Join our mailing list to stay up to date on upcoming events, the film festival, the new Film Center and more! →

The Fifth Annual Alexander Valley Film Festival Comes to Northern Sonoma County October 17-20

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, 2019) – The Fifth Annual AVFest, presented by AVFilm, will be held Thursday, October 17 – Sunday, October 20 at venues in Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale in the beautiful Wine Country of Northern Sonoma County. 

A joyous celebration of five years 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. 

“Humanity is our theme for 2019,” said Kathryn Hecht, Executive Director of AVFilm. “From Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s daring and frank exploration of America’s income disparity in The Great American Lie to Molly’s relentless fight for the truth in Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, we are reminded that what makes us singular is also what makes us one. Our program of films sizzles collectively with want, expectation, desperation, justice, and love.”

Program highlights include: 

  • October 17th (Thursday, 5:45PM) – NEIGHBOR SCREENING – Alexander Valley Hall, Geyserville – We kick off the Festival with Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, a spirited documentary about Texas troublemaker Molly Ivins, whose acerbic and entertaining nationally syndicated column was a must-read for political elites of all stripes. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Director Janice Engel, and then a panel on the state of journalism today moderated by Steve Mencher, KRCB. Panelists include Rollie Atkinson, The Healdsburg Tribune; Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle; Hollis Robbins, Dean of Arts & Humanities of Sonoma State University; and Matt Villano, freelance writer and editor.
  • October 18th (Friday, 12PM) – SPECIAL SCREENING – The Clover Theater, Cloverdale. Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker and First Partner of California, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, presents her new documentary, The Great American Lie, an in-depth exposure of social and economic immobility, viewed through the lens of our gendered values. A Q&A will follow the screening. 
  • October 18th (Friday, 6PM) – OPENING NIGHT FILM AND RECEPTION – The Clover Theater and Trading Post Restaurant, Cloverdale. The Opening Night Film, 
    Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, reveals the hidden power of sound in cinema and the unsung heroes whose creative breakthroughs have impacted the most beloved, classic films. The film is followed by a Q&A with Bobette Buster, writer and producer of the film, and a lively reception toasting the Film Festival’s five years of success. 
  • October 19th (Saturday, 10AM) – STUDENT FILM SHOWDOWN + VISITING FILMMAKER MEET-N-GREET– The Clover Theater, Cloverdale. Watch this year’s student competitors walk the red carpet, dazzle the paparazzi, and screen their films in a real-time competition! $2,500 in cash prizes will be awarded after the screening. Then enjoy an opportunity to meet all of the filmmakers in town for this year’s Festival.
  • October 19th (Saturday, 8PM) – SATURDAY NIGHT CLASSIC – Alexander Valley Hall, Geyserville. Considered by many as the greatest of all Westerns, 
    High Noon stars Gary Cooper in an Oscar-winning turn as Sheriff Will Kane. Special whiskey cocktails from Alley 6 will help set the mood. 
  • October 20th (Sunday, 5:30PM) – CLOSING NIGHT FILM AND AWARDS RECEPTION – The Raven Film Center and Spoonbar, Healdsburg. The 2019 Festival concludes with Unsettled, the story of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers as they flee persecution in their countries of origin to seek better and safer lives in the United States. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Producer Stu Harrison, of Healdsburg, and film subjects Cheyenne and Mari, 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, a filmmaker meet-n-greet with professionals, student internships, and volunteering through the Jr. Film Society. 

This year’s festival is generously underwritten by significant sponsors, which include Michael Fanelli, Sotheby’s International Realty; the Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District; The Arabian Family; and The Press Democrat.

All proceeds from the Festival 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

Join Our Mailing List

Stay up to date on upcoming events, education programming and the new film center!