The eleventh annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival (sonomafilmfest.org
) kicks off April 9th on the plaza in downtown award – and thousands of festival attendees will gather to eat, drink and take in a full roster of independent and mainstream films against the backdrop of wine country.
Known as a “no handlers zone,” the festival is famous for its laid-back atmosphere in which guests can casually meet and mingle with featured filmmakers, actors, local winemakers and celebrity chefs. Among this year’s highlights: Standout Sonoma sommelier Chris Sawyer will lend his film-and-wine-pairing prowess to the festivities, matching up flicks with his favorite blends from area vintners, and the festival will play home to the official US premier of the new film Love and Other Disasters starring Brittany Murphy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matthew Rhys and Orlando Bloom. Those with a real hankering to see celebs should plan on attending the Food & Wine-sponsored Thursday night opening gala at Jacuzzi Winery ($100), and folks with tikes can look forward to the all-day child care available throughout the festival ($8/hour).