Film Schedule - Spring 2022

For your safety and that of other guests, masks are strongly recommended, but no longer required indoors. All screenings take place in Warren Auditorium in Ives Hall on the Sonoma State University campus.

Admission is free, but we suggest a $5 donation.

In these challenging times, we are grateful to all Sonoma Film Institute attendees and supporters. To continue as a unique cultural resource in the North Bay Area, SFI needs contributions from the community we serve. With your support, we will continue to program the incredible variety of movies you can’t find anywhere else. Thank you!

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A Towering Task Poster
Friday, February, 18, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, February, 20, 2022, 4:00pm

In 1961, in one of his first acts as President, John F. Kennedy gave young Americans the opportunity to serve their country in a new way by forming the Peace Corps. From the beginning, its mission of world peace and friendship proved to be a towering task. Imbued with the unbounded energy and vision of its charismatic leader, Sargent Shriver, and thousands of vigorous volunteers, the story of the Peace Corps is a uniquely American tale. Since then, more than 200,000 of them have traveled to more than 60 countries to carry out the organization’s mission of international cooperation. Nearly 60 years later, Americans—young and old alike—still want to serve their country and understand their place in the world. Narrated by Annette Benning, A TOWERING TASK also features Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Carter, Sen. Chris Dodd, Taylor Hackford, Donna Shalala and Maria Shriver. Directed by Alana DeJoseph.

Released: 2019
Run time: 107 min.


Madan Sara Poster
Friday, February, 25, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, February, 27, 2022, 4:00pm

The women known as Madan Sara in Haiti work tirelessly to buy, distribute, and sell food and other essentials in markets through the county. Despite the obstacles faced by the women working in a sector that lacks investment, infrastructure and state assistance, the Madan Sara continue to be one of the most critical parts of the Haitian economy and of who we are as a country. The Madan Sara documentary tells the stories of these indefatigable women who work at the margins to make Haiti’s economy run. Despite facing intense hardship and social stigma, the hard work of the Madan Sara puts their children through school, houses their families, and helps to ensure a better life for generations to come. Directed by Etant Dupain. (in French and Haitian Creole w/English subtitles)

On Friday night ONLY, Suzanne Toczyski, SSU Faculty Member in Modern Languages and Literature will be present to introduce the film and lead a discussion after the screening. 

Released: 2021
Run time: 50 min.


Hive Poster
Friday, March, 4, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, March, 6, 2022, 4:00pm

Winner of the Audience Award, Directing Award, and World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Fahrije has battled grief and financial struggle since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo. To provide for her family, she launches a business selling hot pepper preserves, a controversial act of independence that scandalizes her patriarchal village. Amid doubts of her husband’s return, she struggles not only to keep her family afloat but against a hostile community who seeks to violently undermine the independence and sisterhood she is determined to gain. Directed by Blerta Basholli. (in Albanian w/English subtitles)

Released: 2021
Run time: 84 min.


One Day Pina Asked Still
Friday, March, 11, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, March, 13, 2022, 4:00pm

“Starting from the modest premise of documenting several months of Pina Bausch’s performances and rehearsals in the summer of 1983, the director Chantal Akerman realized one of the greatest of all syntheses of dance and cinema. She films the performers with a poised camera; her incisive angles and smooth pan shots emphasize the dances’ visual counterpoint and overlapping rhythms. In Bausch’s stagings, as in Akerman’s dramas, ordinary gestures are emphasized and formalized into dances, and Akerman films Bausch’s dancers as she films the actors in such movies as “Jeanne Dielman” and “Toute une Nuit.” Observing the dancers behind the scenes and in their dressing rooms as they dress, smoke, apply makeup, and sing, Akerman sees their preparations and meditations as continuous with their public performances; her interviews with members of the company are echoed in their dancing. If Bausch’s choreography no longer existed, Akerman’s films could be excerpted to convey something of its essence—and Bausch herself, serenely avowing her poetic aspirations, becomes one of Akerman’s characters.” Richard Brody, The New Yorker (in French w/English subtitles)

Released: 1983
Run time: 57 min.


