A Press Democrat Blog


Dan Taylor on the fine arts scene.

Rio Theater salutes horror film director William Castle

Sebastopol author Joe Jordan vividly remembers the day he found out about the work of classic low-budget horror film director William Castle. “The date was Oct. 31, 1999. ‘House on Haunted Hill’ was being aired on television as part of a Halloween showcase. Two days earlier the Geoffrey Rush remake had been released in theaters nationwide,” Jordan said. Jordan went on to study Castle’s colorful career, which including directing 56 mostly low-budget films between 1946 and 1975. On Saturday, March… Read More »

‘Russian River’ film screens in Sonoma

The documentary film “The Russian River: All Rivers,” a close look at the condition of the 110-mile waterway, will screen at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 20, in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Commnunity Center. The screening will be followed by an informal discussion with the filmmakers, William Sorenson and Stella Kwiecinski. There also will be a pre-show reception at 7 p.m. The presentation is part of the “Films for the Future Series,” co-produced by the center and by Transition Sonoma… Read More »

Documentary film ‘John Brown’s Body — At San Quentin Prison’ screens in Santa Rosa

  San Francisco filmmaker Joe DeFrancesco will screen his documentary, “John Brown’s Body — At San Quentin Prison” Saturday, Jan. 17, in Santa Rosa. The film follows rehearsals for a production of the Pulitzer Prize-wining play “John Brown’s Body” by Stephen Vincent Benet at San Quentin, performed by nine inmates and directed by Joe DeFrancesco. The play deals with slavery, freedom and the Civil War. The documentary combines excerpts of the play and interviews with the inmates. DeFrancceso and former… Read More »

Two Santa Rosa theaters screen ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Few films have had a lifespan like Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And this weekend in Santa Rosa, it will live again. The movie, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and ultimately was listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American movies ever made. After an initially weak showing at the box office when it was originally released, the story of George… Read More »

Santa Rosa actor stars in new film ‘The Mendoza Line’

“The Mendoza Line,” a new independent film starring Santa Rosa comedian and actor Juan Carlos Arenas, will screen at 8 p.m. April 25 at the Roxy Stadium 14 in Santa Rosa. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Arenas and the film’s writer and director, Nathan Kaufman of Sacramento. In the film, Arenas plays Ricardo Perez, a hopeful minor-league baseball player who is in the United States without legal documentation. “This opens up the immigration issue in… Read More »

John Lasseter honored by San Francisco Film Society

  John Lasseter of Sonoma, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, will be honored at the annual San Francisco Film Society awards night gala May 1 at the Regency Center in San Francisco. Lasseter, creator of “Toy Story” and other animated hit films, will receive the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award, named for the film society’s longtime  chairman of the board, who died last year. Other award winners to be honored include director Richard… Read More »

Documentary on Italian immigrants in California screened

The North Bay Italian Cultural Foundation will screen the documentary film “Finding the Motherlode: Italian Immigrants in California” at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 6, in Carole Ellis Auditorium on the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma Campus. In “Finding the Motherlode,” filmmakers Gianfranco Norelli and Suma Kurien document stories set in seven Italian communities throughout California, including Sonoma County. Norelli and Kurien will participate in a public discussion after the film. The event co-sponsored by the SRJC Department of Modern and… Read More »

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival set for March 27-30

The seventh annual Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival returns March 27-30 with 71 films showing on six screens, and more than 100 filmmakers and guests expected. Tickets cost $25 for the opening night film, awards, and gala, $10 for individual films and special programs throughout the weekend, and $250 for all-access passes. The full schedule and trailers of the films will be available at www.sebastopolfilmfestival.org on Feb 15. Tickets go on sale to the public on Feb. 17. Advance purchase is… Read More »

Rialto, Summerfield plan special screenings

Two Sonoma County movie theaters plan special events this month. The Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol opens the new monthly New York Film Critics Series next week, featuring screenings of new films before their national release, plus high-definition simulcasts of question-and-answer sessions with the stars and filmmakers. The first film in the series is “American Hustle,” starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence. The movie was named best picture of 2013 this week by the New… Read More »

Santa Rosa actress in new film released nationwide

Santa Rosa stage, television and film actress Marjorie Mann appears in the new movie, I’m in Love With a Church Girl, opening in major cities nationwide Friday, Oct. 18, and Oct. 25 at the Roxy Stadium 14 in downtown Santa Rosa. In the film, Mann plays Julia Montego, the mother of a reformed drug dealer named Miles Montego, played by the film’s star: rapper and actor Ja Rule. The film follows Miles’ romance with a very religious young woman, played… Read More »