I made it back to the film festival this year! I’ve been attending the festival every year since 2007, but missed it in 2012. I still have the list of movies I wanted to see during last year’s fest on my notes app. If I ever re-subscribe to Netflix and if my daughter ever starts going to sleep at “bedtime” maybe I’ll catch up on those. If I do I promise to tell you what wines I was drinking and snacks I was snacking on.
The first few years I’d always fly standby and buy door tickets to just a few shows. Later it became worth it for me to get a day pass and then eventually to get a festival pass, complete with laminate and a necklace. This year I was back in the standby line, just catching films on Thursday and Friday. I actually think that is the best time at the fest, you don’t have to deal with all the weekenders and waiting in line wondering if you’ll get a seat. I also don’t miss the long lines on opening night or accidently running into Ray Liotta in his creepy sunglasses.
On Thursday I took off of work around noon and made it back into town to catch the 12:45 screening of Caught in the Web. I didn’t have much time so I scarfed down a sandwich from the drive through coffee place located on Broadway. The screening was at Burlingame Hall, which is a new venue for the festival. Usually they have movies at the Community Center, but it’s under renovation. Hopefully they can get some ventilation going up in the balcony at the Community Center. I’ve almost passed-out up there a number of times, due to a mixture the heat, too much cheesy popcorn, and too much cheap pinot. This year the New Belgium brewery had their shoppé set up outside this Burlingame Hall. It was actually a better set-up than in years past, because they let you bring your fat tires into the venue. Caught in the Web is drama that’s based around an incident of a young lady refusing to give up her seat on the bus to an elderly man. On the bus she’s filmed and it goes viral. The movie then unfolds with a lot of twists. There are a bunch of intertwining characters and a powerful finale. I really enjoyed this movie.
Next up I headed over to the Vintage House to catch a couple of enological documentaries. Not coincidentally, the Vintage House was serving some wine (gratis). It was still early in the day and the gentleman behind the bar had yet to open any of the bottles. He was struggling mightily with the wine opener and another patron offered to take over and get the darn cork out of the first bottle. It made me wonder, how many Sonomans does it take to open a bottle of wine?! Eventually, the wine was poured and was paired nicely with a few complimentary Luna bars. The first movie was a short film about a wine region in Borolo, Italy called Cannubi. The doc was titled, Cannubi: A Vineyard Kissed by God. For being a short film it was kind of long. It was about how the naming rights of the region are being disputed. The ‘Rick Steves looking guy’ doesn’t add much to the story, he just goes on about how good this wine is. I was really hoping they were going to come out with some of this wine to give us a taste, but they didn’t. I asked Jeeves what this wine was going for and it looks like you can get some on e-bay for around $80 bucks and get a six pack or magnum (I couldn’t tell) on google shopping for about $500. I guess I will have to save my nickels. The second wine doc was called Lo Zucco: The wine of the son of the King of the French. This was basically an educational film about the Duke of Aumale. From what I understand he was a French dude that was exiled to Sicily and he set up a large ranch with organic vineyards. He also liked to collect books and he’d bring out a marching band to entertain the workers during the harvest. I don’t think they do that around here, but maybe they should.
The film fest is usually an excuse for me to hit up all my favorite restaurants in town. Unfortunately, one of my old favs (Rin’s Thai) recently closed down. So after the wine films I made a quick stop by the Red Grape to pick up dinner. Like me, the Red Grape is an old standby
That evening I made it back down to the Fat Tire zone to see Soufflé au Chocolat. They also started this one with a short film called Chocolates. I liked the short and I like that they were pairing films this way. I would have liked some chocolates. The feature film was a French or French-Canadian drama about two couples that go on vacation to an island off the coast of B.C. Of course the film feature a stereo-typical snobby French guy and a ménage à trios. It turns out that the guy who starred in the movie also wrote and directed it. Hmm, it seems to me like this guy really wanted to have a three-way.
On Friday I saw two more documentaries. The first one was called Design & Thinking. I think it was about design thinking or industrial design, it was a little dry but interesting. Then I made a quick stop at the Sunflower Café for a to-go box and headed back to Burlingame Hall to pair it with another fat tire.
The final movie I saw was called Spinning Plates. It was a documentary about three restaurants. About halfway through the movie it started to become very powerful. It unfolded three really moving stories about the people involved in these places and it then tied it all together through the eyes of one of the chefs. I really recommend this one if you are at all interested in documentary story telling.
So the fest was as enjoyable as ever. I hope to make it to a few films next year and get more of that gratis wine.
“Best of the Fest” 2013
Caught in the Web