Dance Girl Dance Poster
Friday, March, 18, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, March, 20, 2022, 4:00pm

“The most prominent female director in classic Hollywood, Dorothy Arzner, made this musical drama about the depredations of the male gaze, decades before the term was coined (by Laura Mulvey). It stars Maureen O’Hara as a serious but poor ballet student named Judy, who, to make a living, joins a bump-and-grind burlesque show. The troupe’s brassy longtime hoofer, Bubbles (Lucille Ball), steals a job from Judy and plays a cruel trick to make her the butt of the slobbering male audience’s ridicule. The drama involves the sexual freedom flaunted by Bubbles and the sexual harassment endured by Judy. Arzner also looks candidly at the indignities endured by women during their burlesque performances—and turns a remarkably frank and disgusted spotlight onto the male spectators who ravenously stare at female flesh to feed their fantasies. The film also features plenty of dance itself—centered on the discipline and exaltation of ballet and the ennobling delights of inspired choreography—which Arzner films, lovingly and probingly, with a connoisseur’s eye.” - Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Released: 1940
Run time: 90 min.


Hyena Film Still
Friday, April, 1, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, April, 3, 2022, 4:00pm

HYENA, a dramatic film that features a one-woman performance by Mollena Williams-Haas, is a bold and courageous journey of words into the mind of an alcohol addicted woman who must fight her worst demon - the titular "hyena". It is a lavish and gorgeous treatment of light, color, words and performance. Malinalli Lopez, along with director Jack Perez, launched XQL Media in 2015 - named after Xochitquetzal, Aztec Goddess of the Art – tell important stories of social justice.

Malinalli Lopez, Adjunct Faculty in Chicano Studies at Sonoma State University and Producer of HYENA, will be present to introduce the film and answer questions after the Friday screening.

Released: 2021
Run time: 46 min.


Rickshaw Girl Poster
Friday, April, 8, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, April, 10, 2022, 4:00pm

“In this Bangladeshi drama, feisty young painter Naima (a riveting Novera Rahman) sets out on a quest to save her ailing father. Her artistic gift has blossomed with his encouragement but hasn’t yet proven financially rewarding. Naima’s mother dashes such childish dreams, which sends the frustrated teen off to the big city, determined to earn money for the family’s survival. And she does, by disguising herself as a boy to get a job as a rickshaw driver. Still Naima’s creative drive has her sneaking every opportunity to paint, and as her vivid artwork comes to life in beautifully animated form, there is hope that her emergence as an artist will be her true salvation. Based on the acclaimed and beloved young adult novel by Mitali Perkins, RICKSHAW GIRL is a magical ride.” – Carol Harada, MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL Directed by Amitabh Reza Chowdhury. (in English and Bengali w/English subtitles)

Eric Adams, the producer of RICKSHAW GIRL, will be present to introduce the film and answer questions after the Friday screening.

Released: 2020
Run time: 102 min.


One Bright Shining Moment Poster
Friday, April, 15, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, April, 17, 2022, 4:00pm

This July marks the centennial of George McGovern’s birth and the 50th Anniversary of his nomination as the Democratic nominee for President. Using a wealth of archival materials, interviews with prominent progressives like Gore Vidal, Gloria Steinem, Warren Beatty, Howard Zinn and featuring music from Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, and Elvis Costello, this portrait of an honest, idealistic man driven by a sincere wish to help his country at a pivotal time. As Gloria Steinem observes, Sen. George McGovern's name has been “invoked as a symbol of failure more than as a symbol of prescience and principle.” The film goes a long way to reestablish McGovern's authenticity as a prairie populist who stood on principle against one of America's most horrific wars and one of its most unscrupulous politicians. Directed by Stephen Vittoria.

Released: 2005
Run time: 127 min.


The Conductor Poster
Friday, April, 22, 2022, 7:00pm
Sunday, April, 24, 2022, 4:00pm

Marin Alsop is a woman of firsts. She was the first (and only) conductor to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Marin became the first female to be appointed as music director of a major symphony. Born into a musical family in New York, Marin set her sights on becoming a conductor at just nine years old while accompanying her father to one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s concerts. Her journey to professional success was neither easy nor straightforward. Set to a breathtaking soundtrack of her performances, THE CONDUCTOR tells Marin’s story through a combination of intimate interviews and shared professional and private moments, encounters with musicians and cognoscenti in the music world, unseen archival footage with her mentor Leonard Bernstein, and Vérité scenes of Marin conducting some of the world’s great orchestras and teaching the next wave of conductors who, like her, were being excluded from the classical music canon. Directed by Bernadette Wegenstein.

Released: 2021
Run time: 90 min.