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The Eighth Annual AVFest Returns to In-Person Fest April 29-May 8 in Five Sonoma County Cities

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


Festival asserts commitment to equity with largest and most diverse selection of films to date

Cloverdale, Calif. (April 7, 2022) – The Eighth AVFest, presented by AVFilm, will be held in-person in Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor, and Santa Rosa, Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 8. The Opening Night Film is CALENDAR GIRLS, a documentary featuring retirement-aged dancers in Florida who shimmy and flirt through 100 gigs a year. Members from the troupe will be in attendance to celebrate film with a Block party on First Street in Cloverdale. 

“This year, we start by joyously centering women aging well, something to both honor and normalize,” says Kathryn Hecht, Executive Director of AVFilm. “From opening night to closing, our films and events dig into who we are and our perceptions of one another. ‘Identity’ emerged as the central theme – and this year’s films offer us ways to open our hearts and minds to one another like never before.”

AVFest regularly showcases and hosts new and emerging talents from all over the world. The Fest creates opportunities for the community to gather, honor film, meet and learn from visiting artists. The Fest also offers deeply discounted tickets to include students and low-income neighbors by working with our community partners.

New for 2022, the Fest debuts in Windsor at Café Noto with Flip the Script, a dive into the world of visual media made for the internet. A team of 18-29-year-old media aficionados curated the event. In addition, the Fest will expand intoSanta Rosa for Live @ The Lost Church featuring the latest film from Bay Area filmmaker H.P. Mendoza, whom Buzzfeed has called one of 28 Asian-American filmmakers you need to know .

Notably, AVFest features the curation from programmers Lucho Ramirez, founder of Cine+Mas SF, presenters of the San Francisco Latino Film Festival; Bianka Bell, founder of the Black X Film Festival; and Chelsea Kurnick, Chair of the Board of Directors of Positive Images and creator of Father’s Gay: a queer music festival.  Film Fest Petalumabased out of Santa Rosa Junior College will also screen two short film collections through an ongoing collaboration with AVFest.

The Festival features a diverse array of films and filmmakers from around the world with 38 feature films, 15 shorts, more than 20 panels and Q&As, and dozens of student works. Patrons who opt for a virtual pass 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, 4/29th at 5PM with the Opening Night Film + Block Party at The Clover Theater in Cloverdale, Calif. CALENDAR GIRLS captures the essence of what drives “girl gang” of retirement-aged dancers as the film smashes stereotypes of aging. After the film, patrons and guests from the film will join the community on First Street for the Opening Night Block Party, complete with bands, food trucks, wine, beer, and more!
  2. Saturday, April 30th at 7PM is Neighbor Night at Alexander Valley Hall in Geyserville, Calif.! A signature Fest event, guests will claim their spot amongst the checkered tablecloths, and tuck in for a BBQ feast fromKinSmoke. Following dinner, LET THE LITTLE LIGHT SHINE will introduce us to the National Teachers Academy (NTA), a successful K-8 school in Chicago’s rapidly gentrifying South Loop neighborhood. The school is a battleground setting for this propulsive examination of quality and equality in America’s education system. Guests from the film will be in attendance.
  3. On Monday, May 2nd at 7PM, Lo & Behold in Healdsburg, Calif. will host Industry Night, designed so that weekend hospitality veterans can join in on the Fest. Lo & Behold will provide dinner and drinks, and then guests will watch three short films focused on women and climate change. Chef and Farm to Pantry Executive Director Duskie Estes will moderate a panel with Rebecca Bozzelli of Lantern Farm, Theresa Heredia of Gary Farrell Winery, and Laura Sanfilippo of Lo & Behold.
  4. The Fest highlights the wine and culinary excellence packed into a single Sonoma County block with a Progressive Dinner in Geyserville on Tuesday, May 3rd at 6PM. Guests will Make their way down Geyserville Ave with drinks at Mercury Wine and antipasti at Diavola, before settling into Catelli’s backyard for a family-style meal and a screening of THE AUTOMAT. Mel Brooks takes center stage as chief spiritual tour guide to deliver this tribute to what was once the largest restaurant chain in America.
  5. On Wednesday, May 4th at 7:30PM, Trentadue Winery in Healdsburg, Calif. will host Arthouse in the Vineyard. Patrons will take in a true arthouse film in authentic wine country style with the Iranian film HIT THE ROAD. A family of four driving across the Iranian countryside so their eldest son may leave the country bond over stories from the past. Raw and sincere, the film is surefire crowd-pleaser and an authentic human drama. The Black Piglet food truck will be on hand to compliment the wine and film.
  6. The 2022 Student Film Competition screens Saturday, May 7th at 11AM at The Clover Theater. Attendees will “walk the red carpet,” and student works will play on the big screen. Students from Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma Counties in middle school, high school, and college will compete for $3,000 in prize money.
  7. AVFest always closes with a social justice doc, which includes a call to action. This year, we sign off on Sunday, May 8th at 6:15PM with KAEPERNICK AND AMERICA at Barndiva in Healdsburg, Calif. The film explores the intersection between Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests and the reactions they spurred in the United States, revealing unique insights into America’s ongoing racial turmoil. Following the film will be a discussion with filmmakers Tommy Walker and Bill Stephney. After the film, guests are invited to The Mathesonin Healdsburg, Calif. for the Closing Night Reception and Awards Ceremony.

Tickets are on sale now. Select films will be available virtually for one week following the Fest. For film passes, individual tickets, the full lineup of films, and the full Fest schedule, please visit

This year’s festival is sponsored by several generous businesses and individuals, with significant contributions from Cartograph Wines, KarmaDog Construction, Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District, and Vanguard Properties.

All proceeds from the Fest 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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