Now is the time to make plans for the Sonoma Film Festival, April 9-13 in the county seat. More to the point, now’s the time to get your tickets for the festival’s special events – after March 1, the prices go up for many of the package deals.
Packages include Festival Pass to all films and select events, and Premier Pass to all films, previews, events and receptions; check the website for details. As noted, the price for many of the pass packages goes up $50 on March 1, so save yourself the cost of a nice dinner and buy this week.
A little background: The Sonoma Film Festival started in 1996, making this the 11th year of the annual event. With all the recent attention given to what might be called ‘the indie film movement’ – the success of “Juno” being a current example – it’s worth noting that the Sonoma Film Festival has showing and promoting indie films from the start.
This year’s festival will revolve around a tribute to Michael Keaton, whose star was highest in the late 1980s with the first (and some might argue, the best) “Batman,” directed by Tim Burton from 1989. A year earlier his wild and idiosyncratic performance in Burton’s “Beetlejuice” had helped redefine his career, and his other star turns in “Batman Returns,” “Pacific Heights,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” and “The Paper” kept him in view for the next several years.
But Keaton turned down an estimated $35 million to play “Batman” a third time in order to work on “Multiplicity” in 1996. Keaton played four characters in the movie who make up aspects of the same person. “I take chances mostly because that is what keeps me interested. Otherwise I get bored,” said Keaton at the time.
The move didn’t do his career any favors, however: “Multiplicity” tanked, and the actor’s star went into eclipse during the following 10 years, despite his interesting work in “Jackie Brown” and “Game 6″ among others. (To his credit, the actors who donned the Batsuit in Keaton’s wake fell short of his standard, until Christian Bale came along in “Batman Begins.”)
Keaton has a new movie coming out, as actor and first-time director. “The Merry Gentleman” has earned high marks from those who’ve seen it (it’s not yet in general release, but maybe you can see it at the Festival), and he continues to choose his roles . The Sonoma Film Festival tribute to Michael Keaton is Saturday, April 12, probably at the Sebastiani Theater on the Plaza.
But there’s more, lots more, on the program for the Festival, so check their web site at sonomafilmfest.org. And come back for further updates from In the Dark.