(April 5 – 9, 2006)

The Ninth Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival concluded on Sunday, April 9, 2006, after five days of independent films, dynamic panel discussions and special events, including a special Humanitarian Tribute, a spectacular Saturday night Gala, and the closing night Awards Ceremony. 


Nearly 14,000 -- up 10 percent from 2005.


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On Wednesday, April 5, The Sonoma Valley Film Festival honored actor Danny Glover with a special Humanitarian Tribute at the Sebastiani Theatre. Davia Nelson, Kitchen Sisters co-founder, hosted the introspective tribute with Glover, which explored his work as a leader on global issues of health, poverty, human rights and economic justice. On Friday, April 7, the Festival presented a sold-out screening of PURSUIT OF EQUALITY, an intense documentary that takes viewers on an exclusive behind-the-scenes journey into private closed-door discussions with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his inner circle, as they uproot the status quo and attempt to change the way the nation looks at love, life, and marriage. Mayor Newsom, the filmmakers and two of the same-sex couples from the film were in attendance, participated in a Q&A session after the screening and joined attendees at a special VIP party after the event.


Over 100 filmmakers attended the Festival this year, including industry luminaries Patricia Heaton, Danny Glover, Tony Shalhoub, Penelope Spheeris, Melissa Joan Hart, and John Lasseter, as well as important breakthrough talents like debut directors Josh Stern (NEVERWAS) and Christopher Jaymes (IN MEMORY OF MY FATHER).


Under the supervision of Culinary Director Catherine Driggers and the world’s first ever Official Film Festival Sommelier Christopher Sawyer, the Festival brought its trademark “Cinema Epicuria™” experience to new heights. Over 30 Sonoma Valley wineries, numerous top local restaurants and celebrity chefs contributed to gourmet wine and food pairings at every film screening, cooking demonstrations, elegant receptions, private dinners, exclusive winery excursions, and a multi-course feast of tastings at the grand Festival Gala.


The Festival’s Gala celebration “Hollywood Meets Wine” on Saturday evening was the talk of the Festival, with an electrifying performance by The Toledo Show, an array of Sonoma Valley wines and culinary delights from celebrity chefs like Curtis Aikens, with numerous filmmakers, stars, sponsors and special guests in attendance. 


As the Festival wrapped up, on Sunday, April 9, filmmakers, actors and guests gathered to celebrate the Awards Ceremony at the Ravenswood Red Lounge. Juried and Audience Awards were presented in seven categories, including the second annual Geller-Devonport Award, a $5,000 cash award. All winners received commemorative magnum bottles of Ravenswood wines. 2006 award winners:

Juried Awards:

  • Best American Independent Feature: NOVEM | Director: Brad Kimmel.
  • Best Documentary Feature: DeNADIE | Director: Tin Dirdamal.
  • Best Debut Feature: IN MEMORY OF MY FATHER | Director: Christopher Jaymes.
  • Best Narrative Short: VOICEMAIL | Director: Michael Wilde.
  • Best Documentary Short: LIVING POETS | Director: Erica Filanc.

Audience Awards:

  • Audience Award for Best Documentary: PURSUIT OF EQUALITY | Directors: Geoff Callan & Mike Shaw.
  • Geller-Devonport Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: LAST STOP FOR PAUL | Director: Neil Mandt.

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