is how we roll during SIFF, park the cars in the morning, get rides bike or walk to the various venues, drive cars home at the end of the evening. Or not, as the case was last night.


I’m 0 for 2 at the festival so far, totally didn’t follow “The Beast” on Wednesday and I thought “Wicked Little Letters” was predictable and not so funny. But the great thing about movies is that they are subjective and if you thought “Wicked Little Letters” was the best film ever I won’t yuck your yum because art is unique to each person. The movie ended up winning an audience favorite award so there you go.


One of the many reasons I love the student films is this exact idea. My favorite film this year was a tie between a film about dogs at Olsen Park and “Boneheads” because it was about two of my tennis players trying to hit up their teachers for extra credit. Did they win awards? No, there was an awards sweep for the “Bad night in Gotham” trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLICGWwqTHw watch it and understand what an incredible job Peter Hansen’s program is doing to inspire kids.


9:15 Saturday morning.

For some this is the fourth day of the festival, for me, because of that job thing, it’s kinda the first. Our schedule is set, the Friday tally was 2 for 3 (no for “Housekeeping for Beginners” then two thumbs up for “Mr. Blake at your service” and a big yes to the Beau Bridges tribute party at the Buena Vista).


Now we face the morning food dilemma, eat a full breakfast or wait and see what the VIP lounge has at the Community Center. Plus, the SIFF morning outfit dilemma, what to wear on a rainy day filled with movie watching, a private party for lunch, more movies and the Centerpiece party at the Lodge at 8pm. I go with the always risky white pants because nothing says “I’m off the clock and ready to party” like white pants.  Even if a drunk tourist jumps through the O in the SONOMA sign and I have to repair it, I’ll look good doing it.



We’re a little late for “Ghostlight” (by far my favorite movie of the festival) after an amazing breakfast at Monday bakery. We maneuver our way into the balcony at Andrews Hall and as I sit down I spill coffee directly onto my no longer white pants.


Sunday 8:30

We wake up to film fest mess. Not as bad as in some years past but when one is doing the festival right movies take precedent over all else which means the house is disheveled, dirty dishes next to the bed, the usually pristine home environment strained from four days of popping in, grabbing what’s next and ignoring mess. We’ll clean on Monday is our SIFF mantra.


Today it’s “Wildcat”, “Ezra” (which we tried to get into yesterday but the Sebastiani was sold out), “Lousy Carter”, “Dogman” and “Puan” if the batteries have anything left in them.


9:30 Monday morning

I give myself a congratulatory self-high five as I lean the final giant S against the other letters next to my art room at Creekside. This is the first time I can remember having the week off after the film festival and I couldn’t be happier.


Normally, I take the sign down in a morning panic so that I’m ready to teach at 8:30 but this year the take down is much more relaxed. I send a final text to Jill, SIFF marketing and press guru,


“Thanks for a great festival, ‘Ghostlight’ followed by ‘Dogman’ were my favorites, Buena Vista party was outstanding, overall awesome festival!”


My real favorite part of the festival is always the student films but this year the films and experience were especially excellent. I also was happy to make the supporters page which flashes on the screen before each film.


It’s not surprising if you didn’t see it (I tried unsuccessfully to take a picture of the screen) but after years of creating for SIFF (giant cakes, cages for dancing, large wooden animals and that darn sign which has been the visual announcement of the festival since 2008) a little thanks goes a long way.



Movies are back. Even though our Sonoma theatre will soon be a Big 5, there is a resurgence in creative storytelling and I couldn’t be happier. Did you see “Poor Things” or “American Fiction” or even “Barbie” (a movie sensation I totally did not get) this year? Creative, innovative, unique, important and above all, super entertaining.


Get to the theatre soon but maybe go with the khakis instead of the white pants.




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