Named “One of the 25 Coolest Festivals” by MovieMaker Magazine and one of America’s Top Ten Destination Film Festivals by USA Today, SIFF takes place every March in the United States’ renowned Wine Country, just 45 minutes north of San Francisco. SIFF is noted for its participation of film and media industry jurists and panelists and continues to grow its reputation in finding and cultivating new talent from around the world, creating a significant platform for networking and distribution opportunities. SIFF programs full-length features and documentaries, as well as shorts programming in Animation, Comedy, Culinary, Documentary, Dramatic and Foreign categories. SIFF is committed to the 50/50 gender parity industry initiative, as well as films that cover the gamut of human experience from environmental, LGBTQI+, social justice and other diverse viewpoints.
The five-day festival offers the best in film, food, wine, and fun, and SIFF supports filmmakers with generous cash award prizes and an accommodation program providing the opportunity to interact with industry professionals, community members, and our astute film audience in one of the most intimate, engaging and inspiring settings on the festival circuit. In 2019, SIFF showcased 125 films by 250 filmmakers from 26 countries and awarded more than $15,000 in Audience awards, including a $10,000 Bay Area filmmaker production completion award. SIFF has funded more than $650,000 to its signature initiative — the Media Arts Program started in 2002 at Sonoma Valley High School — which introduces students to the process of storytelling and provides resources to further their film education. In addition to being a festival for and about film and filmmakers, SIFF also showcases the best of the Sonoma Valley region with several high-end culinary and wine events, namely the SIFF | Devour! Chefs & Shorts dinner, featuring celebrity chefs; the SIFF Screen & Cuisine lunch; the SIFF Sip Trip Tours; and our SIFF Backlot Tent experience featuring industry panels, parties, wine and food pairings, and live entertainment. And in light of the unprecedented global situation of 2020, and in the spirit that is #sonomawoodstrong, we launched SIFF 2.0, our first virtual online film festival, which featured 100+ films from 20 countries, and reached an international audience of 30,000 viewers which consumed almost 4,000 hours of media in just four days.
Notable festival attendees include Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Michael Keaton, Alexander Payne, Susan Sarandon, Robert Patrick, Matthew Modine, John Ratzenberger, John Lasseter, Blythe Danner, Saul Zaentz, Karen Allen, Julia Ormond, Mark Romanek, Danny Glover, Mare Winningham, Christopher Lloyd, Hal Holbrook, Ray Liotta, David Arquette, John Waters, Lauren Hutton, and Meg Ryan.