Sonoma Film Festival 2011

Just got back from the Sonoma International Film Festival. It was worth every dollar today and I’m extremely glad I was able to go. I had to change around the schedule of 10 people just to be able to go but since we had moved it, an old friend of mine was able to make it so it worked out. I got an all day pass because since I wasn’t familiar with this festival, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get a ticket to just see the program I wanted to see. How devastating that’d be if I drove all the way up there only to be told it was sold out. I’ve only really had experience with the Asian American Film Festival just prior to this one and their short programs are always sold out. I was not willing to take any chances on missing The Dungeon Master.

My best friend came with me and we enjoyed an overabundance of Sonoma food. Together, we enjoyed quiche, spaghetti, ice cream, milkshakes, Bellinis, juice, steak, bread & butter, olives, soup, croque monsieur and salad. Yes, gluttonous sinners, aren’t we? We went thrift store shopping for rich people’s stuff but found nothing we really wanted to take home. (Maybe I just prefer the ghetto lyfe?)

Anyway, all in all, we saw about 20 short films today so we are pooped out on short films. My top favorites were The Dungeon Master(no bias intended), Sexting, Touch, Fishing with Supermodels, Run, Tapeworm, The Doctor, and The Reshoots. I wanted to mention that for Sexting, Julia Stiles did the longest monologue I’ve ever heard and I applaud her for that one. She was so great in it!

My favorite part of the day was dinner at The Girl & The Fig, and meeting The Strong brothers, Rider & Shiloh. Like I said before, I am so conditioned to be comfortable around celebrities now by NKOTB members like Donnie Wahlberg and countless other celebs, that I didn’t even get those heart palpitations that I used to get. It’s a little tragic but still a win-win. I know exactly when I can approach them & when I cannot, much unlike my Will Friedle dream. One thing I regret saying to them was, “It was so much better than I thought it would be!!” Ava, why the hell did you word it like that? As if you thought it would be crap? No. I thought it would be amazing & awesome, but I didn’t know it was going to kick ass and floor me. THAT’S what I actually meant.That’s what happens when I get excited about speaking my mind. My words just go all kinds of wrong. I hope they knew what I meant. When I was talking to Rider, I almost wanted to reveal to him how much I love his buddy, Will Friedle…but I didn’t. I didn’t want this kat to think I was trying to pass along a message or anything. It just would have been funny to bring it up but I didn’t want to act like a fool. Who knows what people really think of you after you’ve met them, right? Two sides to every face, yo.

Seriously though, I could have chopped it up with him all day, him AND his brother. They’re good folks. I’d just like to pick their brain for at least an hour, to learn more about the filmmaker world, the artist world, the creative world through their eyes. As for my take on The Dungeon Master, they killed it. You could tell they put a lot of thought into every aspect of the film. Dialogue was so real, premise left you wanting more, actors were on the ball, makeup & special effects were aligned with their vision, loved every single moment of it. I just wish I could see the rest of it because I felt like when the power goes out at the climax of the movie! I need resolution! I wanted to scream at the end of it, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Haha! They also won for Best Comedic Short film, big surprise. I’m so so proud of them, never even had a doubt that they would win something for it, it was so good.

During the Q & A, they mentioned their next project was going to be “Searching for Jake Ryan.” Without even knowing what it’s about, I already fell in love with it. What 80’s movies lover doesn’t know Jake Ryan? Granted that Sixteen Candles is a chick flick but I’m sure even guys have watched this movie. I strongly believe that even if it meant they watched it alone in their room, wearing nothing but underwear, eating popcorn with jalepenos & nacho cheese with bottomless cups of Coke, then denying they had ever even heard of the film upon mention. Rider told me I was their biggest supporter of The Dungeon Master. That threw me for a loop but I’m glad he knows I’m being supportive. I only support it if I believe in it. I hope they will be able to shoot their feature up in NorCal, at least parts of it anyway. If they decide to hold any auditions, I would definitely send all my friends their way and they’d even do it for free.

Hearing that they did this film on a zero budget and pulling favors from friends reminded me a lot of how my friends & I do things at Bindlestiff Studio. It inspired me to keep going. Just grow a crew and make art. That’s all there is to it. I fuckin LOVE this life. LOVE it with a passion. Glad I wore my lucky nail color today. :0)

Me with Rider Strong

Me with Rider & Shiloh Strong
Oh god, I need to lose some weight before I see NKOTB next month!


  1. […] me. I didn’t take a photo with them because they were wearing the same thing they wore at the Sonoma Film Festival where I first met them and I didn’t want to embarrass them by posting a pic with the same […]

  2. […] to direct an episode, he finally came to peace with it. Rider is a really nice guy and when I first met him, never in a million years would I have thought I would ever see him back onscreen. I thought […]

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