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The Fourth Annual Alexander Valley Film Festival Comes to Northern Sonoma County October 18-21

Contact: Kathryn Hecht, ka***********@tr****************.org, 707.893.7150


Festival features a diverse array of local and global films at venues in Healdsburg, Geyserville, and Cloverdale

Cloverdale, CA (September 25, 2018) – The Fourth Annual AVFest, presented by AVFilm, will be held Thursday, October 18 – Sunday, October 21 at venues in Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale in the beautiful Wine Country of Northern Sonoma County. 

A joyous celebration of cinema and community, the festival features a diverse array of films and filmmakers from around the world plus the work of local luminaries, and showcases award-winning narrative features, thought-provoking documentaries, inspiring shorts, and breakthrough student films. 

“This year, ‘Heroes’ arose as our theme,’” said Kathryn Hecht, Executive Director of AVFilm. “From our heart-pounding opening night film Free Solo, documenting Alex Honnold’s astonishing climb of El Capitan to our closing night film Warrior Women, featuring indigenous women’s gritty fight for civil rights, this year’s programming reflects and celebrates the part in all of us that rises to the occasion and dares to step into the unknown at the most critical moments.”

Program highlights include: 

  • October 18th (Thursday, 6PM) – NEIGHBOR SCREENING – Alexander Valley Hall, Geyserville – We kick off the festival with the short film Empire On Main Street, which profiles boon hotel + spa founder Crista Luedtke, followed by feature film Chef Flynn, a documentary about Flynn McGarry, a 13-year-old wunderkind chef who served 14-course modernist meals in his camera-happy mother’s California home for devoted foodies. FlynnDirector Cameron Yates, as well as Empire Producer Eric Holland and film subject Christa Luedtke are expected to be in attendance.
  • October 19th (Friday, 6PM) – OPENING NIGHT FILM AND RECEPTION – The Clover Theater and Silverwood Plaza, Cloverdale. The Opening Night Film, 
    Free Solo, follows climber Alex Honnold’s unprecedented attempt at scaling the 3,200-foot sheer rock face of Yosemite’s Él Capitan without benefit of ropes or rigs. The film is followed by a Q&A with special guests, and a lively reception featuring local food, wine and music. 
  • October 21st Saturday, 9AM – FILMMAKER WORKSHOP + STUDENT FILM COMPETITION – The Clover Theater, Cloverdale. Hollywood professionals will be on hand for a 60-minute workshop for students of all ages, followed by screenings of the 2018 Student Film Competition short films.
  • October 20th (Saturday, 8PM) – SATURDAY NIGHT CLASSIC – Odd Fellows Hall, Geyserville. A celebration of one of the greatest film noirs ever made, Double Indemnity, stars Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. Fred’s daughter, Kate MacMurray, will be in attendance to introduce the film. 
  • October 21st (Sunday, 5:30PM) – CLOSING NIGHT FILM AND AWARDS RECEPTION – The Raven Film Center and Spoonbar. The 2018 Festival concludes with Warrior Women, the story of American Indian Movement activists who fought for civil rights in the 1970s, followed by a Q&A with Directors Elizabeth Castle and Christina D. King along with Warrior Woman Lakota Harden, who will be in attendance. The evening continues with a celebration of Student Filmmakers, Audience Award Winners, and the presentation of the Jackie Hoffner Heart & Hope Award at Spoonbar, a modern restaurant and event space in downtown Healdsburg’s h2Hotel.

Students are participating in this year’s festival in a multitude of ways: a student jury, student field trips to screenings during school, a filmmaker workshop with Hollywood professionals, student internships, and volunteering through the Jr. Film Society. Notably, students will take part in the Sonoma County-wide 2018 Student Film Competition – a collaboration between AVFS, the Sonoma County Office of Education and the Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County – where students have been asked to reflect on the 2017 North Bay wildfires through peer-led interviews condensed into three-minute micro documentaries.  

This year’s festival is generously underwritten by the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County, sponsors of the 2018 Student Film Competition. “We are proud to support the 4th Annual AVFest,” says CEO Debbie Mason. “Film is a healing process and our community needs healing outlets. We know a lot of teens and their families were affected by the 2017 wildfires. Teens are traditionally a harder population to realize and admit that they need help responding to trauma, and this competition gives them a way to share their stories, use their voice, and connect around their feelings and concerns.”

Significant 2018 sponsors also include Michael Fanelli & Alain-Martin Pierret of Sotheby’s, The Arabian Family, and The Press Democrat.

All proceeds benefit Sonoma County students and support year-round educational and cultural enrichment programs.

About True West Film Center

True West Film Center began in 2015 when film lovers in Cloverdale and Healdsburg came together with a goal of bringing the rural North Bay more access to cinema arts events and education. The first True West Film Festival–known then as AVFest–featured 24 films across four days on four screens in two cities. With a mission to bring the transformative power of cinema to Northern California, True West Film Center removes barriers to film and media arts. Since its origin, True West Film Center has exhibited more than 600 films and now serves more than 5,000 people, 1,000 public school students, and 600 lifelong learners through year-round educational and cultural programming. For more information, visit

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