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Sonoma Film Fest Kicks Off With Alan Rickman’s ‘A Little Chaos’

The U.S. premiere of Alan Rickman’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet as the landscape gardener commissioned to construct the grand gardens at Versailles, and Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Search,” an update of the 1948 film to war-torn Chechnya starring his wife, “The Artist” actress Berenice Bejo, will bookend the 18th Sonoma Intl. Film Festival, March 25-29.

A Little Chaos” will open the fest, which takes place in Northern California’s wine country, and “The Search,” which also stars Annette Bening, will close the fest, which boasts fine wine and locally sourced cuisine as part of its allure, if not a key component of its programming in years past.

The event will present more than 100 films — from independent narrative features to documentaries to shorts to world cinema from 25 countries — shown at eight venues, all within walking distance of Sonoma’s downtown plaza.

Other highlights include the world premiere of “California High,” about the legalization of marijuana in the Golden State, as well as the U.S. premieres of “A Hard Day” (South Korea), “The Windmill” (South Africa), “The Connection” (France), “The Salvation” (Denmark) and “Finding Gaston” (Peru), about world-renowned Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio Jaramillo.

Docs include “Cowspiracy,” about the impact of methane gas in the environment; “Racing to Zero,” chronicling San Francisco’s goal to accomplish zero waste; “The Mask You Live In,” about our culture’s narrow definition of masculinity; and “Dior and I,” about the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as Christian Dior’s artistic director, which has been playing the fest circuit since October.

The program is also distinguished by a handful of music-themed films, including “A Shot of Whiskey,” about L.A.’s Whisky-a-Go-Go club on the Sunset Strip; “Legends of Ska”; and the world premiere of “Touching the Sound,” about blind child prodigy Nobuyuki Tsujii.

The Vamos al Cine program will present Spanish-language fare from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain and Chile.

“We are very proud of this year’s program celebrating the best in film, food and wine,” said fest executive director Kevin McNeely in a statement. “Films ranging from thought-provoking documentaries on environmental and social issues to the best in animation, world cinema, art and music, coupled with panels, parties and our unique hospitality, will provide a rich experience for our audiences as well as visiting filmmakers.”

For more program info visit sonomafilmfest.org.

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