Sonoma International Film Festival


(Sonoma, CA. April 9, 2009) – Actor Bruce Willis, along with international filmmakers, took home top honors at the Twelfth Annual Sonoma International Film Festival where Willis was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award at a special Tribute evening hosted by the Festival’s Chairman, Kevin McNeely. The Festival was held in Sonoma, California, from April 1 to 5.

The Canadian film THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE and American films LIKE DANDELION DUST, SPOONER and UNDER OUR SKIN received top juried awards. The THX Award for Best Creative Audio was presented to PUNCHING THE CLOWN. The Carolyn Stolman Humanitarian Award was presented to A GRANDMOTHER'S TRIBE.

The Twelfth Annual Sonoma International Film Festival, presented by The Wall Street Journal, announced the winners of its competition at the Highway 12 Lounge in downtown Sonoma, California. This year’s Festival featured 66 films including features, documentaries and short films from 18 countries. Bruce Willis was honored with the Festival’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, April 4.

“We are extremely proud of these filmmakers’ and actors’ accomplishments and honored to have had these films as part of our Festival,” said Louisa Percudani, executive director of the Sonoma International Film Festival.

“It’s especially gratifying and exciting to see that the members of our juries selected a diverse group of films from filmmakers and actors who are all at an early stage of their careers,” said Cevin Cathell, director of programming for the Festival.

Following are the awards, winners and their prizes: 

  • Best Narrative Feature:  Karen Kingsbury's LIKE DANDELION DUST (USA | 2009 | 100 min. | Director: Jon Gunn). 3L bottle of Schug 2003 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Heritage Reserve Bottle 11 of 12. 
  • Best World Feature: THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE (Canada | 2008 | 102 min. | Director: Benoît Pilon). Magnum of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards 2001 Behler Reserve Merlot. 
  • Best Lounge Feature: SPOONER (USA | 2008 | 84 min. | Director: Drake Doremus). Signed 3L bottle of Roessler Cellars 2006 Santa Rita Hills Peregrine Pinot Noir.
  • Best Actor: Ethan Peck in ADOPT A SAILOR (USA | 2008 | 86 min. | Director: Charles Evered). Magnum of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards 2004 "Old Vines" Zinfandel.
  • Honorable Mention, Best Actor: Maxwell Perry Cotton in Karen Kingsbury’s LIKE DANDELION DUST. 
  • Best Actress: Mira Sorvino in Karen Kingsbury’s LIKE DANDELION DUST. Magnum of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards 2004 "Old Vines" Zinfandel
  • Best Documentary: UNDER OUR SKIN (USA | 2008 | 104 min. | Director: Andy Abrahams Wilson). 3L bottle of Moon Mountain Vineyard 2004 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Best Short: NEXT FLOOR (Canada | 2008 | 12 min. | Director: Denis Villeneuve). 3L Bottle of O'Brien Estate 2006 Seduction Napa Valley Red.
  • Best Local Short: SUNSET (USA | 2008 | 13 min. | Director: Oana Marian). Signed 3L bottle of Petroni Vineyards 2006 Poggio Alla Pietra.
  • Best Animated Short: TERMINUS (Canada | 2007 | 9 min. | Director: Trevor Cawood). Magnum of Larson Family Winery 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Audience Award - Narrative Feature: Karen Kingsbury's LIKE DANDELION DUST (USA | 2009 | 100 min. | Director: Jon Gunn). 3L bottle of Kenwood Jack London Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. 
  • Audience Award - Documentary Feature: SPEED AND ANGELS (USA | 2008 | 95 min. | Director: Peyton Wilson). 3L bottle of Kenwood Jack London Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. 
  • Special Jury Prize, Local Short: THE D.D. (USA | 2009 | 15 min. | Director: Mike Lee). Magnum of Gundlach Bundschu 2004 Rhinefarm Vineyard Merlot.
  • Special Jury Prize, Shorts Category: THE 8TH SAMURAI (USA | 2008 | 29 min. | Director: Justin Ambrosino). 3L bottle of Benziger Family Winery 2005 Merlot.
  •  THX Award for Best Creative Audio: PUNCHING THE CLOWN (USA | 2009 | 90 min. | Director: Gregori Viens). Winner received a professional 5.1 Studio Monitor Mackie System Set.
  • The Carolyn Stolman Humanitarian Award: A GRANDMOTHER’S TRIBE (New Zealand | 2007 | 54 min. | Directors: Dean Easterbrook & Qiujing Wong).

2009 Sonoma International Film Festival Jurors

A distinguished and diverse panel of jurists selected the winning films in this year’s Festival:

Narrative Feature Jury: 

  1. Derek Power, Chairman of Kahn Power Pictures
  2. Robert Mark Kamen, Veteran Hollywood Screenwriter

Documentary Jury:

  1. Catherine Ryan, Director/Producer, Luna Productions
  2. Gary Weimberg, Director/Producer, Luna Productions 

Highway 12 Winery Lounge Features Jury:

  1. Melanie D. Miller, Film Festival Artistic Director/Producer, Fishbowl Films
  2. David Garber, Lantern Lane Entertainment 

Shorts Jury:

  1. Donn Finn, Casting Director, Mali Finn Casting
  2. Jason White, Comedy Writer and Festival Programmer

About the Sonoma International Film Festival

Set amidst the unparalleled beauty of the Sonoma Valley wine country, the 12th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival welcomes filmmakers and film lovers to an intimate and luxurious extended weekend, pairing great food, fine wine and 66 new independent films from around the world. The Sonoma International Film Festival, which IFC News acclaimed as a "sun-drenched, wine-soaked cinematic magic carpet ride," invites guests to enjoy some of the year's best new independent films, specialty events, luxurious parties, wine and food pairings - and casual mingling with top filmmakers and celebrities from around the world. 

About the 2009 Sonoma International Film Festival Sponsors

The Film Festival is presented by The Wall Street Journal. At the Premiere level of sponsorship, the Festival is being brought to the community by long-time supporter Comcast/IFC. Comcast/IFC is joined by WineCountry.com and Sonoma Valley Sun. Major sponsors include: City of Sonoma, THX, Kearsley, ZABIT Communications and AT&T The Real Yellow Pages. Supporting sponsors include: Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, Kenwood Vineyards, Peet's Coffee & Tea, YELP, Sonoma Valley Bank, Frank Howard Allen Realtors - The Wine Country Group, Consulate General of Sweden, Highway 12 Vineyard and Winery, B-Side Entertainment, New Belgium Brewing Company and Lexis Hybrid Living. 

About the Sonoma International Film Society

The Film Society presents year-round events and programs which celebrate the senses - the best in film, food, wine, music and art, center stage in Sonoma Valley. Membership is all inclusive for monthly special event, the Cinema Series, and each spring, the Film Festival where the best of independent filmmaking is showcased. In 2003, the Film Society founded the Student Works Program with a vision toward empowering young filmmakers. Through dozens of weekend and after school film workshops, both at the middle and high school level, hundreds of students have be immersed in the process of filmmaking under the direction of film teacher Peter Hansen. The Film Society, through its members and granting organizations, have contributed state-of-the-art equipment, staffing and scholarships to this program an opportunity for students to present their films at this world-class festival. For more information about becoming a Film Society member, visit www.sonomafilmfest.org or call 707-933-2600.

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