Sonoma International Film Festival

Four-Day Festival Concludes with Jury Awards Presentation
and Highest Attendance Yet

SONOMA, Calif. (April 6, 2005) – The Eighth Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival, presented by Cinema Epicuria, concluded on Sunday, April 3 after four days of 74 independent films, intimate panel discussions, and special events including two Imagery Honors Tribute Programs and a closing night Awards Ceremony. The picturesque Sonoma Plaza was a-buzz with filmmakers, actors and cineastes attending the Festival, while more than 2,500 film lovers filled 12,500 theater seats and panel venues, up 25 percent from 2004.

“I am extremely pleased with the success of this year’s Sonoma Valley Film Festival,” said Marc Lhormer, president of Cinema Epicuria. “Between our amazing sponsors and the wonderful films that were lined up, this year’s Festival was the most successful yet -- the films were incredible, the filmmakers engaging and attendance incredibly strong.”

Two Imagery Honors Tributes were given at the 2005 Festival. On Friday, April 1, the Sonoma Valley Film Festival honored legendary Bay Area producer Saul Zaentz (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The English Patient) with a special Lifetime Achievement Tribute at the Sebastaini Theatre sponsored by Cinema Epicuria with wines by Wolf Blass. Davia Nelson, Kitchen Sisters co-founder, hosted the introspective tribute with Zaentz, which covered his career as well as his perspective on the industry today. Then, on Saturday, April 2, the Festival honored Joe Pantoliano (The Fugitive, The Sopranos, Momento, The Matrix), one of today's best character actors. Hosted by actor/filmmaker Jon Favreau, the entertaining and spontaneous conversation with Pantoliano at the Sebastiani Theatre celebrated and explored his dynamic work and the challenges facing journeymen actors today. Both Zaentz and Pantoliano received a large format magnum of Imagery Estate 2000 Sunny Slope Cabernet Sauvignon, transformed into a custom mosaic art creation by artist Garry Transue. The event was sponsored by The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and Imagery Estate Winery, with media partners San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com.

On Sunday, April 3 filmmakers, actors and guests gathered to celebrate the Awards Ceremony at the Sebastiani Theatre, hosted by Sonoma resident and television personality Squire Fridell. Juried and Audience Awards were presented in 11 categories, including the inaugural $10,000 Geller/Devonport Award, a combined $5,000 cash and $5,000 Kodak film prize award, presented to Best Director of a First Feature Film.

The award winners for the 2005 Festival included:


  • Best Short: LIFT | Directors: Hugues Dalton & Jeff Garton.
  • Best Feature: ON THE OUTS | Directors: Lori Silverbush & Michael Skolnik.
  • Best Documentary Short: TIME LOST | Director: Carla Gutlerrez.
  • Best Documentary Feature: THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX | Directors: Rose Rosenblatt & Marlon Lipschutz.
  • Best Lounge Short: LA VIE D'UN CHIEN (THE LIFE OF A DOG) | Director: John Harden.
  • Best Lounge Feature: MY DATE WITH DREW | Director: Brian Herzlinger, Brett Winn & Jon Gunn. 


  • Favorite American Indie Feature: ILLUSION | Director: Michael Goorjian.
  • Favorite World Cinema Feature: INNOCENT VOICES (VOCES INOCENTES) | Director: Luis Mandoki .
  • Favorite Documentary Feature: SEARCHING FOR ANGELA SHELTON | Director: Angela Shelton.
  • Favorite Lounge Feature: MY DATE WITH DREW | Director: Brian Herzlinger, Brett Winn & Jon Gunn.


  • Geller/Devonport Award for Best Director of a First Feature Film: Presented to: Brian Herzlinger, Brett Winn & Jon Gunn, directors of MY DATE WITH DREW

About The Sonoma Valley Film Festival

The Eighth Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival took place in Sonoma March 31 – April 3, 2005, with a Sneak Preview evening on Wednesday, March 30. The Festival included more than 70 independent films (features, shorts, documentaries, student works, animated films, and world cinema), panels and conversations with the filmmakers, food and wine tastings at each screening, tributes and awards ceremonies, and a variety of VIP receptions and events with the filmmakers. Premier Sponsors of the Festival included Porsche and Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and Comcast/IFC. Official media partners of the Festival included the San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate.com, KGO Radio, ABC7 and 7x7 magazine. For more information, please contact the festival headquarters at (707) 933-2600.

About Cinema Epicuria

Cinema Epicuria is a 501c3 non-profit organization formed in 1999 and based in Sonoma, Calif. The organization’s mission is to create and nurture a growing community that appreciates and supports independent filmmaking, while also enjoying the wonderful food, wine, art and natural beauty of California’s wine country. Cinema Epicuria presents the annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival, voted one of the “Top Vacation Festivals” by Chris Gore in the “Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, 3rd Edition,” and is in the early stages of exploring the possibility of presenting additional festivals within Sonoma and Napa counties. The organization also produces special film, food and wine events throughout the year, including an annual Oscar Party on the night of the Academy Awards. Central to Cinema Epicuria’s year-round operations are the video and film production classes and workshops developed for local youth and produced by the organization. For more information, please contact (707) 933-2600.

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