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The Seventh Annual Alexander Valley Film Festival to Screen Virtually April 23-May 2

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


Festival moves to a new springtime slot with largest selection of films to date

Cloverdale, Calif. (April 12, 2021) – The Seventh Annual AVFest, presented by AVFilm, will be conducted virtually Friday, April 23 – Sunday, May 2. Actor Beau Bridges will join his daughter, Emily Bridges, director of ACTING: THE FIRST SIX LESSONS for the Opening Night panel discussion. Signature Film Society pop-up Drive-ins will anchor the event in Cloverdale and Healdsburg.  

“This year, our theme is ‘connection,’” says Kathryn Hecht, Executive Director of AVFilm. “The pandemic forced all of us to re-evaluate what matters most. Our entire team of staff and volunteers used the year of lockdown to work through what it means to connect and belong. This year’s Festival is a direct reflection of those renewed values.”

AVFilm regularly showcases and hosts new and emerging talents from all over the world. Leveraging the AVF’s success with virtual programming, AVFest will create opportunities for the community – students and adults alike – to meet, interact with, and learn from visiting artists.

New for 2021, the Festival moves to a new springtime slot and features a collaboration with Film Fest Petaluma based out of Santa Rosa Junior College who provided four eclectic short film collections. All Festival ticket purchasers and pass holders will have access to the Film Festival’s Discord server for “Lobby Talks” throughout the week to meet virtually and discuss films. Mental Health Meetups are scheduled for each Sunday morning for patrons to gather virtually for complimentary yoga with Jenn Russo of Yoga on Center

The Festival features a diverse array of films and filmmakers from around the world with 30 feature films, 38 short films, more than a dozen panels and Q&As, and 14 student works. Patrons will access the streaming portion of the Festival using a state-of-the-art viewing platform that can be viewed with Roku, AppleTV or screencast from computers to TVs.

Program highlights include: 

  1. The Festival kicks off on Friday, 4/23 at 6PM with an Opening Night panel discussion.  Beau Bridges and Emily Bridges will discuss Emily’s directorial debut, ACTING: THE FIRST SIX LESSONS, in which her father, Beau, is featured. A west coast premiere, the film follows the acting legacy of the Bridge family using interviews spliced with an interpretation of Boleslovsky’s core text as a backdrop for discovery. 
  2. DIRTY DANCING plays in a pop-up Drive-InSaturday, April 24th at 8:30PM at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair.
  3. On Sunday, April 24th at 4PM, supporters will tune in from home for Red Carpet Evening, the 93rd Academy Awards®. Tickets are on sale for elegant snack baskets from Cloverdale’s Dahlia & Sage, or patrons can purchase separate Oscar bingo cards to try their luck at winning a bottle of wine from Selby Winery.
  4. Monday, April 26th at 6PM features “Amplifying Indigenous Stories.” The panel will highlight the filmmakers and stories from three films from the Festival: STORIES I DIDN’T KNOW, the story of a white woman confronting the past and beginning the process of making reparations in partnership with native community members;  GUARDIANS OF THE RIVER, an appeal from indigenous leaders to restore a healthy Klamath River; and AGUILUCHO: DANCE OF THE HARPY EAGLE, a look at indigenous communities who meet a fair-feathered ally.
  5. Wednesday is Neighbor Night! On Wednesday, April 28th at 6PM, Chief Marshall Tuberville and award-winning photographer Kent Porter join filmmakers and subjects for the panel “Community Rising: Wildfire Response and Recovery” to discuss the local film THE KINCADE FIRE. To help celebrate the world premiere of the new documentary, local restaurants from the cities affected in the 2019 wildfires – PizzaLeah in Windsor, Campo Finain Healdsburg, and Papa’s Pizza Cafe in Cloverdale  – will host specials for takeout. 
  6. The 2021 Student Film Competition screens Saturday, May 1st at 8:30PM at the Healdsburg Community Center. Attendees will “drive the red carpet,” student works will play on the big screen, and students in middle school, high school, and college will compete for $3,000 in prize money.

This year’s festival is generously underwritten through significant contributions, notably Cartograph Wines, Big John’s Market, and Vanguard Properties.

All proceeds from the Festival and Red Carpet Evening 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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