Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival

This is our 12th year of exhibiting the non-fiction work of independent filmmakers. Each film we program has characters of extraordinary presence, whether animate or not, and compelling stories. Each is a signature of excellence in craft. SDFF exists to fulfill filmmakers’ desires to be seen, to be heard and to have an opportunity to make a difference. We are known for programming work for a discerning audience that enjoys being challenged as well as entertained.

Sebastopol is in Sonoma County, California. On a good day, we’re only an hour north of San Francisco. We are a mix of small-town folk, organic farmers, prize-winning vintners, environmentalists, old hippies and more artists per acre than most. We’re curious, engaged, opinionated and welcoming to all.

Audiences

The Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival exhibits on six screens simultaneously at Sebastopol Center for the Arts and venue partner Rialto Cinemas Sebastopol®, presenting an average of 65-70 films per year to a combined audience of 5,000 to 6,000 documentary film lovers, industry guests, and fellow filmmakers.

Educational Programs

SDFF 2019 provides a number of educational programs during the festival event weekend. Peer Pitch West has two days planned for their 8th year at SDFF 2019, produced in partnership with Washington D.C.-based Docs in Progress. Executive Director, Erica Ginsberg expertly facilitates this opportunity for documentary filmmakers to get constructive feedback on their documentary works-in-progress from an audience comprised of other filmmakers and documentary enthusiasts.

The festival also provides panel discussions and speakers on a various aspects of documentary film production or construction. Subjects have ranged from sound design to cinematography to music composition and more. Each year provides an excellent opportunity to learn from, and network with, a unique collection of masters of the craft.

This year, led by Lowell Bergman, founder of the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Journalism, we explore the discipline of filmmakers and journalists as they go about finding the truth; letting story be their guide; preserving touchstones from which to learn. Each step draws investigations together towards the most appropriate means of revealing the truth.

SDFF was founded by passionate indie filmmakers as an arts program of Sebastopol Center for the
Arts. It is an all-volunteer endeavor that runs year-round through the efforts of a Producer, Lead Programmer and a Steering Committee that manages the intricacies of producing this internationally respected film festival destination.

Festival Presenter

SCA is a nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts center created in 1988 by a coalition of art, business and community members to provide art programs and services for all sectors of the community. For more information about SCA Click Here..

Film Festival Staff and Steering Committee

Anjana Utarid, Executive Director

Cynthi Stefenoni, Co-Director/Producer

Jane Winslow, Co-Director/Programmer/Education & Technical Manager

Jean McGlothlin, Co-Director/Lead Programmer

Corella Di Fede, Organization/Liaison Manager

Anthony Marchitiello, Print Traffic Manager

Kathryn Davy, Volunteer Manager

Eve Lindi, Pixel Wrangler

Jen Vertz, Social Media & Special Events

Jeffrey Zankel, Programmer/Filmmaker Liaison

Lori Solomon, Programmer/Filmmaker Liaison

Olga Browning, Filmmaker Liaison/Housing Coordinator

Emmy Scharlatt, Programmer

Eliza Hemenway, Founder

Teresa Book, Programmer/Co-Founder

Tommie Dell Smith, Co-Founder

Our Mission

The mission of the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is to bring the best independent documentary films in the world, and their filmmakers, to Sonoma County audiences.

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