Film and stage star Karen Allen will be a special industry guest at SIFF’s 25th Anniversary Film Festival. While in town for the festival, she will speak at the first of two screenings with Sonoma Valley High School filmmaking students at this year’s Sonoma Valley High School Media Arts Program Student Showcase, a compilation of student short films on Wednesday, March 23 at 9 a.m. at Sebastiani Theatre.
Sonoma International Film Festival was pivotal in the inception of the Sonoma Valley High School Student Media Arts Program started in 2002. The program has provided the financial resources for students to explore the power of film to enhance their creative pursuits and diverse storytelling viewpoints. Each school year hundreds of students are introduced to this in depth process to filmmaking, producing dozens of acclaimed student shorts, many of which can be seen at the SIFF Student Showcase during our annual festival. In the 20 years since it began, SIFF, and partner Sonoma Valley Education Fund, have given more than $725,000 to the program, including equipping Sonoma’s only high school with a state-of-the- art studio and ongoing financial resources.
“I’m delighted to return to the Sonoma Film Festival for its 25th Anniversary,” said Allen. “I shot a film in Sonoma in 1982 with Alan Parker directing and Diane Keaton and Albert Finney titled Shoot the Moon and have been in love with Sonoma ever since. My week at the festival a few years ago was filled with wonderful films, meeting extraordinary people, and delicious food and wine!”
Best known for her role as Marion Ravenswood in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, a role reprised in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Allen has 65 film and television credits, including roles in iconic films such as John Landis’ National Lampoon’s Animal House (her first role), Woody Allen’s Manhattan, John Carpenter’s Starman, Richard Donner’s Scrooged, Paul Newman’s The Glass Menagerie and Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. In 2019, she was nominated for the independent spirit award for best female lead for her role in Tom Quinn’s Colewell and the film was nominated for the independent spirit John Cassavetes award. The film screened at SIFF 2019 with Allen in attendance.
Allen is also an accomplished fiber artist with a line of clothing and accessories (see Karen Allen Fiber Arts). In 2010 she received an honorary doctorate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied as a teen before turning her attention to acting. Allen teaches acting at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
To find out more about the SVHS Media Arts Program and to make a donation, please visit: https://sonomafilmfest.org/participate-support/.